#1 Be an Investment Not an Expense
Freelancing is a journey of creativity, impact, quality and value. It doesn’t take long for you to discover the importance of putting yourself out there as an investment for a client rather than another potentially costly expense.
An expense implies that you’ve become part of the client’s overhead and another bill that needs to be paid. Value, on the other hand, has broader implications beyond cost and market price.
When we focus on value we’re shifting the heart of the matter from the bare bones of producing goods to the artisanal, toward building a relationship with our client and engaging in a meaningful value exchange.
A value exchange needs to be cultivated between client and freelancer so that you get paid appropriately for delivering quality and significance. And the significance of the product rests on your respect for the client’s voice and appreciation for the client’s audience.
#2 Charge A Premium
The onus is on us to make our client feel comfortable paying a premium for professionally executed services. Our part in the value exchange gives the client the benefit of the doubt―that the client is not a dilettante. And neither are we. In return, our clientele receives impactful, meaningful web content, blog posts, or other products, reliably, consistently, and honestly.
A freelance writer’s service is ultimately based on the outcomes that are delivered. Both client and writer are committed to results. Building a foundation based on a mutually beneficial relationship is the core of being value-focused.
When a freelancer is value-focused, that is, writing to provide cost-effective quality, the conventional wisdom is that clients will feel encouraged to ungrudgingly see their own place in this exchange. They see the freelancer as an investment and an important contributor both creatively and financially. We’re part of the team even if the team is just the two of us.
#3 Be An Asset
As freelancers, we also need to see the value in ourselves and our work. We don’t want to come off like were just a dabbler, but rather as an asset, and one that provides the best possible work available to our clients all the time. And we need to understand the recalcitrant client, too.
There are some low-end platforms out there, content mills that charge freelancers fees while giving their impassive approval to rates that often come to a fraction of a penny per word. They churn out poor writing and set a value, both in terms of market price and also in terms of quality that are frankly awful, unacceptable, and hurt the freelancer and the freelancing industry.
Our client posted his assignments on one of those sites in the past. And he got what he paid for. He’s unhappy and skeptical at best. Who wouldn’t be? But the significance of our work is tied to the value we place on our relationship today.
We do this by being proactive and putting in the necessary effort. We become adept at juggling high standards, ethical values, and providing the highest quality product we can muster. We make an impact on our client, and, to borrow from GM, we get paid for professional grade.
We value their time, deadlines and feedback, and they value our commitment to providing excellence. We make an effective impact and we all move forward. Now that’s valuable!
Three More Things I’ve Learned on The Journey of Becoming A Value-Focused Freelancer
- I have the Greek word for “river” tattooed on my right wrist as a tribute to my dad. He disliked the idea of going with the flow and told me, “Be the river.” But there are no dichotomies. You can be both. Be the river and carve a canyon through a very competitive freelancing world. But sometimes that means going with the flow, also. Particularly in respect to clients. The focus is quality and value always.
- Framing and context are everything. Tomorrow is another day, but for today, I don’t want to cut out a client or kvetch over a project based on her budget when my heart is set on making a difference.
- I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Nothing is more motivating than hitting the ground running and looking down and actually seeing that you landed on something solid! One of the things I’ve learned to appreciate is niching down. Working away from being a generalist to cultivating a niche has had an impact on both my writing and my business relationships. Getting to know the personality and standards of the people I want to work with, and holistically addressing needs―that’s quite the launching pad for value. And success.
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