Freelancing is a dream-come-true for those who have been part of the rat race for a long time. The idea of controlling your own time and not answering to a manager or supervisor seems to charm a lot of people.
Only those who have been in the freelancing business long enough have seen its dark side – cheapskate clients who give little value to your talent and work. Such was the case of Lauren Gray, who used to charge just around $300 for a web project but is now charging ten times the amount of what she used to charge.
From being one of the freelance web designers in the sea of the web design industry, Lauren Gray has successfully transitioned herself to become a market leader who found her own niche and go on to establish her company called OnceCoupled.
Lauren’s story is not an isolated case where she got lucky one day. She is just one of the success stories you will hear and read about in this series. How was she able to do it? What formula for success did she use? You will be surprised that Lauren did not stumble upon a discovery.
Rather, they are a product of time-proven methods and principles she learned from the $10K Boot Camp. These methods and principles are, in fact, all too familiar ones, but often overlooked.
Finding Your Niche
Life always presents us with different opportunities. There are those who can see and grab it while others did not even see it pass before their eyes. The same goes in the web design industry, especially when it comes to finding your niche. How difficult can it get? You might get varying answers for this one but for Lauren, the answer is easy, and that is to focus on where you already are.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty ~ Winston Churchil
Establishing yourself where you already are, makes sense. For one, you already have inside knowledge of the place or the industry and have already built a network around it. Because of the knowledge, you are spared the further stress of finding your way around a new industry or new client base.
Another benefit of starting where you already are is you save more time. Because you already know your way around, you can avoid certain pitfalls that can be hazardous to your practice and business. All you need to do is enhance and develop what you already have to keep you ahead of the rest.
Adding Value to Your Work
The web design industry is a very competitive one. It never lacks in talent nor in the drive to succeed. However, some can rise, some are pushed into oblivion, while some are hanging by a thread. So how do you make it into the first category? The ones who are successful.
Lauren Gray’s story clearly tells you how – and that is to add more value to your clients. According to her, she does not just offer her services, but she also gives valuable advice, suggestions, and insights to her clients on how to improve their businesses.
The reality is web design is not just about design. It is also about public relations – how you establish a relationship with your clients and how you help them gain success as well. It has a domino effect because once your clients become successful, you also become successful. To do this, Lauren mentioned two important factors – only work with clients you love working with and focus on what you are passionate about.
If you are passionate about something, you will only see opportunities rather than difficulties. Secondly, if you only focus on people you love working with, you become more inspired and productive.
Breaking the Myth
One fear that often plagues web designers is the idea that if you only focus on a certain niche, your client becomes limited. Worse, you can even lose precious projects that are in a different niche.
On the contrary, Lauren says that picking your own niche opens more opportunities for you because you’ll be able to establish a connection to your client base. Being able to connect and really speak to people is difficult if your interests are scattered in various places.
Picking a specific niche and focusing on it also allows you to explore it resulting in a deeper knowledge of strategies, methods, new trends, and other things that are happening inside that niche. As you acquire knowledge, you transform yourself as an expert in that niche. As an expert, more people listen and look up to you making you more established and secure.
The Value of Your Time
One of the most important principles the $10K Boot Camp teaches is the value of your time to your business. Realizing how much your time is worth helps you identify which client or project will you accept or reject. According to Lauren, a certain client might give you a little bit of money now but if you cannot see yourself working with that client in the future, you might as well turn the project down now and focus on something that is long-term and will give more value to you.
Realizing the value of your time also means learning how to delegate work. You simply cannot do everything, and you clearly are not an expert on everything. Someone else can do a better job to a certain task than what you are doing.
Delegation does not just make your job easier, but it also makes you more productive. It makes each person on the team focus on what they are good at which results in the job getting finished earlier.
A web designer is not just a designer. He is also an entrepreneur. The designer and the entrepreneur have one goal in mind, though – client satisfaction. There is, however, a big difference between just being a designer and a designer-entrepreneur. The first focus only on the aesthetics but the second one also focuses on the solution.
The $10K Boot Camp teaches that website development isn’t just about building a nice and beautiful website. Rather, it is more about solving your client’s pain points. Your job does not end after the website is done, it extends toward helping your client achieve the goals he has and the outcomes he wants. To do this, you need to add more value to your client’s existing value.
To solve your client’s pain points, you also need to help him solve their audience’s pain points. The best way to do this is to create a buyer’s persona, a visualization of what the perfect audience of that website looks like. You do this by asking what kind of audience should visit or read the website.
As you paint a picture of the type of audience you want to attract, it becomes easier to put in the content. It is also easier to address their problems. Furthermore, it is much easier to suggest what changes and steps your client needs that will bring them closer to their goals.
Communication and Accountability
Good communication, not just communication, is necessary to achieve productivity and maintain a strong working relationship with your team and your client. Furthermore, constant face-to-face communication builds trust and confidence between you and your clients. It also reduces misunderstanding, and if there are problems brewing, you can easily cut them early on.
Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success ~ Paul Meye“
With the different advance communication tools available nowadays, it is not a problem to get constantly in touch with your clients or teammates. You can talk to anyone wherever they are in the comforts of your living room.
Constant communication also encourages accountability, another principle taught at the $10K Boot Camp. According to Lauren, accountability is very important if you want to grow because it allows check and balance, something which does not happen if you are alone.
Accountability provides the right push you need to grow more as well as the feedback you need to make yourself better. It also allows you to see what others in your team are doing and gain new strategies for your business to keep on moving forward.