How To Fail As A Freelancer

If you can’t do this, you won’t be able to retain your clients

There is a key mental shift that is required if you want to be a freelancer. To provide a valuable service to your clients, you need to be able to assign yourself tasks.


A freelancer is not a full-time employee. Even if the project leads to similar hours spent working, the key difference between working as an employee and as a freelancer is that you can’t rely on your client to know what tasks need to get done. You have to lead the client in the right direction, that’s why they hired you.


If they wanted to manage someone, they would have hired an employee to complete routine tasks. Instead, they took a risk in picking you to help them.


Consultants are great at client retention and although a consultant and a freelancer approach projects differently, there’s a lot that can be adapted to freelance work.


Think like a consultant: what are the unknown tasks?

25% of a consultant’s work is done BEFORE they even propose a project to a client. They have to first create a project proposal for the client, which justifies their services. The only way to truly justify the cost of a consultant’s services is by showing the client that:

  1. There is an unknown problem that they need to solve in order to sustain themselves or gain a competitive advantage,
  2. The consultant can provide a novel solution to this unknown problem.


This proposal can only be successful if the consultant is willing to take their own risks and assign themself the task of helping a company essentially for free, in the hopes that they will be hired for implementation of the project.


A freelancer doesn’t need to assume the same risks but, the same consultant approach can be applied during a project.


Freelancers have the advantage of leveraging platforms to help them source qualified clients. Unlike the research requirements needed to obtain a consulting project, a freelancer needs to create profiles on several freelance platforms, see a list of client projects and requests on these platforms, and notify the client that they would like to work for them.


If successful during the proposal and interview process, the freelancer can then begin working for the client. Yet, where most freelancers fail is after this stage of the process. The true value that they can provide is wasted as they expect the client to be the taskmaster during the project.


In most cases, the client actually ends up discontinuing the project because the costs of maintaining a relationship with the freelancer outweigh the benefits.

A freelancer must foresee and sell future tasks

If you want to be a successful freelancer, you must not only accomplish the goals of the initial project but, go above and beyond expectations by delivering work for tasks that were not requested. A client will only continue a relationship with you, if you demonstrate that the relationship has more beneficial outcomes than costly ones. If you want to be a freelancer, you have to be a self-starter.


If you can successfully assign yourself your own tasks, ideally before a client even knows that those tasks need to get done, you will be seen more as a partner in their business journey—rather than an additional burden. Doing this will not only help you retain your clients, it helps you get an increase of referrals when you request them.


If you have experience as a freelancer and have experienced a client discontinuing their relationship with you, ask yourself, “Did I accomplish more self-assigned tasks than expected ones? Did I do more than what was required?”


It may seem unreasonable to consider doing extra work without getting paid for it. However, when you consider that this extra work benefits your reputation and your chances of continued work in the future—it goes without saying that a client will hire the freelancer that goes provides more value than the one who simply does the minimum work required.


 you want to fail as a freelancer, don’t work harder, don’t consider the unknown tasks, do what’s expected of you, and just focus on the minimum.


Your competition will be focused on what matters—providing value.


Related: Finite and Infinite Games


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How Much Do You Keep?

“One-tenth of everything that I make is mine to keep.”

One issue that many of us have when we start making money is that we are focused on our income. We measure in hours and in monthly bank statements. Some of us fall into the trap of getting a credit card before understanding how to properly save money.


It doesn’t matter how much you earn for each hour of time you work if you aren’t keeping a portion of your money. There are hundreds of ways you can leverage money that you save to make it grow and to create wealth for yourself, however, the process doesn’t begin without having a general understanding of how to save your money.


Here’s a great way to spend your time during a quarantine:


You can also get a physical copy of the “The Richest Man In Babylon” by George S Clason here. If there is any personal finance book you will ever need to read, it’s this one. The classics always withstand the test of time.


Image credit: Unsplash


Your Resume Isn’t Enough

You need content (not only a resume) if you want to distinguish yourself

The only way to stay competitive is to stay authentic. A resume can help, but it doesn’t pain a full picture.


