Freelance

You’re Struggling at Freelancing because You’re Doing it Wrong

April 28, 2017
struggling at freelancing | freelancing is hard | how to find niche | make freelancing work | turning passion into profit | Aleia Walker

Last Thursday I threw up a sales page. And I spent Saturday-Monday iterating it. And it felt better than things I spent weeks building (not that those things weren’t good) but this thing was great. It’s great because it’s 100% on target for me. Every week, I share resources with you all. I help you figure out how in the hell to navigate the freelancing game. So why shouldn’t my flagship product be all about helping you do that?

And while I’m good at other things and enjoy doing other things, I believe in niches over everything. It may be why it’s come up a time or two (or ten) in my weekly letters to you lovelies. And my niche is helping side hustlers and freelancers rock it out to be full-time in the freelance game. Because I did it. And I did it recently. So I know my strategies aren’t outdated or one-time deals. I’ve surrounded myself with likeminded people. People who hustle everyday.

When it’s time for you to start thinking about what to offer to your clients, you don’t just tell them what you like to do. Because honestly, no one cares what you like to do when their money is involved. Clients want to know how what you do benefits them. They want to know what they can get out of your talents. They want you to offer something that they need.

Don't Work Alone, Find your Tribe

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You're new to the freelancing game and struggling with working alone in a bubble. But you don't have to, you just have to know where to look for others like you.

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As ick as this may sound, if you want to run a for-profit business, you need to make your passion and the pursuit of profit to align.

So, how? Figure out what people want from you. Figure out an MVP (minimum viable product) way to deliver to them. Go where they are – Facebook groups, your mailing list, a local meet-up, Instagram, etc. and provide value. Offer advice when they ask questions. Form relationships. Ask what they need (surveys are awesome)  Provide enough value that they realize they need you. Rinse and repeat. Each time you rinse and repeat, you get a little closer to where you should be.

And although where you should be isn’t where you started out thinking you wanted to be, it turns out it feels pretty damn good to be of service to people and be comfortable yourself.

So. Find your damn niche. And let’s take a whack at doing it with this list.


What do you want to do?

1. Finding a niche, does start with finding your passion. Yes, you do tweak the hell out your passion your passion but you have to figure out what you like and what you’re good at before you figure out how to sell that. I especially like the question, “Imagine yourself at age 95, nearing the end of life. What will you be proud for leaving behind?” I hope I’m here at 95 to say I helped people build their careers around their lives and not vice versa. What about you?

What do your target clients need?

2. Okay. So you have a dream client. For me it’s side hustlers looking to quit their 9 to 5s for full-time freelance work. Yours may be online business owners. Or vegan restaurant chefs. Or, I literally saw this, stationary for cat groomers. Now, how do you find your target client and figure out what they need? (Hint: I said it above) Go where they are! If you have an email list (I’m sorry!) ask them. Ask them to complete a survey (and make it simple, i.e. 3 questions), or just ask them. Go in Facebooks and peep what your target’s talk about. If you have an idea, search for it. If you are a VA, search for VA/virtual assistant to see how they are talked about. Are there a ton of people hanging out in a particular group that want a VA, hang out there. Is there a group where a lot of people thing VA’s are unnecessary/too expensive – run, they are not your people.

Why didn’t your product sell?

3. This article from Sarah is so damn spot on (I’ve put so much money in the swear jar with this article) on why no one bought were you were selling. I’m paraphrasing the headlines and they wrap up why a product can fail “it was for everyone…who wanted to accomplish everything…but they didn’t know exactly what they were getting…and they didn’t know how they were going to get it…or that you could deliver it…and it didn’t look valuable.” Basically, you can’t try to sell everything to everyone because you won’t look capable. If you price a product too low, it won’t look valuable. If you try to sell a course “How to Become a Rocket Scientist in 10 Days” for $4.99, who is going to trust the value in that that?  

Don't Work Alone, Find your Tribe

You're new to the freelancing game and struggling with working alone in a bubble. But you don't have to, you just have to know where to look for others like you.

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How to make your target clients want you

4. One of the strategies discussed by Little Trailer Studio is apparently a little “controversial” and that annoys me because I think it can be super useful Create a Customer Persona. When you have a customer persona, everything you do for your business revolves around them and whether or not they would go for it. For instance, thinking about sending cupcakes as a thank you to new clients? No, Madeline thinks cupcakes are so gauche and prefers macaroons instead. A person who differentiates between kinds of sugars is clearly particular, so you can’t throw the kitchen sink at her and expect her to buy.

How to get paid to do what you love

5. Start by stop thinking you’re getting paid to be creative or to do what you love. You’re getting paid because you’re a businesswoman who kick ass. Every point in this list of 10 reinforces you aren’t getting paid because you’re good at something. You’re getting paid because you’re good at something, there are people who want the thing that you’re good at, and you know how to find it and how to sell it to them. Also, ask for help. Silos don’t make good businesses.

BONUS! You’re not asking for help

Freelancing is not easy, as cliche as it sounds, if it was easy everyone would do it. Freelancing first, takes talent at your craft. And then it takes talent at handling all the backend side of your business. It’s rare to be perfect at both when you’re just starting out. So make a friend who’s already been there. Join a Facebook group, attend a meetup, or hire a mentor/coach. I know a lot of freelancers and online business owners who swear by the help of a mentor to coach to get them to the next level (including myself). Mentors hold you accountable and have the gift of perspective that you don’t have when you’re just starting out. If you’re ready for a mentor, it’s time to get started. Otherwise, download the guide below to help you find your tribe.

Don't Work Alone, Find your Tribe

Fp-how-to-find-your-tribe-cover

You're new to the freelancing game and struggling with working alone in a bubble. But you don't have to, you just have to know where to look for others like you.

Powered by ConvertKit