You want to make more money as a freelancer but you find it impossible. Regularly you fall into the trap that most freelancers experience and that is being treated as a commodity service. For those unfamiliar with this concept, a commoditized service is one where the only differentiator the client sees between what two people/companies offer
With so much competition on freelance sites like Fiverr or Upwork, this is an easy trap to fall into. You want to win the business and besides a high rating on the site, the only thing clients seem to care about is price. So you slash your prices, create razor-thin margins and hope that the client will come back for more work. Yet by falling into this trap, you are also perpetuating it in the future. If all you focus on is providing X service for the lowest cost possible, that is all the client will see you as.
Instead, you need to move from a service provider to value-added partner. This means you need to focus on the underlying value the client needs as opposed to the service the client is asking for. It can be a hard shift but it will lead to you being able to charge more for your efforts, create a longer-lasting relationship with your customer and ultimately make more money online. In fact, this is exactly how some of the largest consulting companies, such as Deloitte, are able to charge 3-4 times the amount than typical market prices and then they get much more follow-on work after the initial project is over.
There are several ways you can step out of simple being treated as a commodity service provider; understand the underlying value you provide, diversifying your skillset and rebranding what you have to offer.
Understand How Your Services Provide Value In The Big Picture
Whenever you offer freelancing services they are rarely used on their own. Often they are part of something much larger the client is doing (whether they know it or not). You need to understand the context behind the work they are asking for. For existing or prospective clients, ask them about what they need the service for and if there is a strong underlying push to get it done. One example is if you are redesigning someone’s LinkedIn Profile. By understanding why clients need that done will help you understand not just what you should focus on in their LinkedIn Profile but also if there is more value you may provide. If the client is looking to rebrand as they are moving up the corporate ladder, then the purpose is far different than someone who is looking for another job.
Diversify Your Skillset
One of the biggest challenges about freelancing sites is that they have so many other people that seem to do exactly what you can do. Need a logo made? There are thousands of people that can do that. So how do you stick out?
Once you understand why the customers need your service and the value it brings, you can see if there is any other part of their need that you can help with. If you can bring to the table the ability to do many of the tasks the client is looking for, then you can provide a one-stop shop for their project. For example, if the client needs a logo, it could be for marketing material. If you are able to create the marketing material yourself as well then that sets you apart plus can lead to longer projects.
What if you are not interested in a particular skill or don’t have any talent in it? Then find another freelancer and partner with them to do the work or subcontract it at a lower rate than you are charging. Some clients/sites may not be open to subcontracting but if they are then as long as you can stand by that the quality and timelines will be met then it is a win-win for everyone.
Expand Your Brand To Sell Value
Now that you know why your clients typically need your services and how they fit into the big picture, you can reposition your online profile and what you offer to speak more to their needs. Let’s say before you used to simply used to help people re-write their resumes. Now, you might rewrite your profile to instead be a career consultant that helps people find the job they are looking for. To help with this you can help clients understand the brand they want, write their resume and LinkedIn profiles to support this brand and even help them with writing posts and articles in LinkedIn or on blogs that reinforce their expertise in certain areas.
You are still offering the original service the client asked for, which is extremely important, but you are positioning yourself to address the underlying need versus simply one little ask.
Journey To Be A
Value Added Partner
The journey to be a value-added partner is not easy. It involves getting out of your comfort zone and really understanding why people are asking for the things they need, even if they themselves can’t articulate it. You then need to cover as much of that need as you can, either by diversifying your skillset or having partners to help fill in the blanks. Finally, you then position your online brands, through your profiles, in such a way that clients look at is and think that you really understand what is keeping them up at night. That will separate you from the other competitors and help you ultimately help you make more money as a freelancer.