Freelancers and Professionals

In his podcast, Akimbo, Seth Godin teaches us how to adopt a posture of possibility, change the culture, and choose to make a difference. Here are my takeaways from the episode.

  • This podcast covered ways of thinking about and managing a freelance career. The freelance career can lead to doing the work that will be valued and respected by our customers.
  • Firms have existed as an alternative to the pure open market system for conducting business transactions. When the information and certainty of having employees outweigh the costs of dealing with the open market, firms with employees emerge. Today, the freelancers are catching on because the information and certainty from hiring freelancers are getting better than employees in some cases.
  • Freelancers are not the same as entrepreneurs. Freelancers get paid for the work he/she delivers personally. Entrepreneurs get paid for the output generated by his/her business.
  • Freelancers get into trouble when the income is directly tied to the work/craft of the freelancer, and she is trying to grow the size of her business. Indefinitely scaling of the output is not compatible with the freelancing approach.
  • If the choice is to be a freelancer, keep in mind the core deliverable will need to be done by the freelancer.
  • In a commodity market, freelancing work inevitably becomes a race for cost-cutting and time-reduction. That is a race to the bottom. Worth-a-while freelancing work should be a race to the top that lets you develop and enhance skills, tools, and reputation. “You will pay a lot, but you will get more than what you paid for.”
  • Freelancers invest in building and acquiring tools and skills continually. The combined emotional and tactical skills level up the freelancers.
  • Freelancers should pick an industry that welcomes the freelancers to contribute and participate.
  • The goal of the freelancer is to identify the smallest viable audience set that can keep her busy and productive. The smallest group of people who will talk about you and wait in line when you are busy. Be the best in the “world.”
  • Freelancers also need to pay attention to the need for prospecting. Freelancers need the discipline of finding new tools, spreading the words, earning the privilege of being aware and seen by the prospective clients.
  • You will get picked when you are in a category of “one.” Doing and producing the work that is unique and recognized by others.
  • Identify your core products or services and charge them for money. Find something else you can do or give away for free. Something else that can better the community or enrich the conversations that get others to understand you better and want to work with you.
  • Freelancers need to be comfortable with advocating for themselves. They need to have a solid idea of their offering and how that offering is in a category of “one.” The client, who seek out the freelancer and eager to accommodate their expectations to work with the freelancer, will likely turn out to be a better client. “Call me if you need me.”
  • The way for freelancers to move up is to get better clients. Better clients are those who want better work, who are willing to pay for better, and who trust the freelancer enough to do better work. Better clients will lead to a better freelancer portfolio.