Sunday, September 21, 2014

One of the Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make

Freelancing is cool.  I like the idea that someone can make some money with their skill set.  Maybe they make a little bit of money; possibly they make a lot.

However, I hear a TON of freelancers make one (1) critical mistake.  At least, I consider it to be a mistake.

Somewhere, I hear coaches make a suggestion that sounds good.  They tell their students that they need to charge what they feel their time is worth.

That seems like great advice…until we look at it more closely.

What’s wrong with that advice?
Coaches definitely need to help a lot of beginning (and a lot of more experienced) freelancers and business owners with their pricing strategy.  People who are new at this have a tendency of lacking the confidence they SHOULD have and charging way too little for the work they do.  Many of us act as our own worst critics, and it costs us money, if it does not also cost us business.

So this advice has is positive, but by itself, it is also flawed.

Let’s look at that overall advice, again.  According to that oft-shared advice…

I should charge YOU what I believe MY time is worth.

There is a big (REALLY BIG) problem with this!

Why should YOU care anything about how much I think my time is worth?

Does MY self-assessed value explain any part of YOUR business model?  Probably not!

How much should I (realistically) charge you?

I should be charging you as much as—if not lower than—the value I provide for you.

If the value I provide for you is LOWER than the price I want to get paid for doing that work, I SHOULD NOT TAKE THAT BUSINESS.

That’s right!  Don’t take the business.

If we are in the service business, then we’re servants…to our customer.  It makes sense for us to serve our customer when we get paid what we want and still provide them with leftover value.

It’s NOT what we feel our time is worth.  That’s not how much we should charge.  That should be our guide, letting us know whether we want to take that business.

If I want to make sure I provide YOU value when you hire me to work for YOU, I need to determine whether I can provide you enough value…AFTER paying myself what I want.  If not, then we do not have a business transaction.

Get paid what you deserve…ONLY IF you deserve it…because of the value you provide me.
To charge what “you’re worth” without being able to provide me value is not good advice.  It promotes arrogance.  It also encourages bad business practices, as it begs you to a swindle otherwise known as unsubstantiated self- entitlement.

If we’re really interested in being good business people, better questions we should ask ourselves are…

--How can I provide enough value for you to earn what I deserve?

--How can I provide even more value for you so that I deserve to earn even more (by serving you)?

Would you rather make a mistake—and simply focus on YOUR needs—or would you rather focus providing value—for BOTH of us?

Stop making that mistake, and start focusing on providing value.  It’s not about you; it’s about us!

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