The short answer to this question is that I don’t, their business does.
A mantra that I’ve always lived by for my business is “Let the business drive the technology, not the other way around.”
The simple truth is that technology changes much faster than a business can. So if the technology were to go away tomorrow, would the business still be viable and run or would it be out of business?
Last week YouTube went down and the internet lost it’s mind! There are a great deal of people who build their business on YouTube. And if you don’t listen to those smarter YouTubers like Roberto Blake, Sunny Lenarduzzi, and Amy Landino who always talk about building a business on YouTube, but then say that it’s an absolute must to get customers onto your mailing list. It’s for that exact reason.
To answer today’s question though, you want to listen to your client extremely closely and objectively.
Be overly objective
My wheelhouse is WooCommerce, Subscriptions for WooCommerce, Drip, and ConvertKit. That is the technology that I work with and on for clients.
If I hear from my clients that they need a different ecommerce platform such as Shopify. Or an email marketing platform such as Mailchimp, then I don’t hesitate to share that with them.
There is any number of reasons why technology may fit or not fit for someone. Price, features, existing knowledge, existing business software, and timeline.
As a professional, you will want to give your clients the expertise that you have in order to provide them with the best possible solution, even if it isn’t your own.
If you don’t, you and your client will find out later in a much more painful way. If you don’t like having hard conversations then best to over-communicate early on.
Not every client project is a fit for you. What happens when you take on projects that are not is that your profits and time go right out the window.
What I mean by this is that if you provide a solution that your client is looking for and you shoehorn the technology that you know into it, there will be a high likelihood that further down the road your client will ask for something that the technology may not do, or do well.
When describing the requirements for the project, your client is coming from their perspective and knowledge of what they need.
That knowledge comes from their experience with the problem so far. There is no way that you’ll know every detail of the problem within a 30 or 60-minute conversation.
Rest assured though, you’ll find out the hard way when it arises.
It’s hard for me to cite exactly what to watch and listen for here. Every case is different. However keep in mind the phrase “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.”
If you’ve got some gut feeling or the dots connect to form a specific technology that fits perfect, then that’s the answer. Don’t try and make shoehorn the business into some other piece of technology.
Running your freelance business
More episodes in this topic:
What do you do when a crisis hits?
How to start building an email list as a freelancer?
How do you manage time wearing so many hats as a freelancer?
What software tools do you use for business? What is best?
How do you prevent, manage scope creep in your projects?
Do you schedule in time for exploring or reading articles online?
What is the best way to get income fast?
What happens if you can’t define a scope of work on a call?
What do I do first thing Monday morning?
How can I focus on my business when I’ve got a ton client work?
Do I have to be concerned with GDPR?
What are the tools and services that you use and would recommend to freelancers?
How do you have time for all that you do?
What podcasting gear do I use?
Does live chat bring you in business?
How do you followup with a lead after a proposal?
Did hiring a mentor really help you with starting up your business or your career?
What is my writing process
What is the easiest way to get a remote testimonial?
How do you determine a quality prospect?
How do you step away and actually take a vacation?
Are job boards reliable?
How to decrease the sales cycle or time to close?
How would you write a cold outreach email?
How to present different services that could potentially diminish your abilities in the minds of clients?
Should I bundle projects for clients or keep projects separate per client?
What product do you use for your business that you can’t live without?
What makes you stand out from other freelancers?
Do I drop this client?
How do I set a goal?
Do you meet leads and clients face-to-face?
How do I work “ON” my business and not “IN” my business?
What is the best structure for setting a goal?
How do you do a review of your week?
What do I say when a potential client says I’m too expensive?
What is activity based selling?
How to get more clients?
How to have a productive week?
Do you use a CRM for your business?
How do you choose the technology for your clients?
What is the structure of a weekly review?
What is the structure of a monthly review?
What are lead generation techniques to get me out of the feast and famine revenue cycle?
How do I know if I should buy a course?
What’s a polite way to tell existing clients you are raising your rates? And what is a reasonable percentage to go up?
How many email follow-ups should I send to a lead?
What do I do? I’m afraid to filter the tire kickers coming into my business because they are the only leads I have.
How to take the next step from contracting resource to solo business owner?
What do you think about Gutenberg? Schmutenberg!
How do I get better at sales?
How to overcome objections in sales?
How do I respond to an RFP?
How to respond to “I don’t need strategy, can you just do…”?
If you don’t have experience, how to you prove the quality without the education/experience?
How do you handle a client that has ghosted?
What do you ask during a sales call?
How to improve your sales process as a freelancer?
How to charge more as a freelancer?
How do you push past the imposter syndrome?
How do you segment your email list?
What to say when a client insists on adding something new?
What kind of content should I promote to potential clients?
Best of Season 3 - Get out of the comfort zone
Best of Season 3 - Building Relationships
S06 E12 - Undercharging, Targeting the Wrong Audience, and What You Should Do About It with Alex McClafferty
S03 Bonus - Tom McFarlin on Blogging, Balancing Work and Family, and Building a Business that Lasts
S09 E11 - Differentiation, Reputation, and Pivoting From the Top-Down with Peep Laja
S01 E11 - Kai Davis helping freelancers get more clients with outreach