I am a business owner who’s obsessed with UX. I’ve studied art, and I’ve lived…
Whether you’re new to freelancing or have been working for years, you’ll get more clients and build your business faster when you’re asking the right questions. Asking these 7 questions boosts your confidence, focuses your work, and inspires people to work with you.
Here are seven questions to ask that will help you escape the grind of 9-5 once and for all.
1.Do You Know Your “Why?”
In an extremely popular TED talk, Simon Sinek describes the power of knowing why you are doing what you do. A clear “Why” is the seed for exceptional success. It does wonders for you, your team and your clients.
Knowing your “Why” super-charges your sense of purpose and makes your self-confidence soar. If you’re working as a solo freelancer, this is the jet fuel that gets you going first thing…and keeps you fired up in every sprint.
If you’re working with other, a clear “Why” is the fastest way to build a solid team. Do the work with your team, and you’ll get the rewards of non-stop cooperation and inspired creativity.
Dive deep into your core reasons and you’ll find passion. Use this question to find out exactly why you are offering the services you do. Why does your work matter? Why are you doing it? Why are you unique? Keep asking “Why” to get at the heart and soul of what truly inspires you.
This may not be an instant answer. But when you get to your answer, you’ll have a gut sense. You will be unstoppable. You’ll have a personal compass, with a certain true north. Everything else you do will flow from this. Clarity. Motivation. Direction. Decisions. Clients.
There’s another exceptional benefit. Your clarity inspires clients and prospects. When you’re on fire with a clear “Why” people will come to you. They will feel the magnetic pull and they’ll want one thing: to work with you.
2.Who is Your Who?
While you’ve learning your unique craft, you’ve developed excellent skills. This is what people want and expect. Yet, fantastic skills are not the only ingredient you need to be successful in business.
The critical question you must answer is: “Who is your who?” Once you know your niche audience, you’ll be out ahead of the pack.
Sadly, many entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners don’t have a clearly defined audience. They focus exclusively on skill building, but don’t think about who is their niche market.
This shows up in phrases such as:
“Everyone is my customer!”
“My work is so great, it has to will fly.”
“I’m really great. The smart clients will find me, somehow.”
If you’ve been focusing on building your skills, learning the nuts and bolts of your craft, it’s easy to think that you’ve got your business wired. But exceptional skills and successful freelancing are not the same. Be sure to read or revisit the best-selling book on this topic: E-Myth by Michael Gerber. It will open your eyes!
Sculpt out your “who” with care and precision. It helps if you intimately know your target market, are familiar with their preferences, know where they hang out online, and understand their dreams, problems and hot buttons. This will help you quickly and easily focus your brand.
3.What Will You Show?
After identifying your niche market, the next question to answer is – what work will you show?
First things first. Your website. If you don’t have one, create a website. Build a portfolio of your work to show your talents.
Oops…no work yet? No worries. Work for free.
Yes, it sounds weird. You’re in this to make the money, but you’ll get there quickly by doing a few projects for free. Start offering your freelance services for free. Use the free work to build your portfolio.
Look for agencies, companies and non-profits you admire and would feel great offering your services. Imagine the power of showcasing your work with a big name University, school or research center. This quickly builds your body of work.
4.How Will People Find You?
Next, look for online spots to post your work and potential clients go to hire designers and developers. You may know of specific sites that appeal to your target audience. Brainstorm sites where your clients go, such as professional organizations or publications.
You’ll find more freelance jobs by thinking like your customer. Many clients prefer to connect with freelancers via a reliable service such as Upwork and Behance. Consider how your prospects and clients will seek out your services and you’ll have the answers you need to find your next freelance job.
5.What Makes You Shine?
What’s the fastest way to rise to the top of your field? Build your brand based on your personal strengths and uniqueness. Right now. You won’t need any extra training, personal growth or magical financing.
Here’s the fastest track to identify what makes you shine.
Take a well-researched personality test to discover your natural personality type. Get familiar with the architecture of your specific personality in a matter of minutes. You can take this fun and informative test anonymously – and it’s free. You’ll find out what naturally appeals to you – and use this to make choices about your freelancing career.
Build your freelance brand around your unique strengths and orientations, and your life will get radically easier and less stressful.
7.Where Do You Want To Go?
Freelance opportunities are abundant; making it easy to think that hustling harder and posting more is the way to go. While it’s tempting to look for more clients, sign up for more boards…the first step to success starts with you. Spend time figuring out where you want to go. Start by building your own business canvas.
This is not as complicated or time-consuming as writing a formal business plan. A business canvas is a way for you to organize your thinking and focus strategically on your business. It will help you figure out the nuts and bolts of your business.
The 9 building blocks you’ll think about are:
- Customer Segments
- Value Proposition
- Customer Relationship
- Revenue Streams
- Key Activities
- Key Partnerships
- Cost Structure
Don’t worry if not all the terms are familiar to you right now. Watch and learn.
Watch a 5-minute video and you’ll quickly learn how to map out your ideas.
- Who Is On Your Support Team?
One of the most challenging parts of freelance work is staying motivated while working on your own. Success means that you stay confident, focused, and take action to build and strengthen your freelancing business.
If you rely on support from family and friends, you may be putting your freelance success at risk. Family may not understand your field, know what is involved, or appreciate the effort needed to get started. Friends can pull you in the direction of their hopes and fears, unable to offer objective feedback.
It’s a big part of your success to build a team of people who truly believe in you and understand current industry conditions. Seek people out who have a positive attitude, believe in your ability and know how to support your professional growth.
Look for industry groups in your city that provide support for entrepreneurs. Organizations such as the Renaissance Center for Entrepreneurship in San Francisco offer step-by-step training to help you succeed. Get the training and support you deserve.
To Sum It Up
In summary, here are the 7 questions:
- Do You Know Your “Why?”
- Who is Your Who?
- What Will You Show?
- How Will People Find You?
- What Makes You Shine?
- Where Do You Want To Go?
- Who Is On Your Support Team?
Great work! With these 7 questions you are on the fast track to success. Get ready to skyrocket your business and escape the 9-5 forever.