If you’re “climbing a ladder” in your work and you feel tired and discouraged, I recommend giving Seth Godin’s podcast a listen. If you have children who are considering a career in music (as I do), have them listen to it as well (click the link below):
With echoes of James Altucher’s “Choose Yourself,” philosophy, it’s a must hear. Always a little ahead of his time, Godin offers sound advice regarding “going for it” and not working to “pay one’s dues.” Don’t buy into outdated and ineffective advice.
…and now, for the continuation of my notes on Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast on Freelancing:
The world will ask you to do work for free and promise that if this is good, then maybe they will buy it.
Seth’s recommendation – “That thing you do…that you sell…you should sell it. You should find something else to do for free. Something you do to have people see you and understand you.” For example, Seth gets paid to fly to places and speak. But his blog is free. His speeches are expensive.
Differentiate what is free.
People will walk away. People will leave. But you’re work is so good, people will miss it. There will ALWAYS be people who will give away what you’re selling for free. Always. Your job, then: Build practices and skills that no one can give away for free because you are a category of one. Be comfortable advocating for yourself.
You’re the sales rep.
How does a freelancer get more? How to turn this into a career?
The alternative SEEMS to be that you have to work harder and longer hours.
Or, you need to hire people in order to get bigger.
The THIRD path (and Seth’s recommendation): Get better clients. Clients who trust you and want better…why pay better. What will happen? Word will spread and you’ll get better. Good clients lead to better clients who lead to the best clients.
I’ve been following Seth Godin’s work for many years. He just gets better and better. This podcast episode got me jazzed. If you’re considering freelancing or being an entrepreneur (or if you believe they are synonyms(!)) this podcast is for you:
Here are notes from the podcast:
First of all, entrepreneurs are people who start companies, make money while they sleep and employ people. Freelancers actually create the work and usually work alone (might shop out aspects of their work, but mostly do it themselves). When he said this, I realized I am definitely not an entrepreneur! But being a freelancer resonated with me when it comes to my personality and goals.
Choose an industry that is glad to see you arrive.
Possess hard-earned skills. You can charge a lot, but deliver more than what people pay for.
Focus on the smallest viable audience – not a large one [This is the opposite of what so many failed businesses do!]. As a freelancer, you can only handle so much. This small group of people (your customers) will talk about you and wait in line for you.
Commit to the discipline of prospecting – you need to do your work and spend time getting work (building your business). Dedicate some time every day to honing your skills, finding new tools, spreading the word, earning the privilege of working for others (NOT networking parties).
Godin uses an example: He knows a photographer who shoots in a specific location at specific times and only those for clients. She
What gets you picked is you being in the Category of One. No one can substitute you. Get beyond being One of Many. Do quirky, unique, exceptional work – work that sounds like you, looks like you….the work that most people do not like. (Are you trying too hard to be liked by everyone?)