Jun 8 / Matt Saunders

Stop "Applying" for Work

Stop being an order-taker and start showing up as the god damn business owner you are!
Serious question: are you a business owner?

For many years I thought I was running a business. But in actual fact I had just created a job for myself.

I would apply for freelance projects on job boards. I'd comment on social media posts that asked for designer recommendations (along with dozens of others).

It was unpredictable, exhausting and mostly fruitless.

But the here's the thing - business owners don't sell in this way. They don't sell their skills - they sell a solution to a specific kind of client.
That's a very different proposition.

Shaking the employee-mindset

People working at laptops
Most freelancers and self-employed people have a history of working a full-time job.

But the mindset of an employee is completely different to the mindset of a business owner.

Where an employee seeks direction, the business owner sets the direction.

If you need to be led as a self-employed person, you're gonna struggle.  Leadership is your role now.

Otherwise you'll hand total power to your clients. They will decide what you do. This is not running a business; it is being an employee with lots of bosses ūüėß

So if this resonates, here's what you need to do instead:

  • Get very clear on what sorts of businesses you want to work with so you can weed out bad-fit clients and projects.
  • Define specifically what you actually do so you don't get dragged into offering a tonne of services just because the client has asked.
  • Bundle this together into a unique "offer" that your ideal clients can easily buy.
  • Get that offer out there and pitch it again and again.

Stop "applying" for work. You're a god-damn business owner! Create a thing your clients can buy. Don't defer to them for direction and control. Don't let them decide what your business offers. This is a ticket to a very rocky and unhappy self-employed life.

I know this because I've been there. In my first year as a freelance web developer I had zero control of my life and it was very stressful. I realised I was not taking ownership of the sort of work I got or how much I charged. The client decided everything.

Over time I slowly fixed this. I got clear on my ideal client. I crafted an offer for them. Then my business really took off.

But unfortunately this is not an easy process. That's why the vast majority of freelancers don't do it. They struggle on, telling themselves that "next time" they will charge more. Next time they will set boundaries.

Guess what? It never happens.

My mission is to turn this around. I believe our sector could be so much stronger if we were stronger.

That's why I've developed a framework to help you identify, attract and sell to your ideal clients. Not just any client, but those with whom you naturally resonate.

It's called The Dream Client Playbook and it will help upgrade your business in all areas, leading to higher quality clients and more income. Buy it here for just £5.
[Watch] Shift your identity so you see yourself as an empowered business owner, not just a fly-by-night freelancer.
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