Sat at our desks, working for someone else’s dream, seeing ourselves create value and then realising that there are layers of ‘bosses’ above us all taking their cut out of the value we have created. It is a little disheartening, to say the least. Well, actually it’s really mega annoying and soul destroying. We have worked hard to become skilled at something, we then apply that to create value, but we receive such a small slice of the value we generate.
We realise that instead of exchanging value for an income, we could jump ship, and start our own business.
We become a freelancer.
Then we sit and think OK, this is easy, I’ll take what I was doing before for XYZ inc, and simply put my new label on the same ‘paint pot’ and sell it at a lower price. I will create value, all of which will be mine. Sure you will need to deduct some cost, but there won’t be all those bosses etc taking their cut of my hard work.
In theory, that is great, it certainly looked great on that spreadsheet we created before drafting and sending our resignation letter to our employer.
With our pay off we bought a Mac, a raft of books by top-notch ‘gurus’, we built a website, created a logo and shiny new business cards.
But theories are lovely on paper and rarely work out the same in the real world, where other humans are not as predictable in their behaviour as we anticipated.
If we merely replicate what is already there, then that is the crux of the challenge for most freelancers.
If you quit your ‘paid for’ job to simply recreate the same thing with a new label, cheaper and expect to reap all the value, then it won’t end well.
The people who created the business you worked for had passion, a reason they started that venture, they found a challenge and provided a solution to that problem.
The key to success as a freelancer is to create something truly valuable, something new, something different, to solve something that we passionately care about.
If we are hoping to offer the same ‘paint pot’ with a different label on, don’t be too surprised if we do not create a lot of value for ourselves and we may end up with little or no income.
Value in any business is created by providing solutions to your customers’ challenges, valuable enough that they are prepared to pay what it is worth and that is not about price.