Okay, so you’re good at what you do. You’re a talented copywriter, or graphic designer, or whatever. You can make money from it quite easily.
It’s a given that you need to have skill if you’re ever going to make a living from something. It also helps if you’re confident in your abilities, and if you can communicate effectively and have bags of integrity. But we’ve already been over all that.
What I’m talking about now is something else entirely. Yes, sure, you can swing it as a freelancer with the above traits. You can even be well paid for it. But don’t you want to step it up another level? Course you do. Otherwise you wouldn’t be hanging around these parts, you kook.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Make Suggestions
One of the biggest hurdles many new freelancers face is asking their clients questions. They feel like they’re supposed to know everything, so they don’t dare ask any questions, just in case they expose themselves as a newbie. But we know the truth: asking questions helps you deliver exactly what your client wants. So yes, you absolutely should be asking your clients the right questions, so you can get all the info you need to do the best job possible.
But remember — your clients don’t know it all. And there is a difference between what they want and what they need. Sometimes they’ll think they know what they want, but you can take one look at their idea and know how to improve it tenfold. You might want to take the easy way out and just do what your client asks. After all, they’ll be none the wiser and you’ll still get paid.
But if you turn around and say, ‘Hey, how about we do this instead? Here’s why’, and then deliver something so fucking awesome it straight up destroys your client’s measly idea of a good result — well, how likely do you think they’ll be to hire you again? To recommend you to their associates? To send you a frickin’ Valentine’s gift?
Yeah. Pretty likely. Especially the Valentine’s thing, because they will definitely be in love with you.
2. Keep Learning, Always
A talented freelancer might sit back and think, Fuck yeah, I rock at this. Look at all the money I’m making! And that’s cool and all, but hey — nobody likes a smartypants know-it-all. And you shouldn’t want to be one, either, because there is always something new you can learn. A new technique to add to your repertoire, a better way of doing something you’re already pretty good at. Don’t you want to be the best? You probably never will be, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for it. If you consistently hone your craft, you’ll easily be able to put your rates up. More people will want to work with you. And, most importantly, you’ll be able to serve your clients better. And always doing the right thing by your clients is the utmost mark of a rockstar.
In the end, it all comes down to doing the absolute best you can for the people you serve. It’s not about delivering something good, something that works — it’s about delivering the best motherfucking project your client has ever slapped his eyeballs on. Something so dazzlingly incredible he can’t help but shout about you to all his friends. Praise will spill from his lips over a romantic dinner with his spouse (awkward). Shit, he’ll even try to persuade his mother to hire you, despite the fact that she’s retired and living in a caravan on the west coast of Scotland.
So which is it? Are you going to settle for being a mere professional? Or are you going to go all out and strive to become a god damn rockstar?