Creative Freelancing Freedom is open for its final 2017 intake of students. Doors close at 9pm EST on Monday 16th Oct and won’t re-open until Spring 2018. Find out how the program can help you go from struggling to booked out here!
I’ve been working with fellow freelancers for about two years now, and in that time I’ve noticed a trend.
At the beginning of their careers, most freelancers are so focused on what they’re charging, what they’re offering, and how they can get clients.
But they forget to focus on the most important thing: what problem they’re solving.
You see, freelancing is all about providing a solution to a specific group of people, whether that’s making pretty websites for mummy bloggers or creating sales copy for finance companies.
It all boils down to an equation that goes something like this:
TARGET CLIENT + KEY PROBLEM THEY HAVE + SOLUTION = Profitable freelance career.
In this method, which I call The Success Solution, we’re going to focus on those three key parts of the equation so you can land your next client (and many more after that).
Step One: The WHO
*Starts humming Baba O’Reilly…*
The key to success as a freelancer is figuring out WHO you’re helping, WHAT their problem is, and HOW you can help them.
Firstly, you need to focus on the WHO of the equation. That means figuring out exactly the kind of business or person you want to target with your services.
Start by thinking about the KIND of people you want to work with. Are they:
- Professional business people?
- Mothers or fathers?
- Easy-going people who love to travel?
Often we like to work with people who are similar to us, or that we’re likely to get along with, so make that your starting point.
Next, you want to hone it down even further: what kind of professional business people do you want to work with? What sector do they work in? Finance? Insurance? Technology? Healthcare?
A lot of freelancers are scared to niche down in the early days (heck, I was TERRIFIED of cutting myself off from potential clients by honing down who I targeted), but this is precisely what you need to do in order to:
- Find your positioning as a freelancer
- Market yourself in a way that’s successful
- Know where your boundaries are with who you will and won’t work with
Step Two: The WHAT
So now you’ve figured out WHO it is you’re targeting, it’s time to work out what their biggest problem is – because this is the thing you’re going to be solving with your services.
There are two key ways you can do this:
Search sites and forums where you’re target clients hang out and see what questions they’re asking.
2. ASK them!
Seems so simple, right?
But the quickest way to find out what your target clients struggle with is to go out there and ask them. You can either create a survey with a site like Survey Monkey and post it out on social media or, if you’re following isn’t huge, you can actively reach out to 3-5 businesses that fit your ideal client criteria.
When you do this, you’re not selling your services, but instead asking them what their biggest struggle is when it comes to copywriting/designing/admin tasks (whatever it is you’re bringing to the table).
Step Three: The HOW
This part of the process involves figuring out how your skillset can help your target client solve their biggest problems.
When I say skillset, I mean the skills you have that could help them solve their problems.
So, first of all, what’s your discipline?
Are you a:
- Video Editor etc. etc.
You probably know this already, but now it’s time to hone down that skillset into a service. If you want to attract your ideal client, you don’t want to simply be offering “design services” or all types of writing.
This is where your ideal client’s key problem comes in.
If you’re targeting small businesses as a writer, do they struggle to convert visitors to their site into customers? In which case, you can offer to create sales pages that actually convert.
Or, if you’re a designer targeting busy mums, you might offer to create social media graphics for their updates because they don’t have time to make them themselves.
You see how this works? If you can’t figure out what service would be best for you to offer, put your ideal client’s biggest struggles below and we’ll help you out!
Step Four: The WHY
By now you know who you’re targeting, what their biggest problem is, and how your skillset can provide a solution to that problem.
The final part of the puzzle is putting it all together.
I see a lot of new freelancers making the mistake of focusing on what they can bring to a project rather than focusing on how they can help the client.
This is where you tap into the main problem your ideal client has and provide your services (which are based on your skillset) as a solution.
So rather than saying: “I can write you a blog post that’s 500 words long with 3 images”, you want to put the emphasis on how that will solve the client’s biggest problem.
Say your ideal client’s biggest problem is getting subscribers onto their email list and they’ve hired you to create content for them, you’d rephrase your offering to say: “I’ll create a relevant blog post that will lead readers to a sign-up form where they can get themselves on your email list.”
You’re essentially creating the same thing (say, a 500-word blog post with 3 images), but in the second example, you’re focusing solely on HOW that blog post will help the client solve a problem they have.
It’s such a simple switch in phrasing, but it makes the world of difference from the client’s point of view, especially if you’re up against other freelancers for the same project.
Are you ready to book your next client? How will you solve your target client’s biggest struggles with your services? Let me know in the comments below!
Are you ready?!
Ready to launch your life as a freelancer? Grab your starter pack, which includes a workbook, getting-started guide, and a list of 6 places you can start finding freelance work RIGHT NOW!