If you don’t know the answer, that’s okay. Will you learn the answer? If you don’t have the qualifications, that’s okay. How can you gain them? If you don’t have the network, that’s okay. How can you start conversations with the people you want to connect with? These are all important questions to consider.


In a candidate pool of over 10,000 people, there truly is only one way to stand out. You have to be able to demonstrate an ability to learn quickly and a strong work ethic. A resume can highlight these two core qualities but, content can do it better.


You don’t need a big audience. You don’t need a multi-media plan that covers podcast production, a vlog, and 1,000-word weekly blog posts. You do however need to take advantage of the social networks and easy-to-make website creators available today.


A resume is like a thumbnail, it will only showcase a small part of who you are. Content is like the thousands of pixels in an image, it will showcase a deeper level of your expertise, curiosity, interests, and most importantly—your uniqueness.


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How Have Your Worries Changed In 2020?

Worried and focused

My worries have changed over the years. In simpler times, I used to worry about graduating from college. I wanted to make my family, specifically my mother, proud of me. I had this constant fear of not being enough, not contributing my part to the family. After achieving my goal, my worries immediately morphed to making as much money as possible.


I was chasing the dollar and in a way I still am. However, after taking the time to really consider why I want money, I don’t worry about it in the same way as I used to. This year has shown me that there really only a few things that are truly necessary for my happiness:

  • Work that introduces me to unique challenges on a daily or weekly basis;
  • My family;
  • Good food;
  • Travel;
  • Anime and manga;
  • Books;
  • A place to sleep.


Everything that isn’t included in that list is just an extra luxury. For the most part, the biggest expense on that list would be having a home, being able to sleep comfortably without having to worry about where I will sleep tomorrow. And because of this list, my worries about earning a decent living have narrowed down.


I’ve been considering what do I want to use my money for when it comes to any surplus I may have after spending on my essentials. I don’t want to fall into the trap of not building wealth and more importantly, I don’t want to accumulate wealth without a strategy for how to use it. What’s the point of creating wealth if I can’t use it to help others, especially after I die?


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Finite and Infinite Games

What type of business are you involved in?

If you have children or have ever been a teacher, then you know that kids have two types of games that they like to play. The games that children play can be categorized as finite or infinite, and they have a tendency to choose one over the other.


A finite game is one where there is a winner and a loser, and once those roles are assigned based on some result or conclusion the game ends. An infinite game requires imagination. Rules are created in the moment when playing infinite games. The goal of any infinite games is to have it go for as long as possible. The value of an infinite game comes from how long all parties involved can sustain it.


The overall quality of these games increases with an increase of players and how long those players have played similar games in the past. Additionally, the relationship that these players have with each other can also affect the quality of the infinite game.


The games that children play can be seen in the financial games we play with each other as adults. “In every conversation, someone is buying and someone is selling.” In the exchange of ideas, we are trying to add value or take value from each other. When doing business, most of what we do on a daily basis is selling a product and/or service to other people, for our own business or on the behalf of our clients.

Are you positioning your sales for the best type of game?

Certain types of businesses can benefit from the win or lose scenario found in finite games. There can be zero-sum conclusions in business, however, only one party benefits from these types of interactions and relationships. Instead, it’s better to find ways to create infinite games with your clients and business partners. How can we create long term relationships that compound in value over time?


The longer we work with people within our teams and on a customer-to-seller relationship, the more value is exchanged over time.


We need to consider how our businesses are set up for long term relationships. Every facet of our business, from marketing to customer relations, has to take into account the long term implications of each action made. We may not have complete control of the type of game we are playing, based on the industry we are in. Yet, most successful companies are playing infinite games.


The longer you provide value to people, and create new packages of value in products and services, the longer you’ll stay in business. Capitalism is the most basic infinite game, so it only makes sense that an infinite game is the best to play in any business relationship.


Image Credit: Unsplash

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