Someone from my list had asked this question when I asked: “what are you struggling with right now?”

What’s great about this question is that it’s smart.

This is the line of thinking that turns freelancers into consultants.

It's smart because a “contracting resource” is someone who’s hired out by presumably another business to fill the gaps in their own business.

For example, development shops hiring a developer to help with their overflow work.

Whereas a “solo business owner” is someone who has a specific customer that they go after and serve a specific solution towards. They may be a developer who can write PHP, but they stay to a specific kind of customer because of the service they provide.

For example, they only work with SaaS companies providing onboarding development within their application.

I had this exact question back in 2011. I had most of my client work coming by way of other agencies. I purposefully did this due to me working in agencies for close to a decade. So I understood their pain, but also knew that I didn’t have to do the sales end, which at that time I was not very comfortable doing.

In 2011 I realized that I was running a business where I had no control over the work, timelines, budgets, rates, and had left a full-time job of 1 boss, for a job that had 8.

The first thing I did was stop taking any new sub-contracting work. Sure I did work for existing clients, but any new agencies that came my way, I said no to.

I started seeking out through my network for projects that I knew I could do, which were specifically focused on ecommerce.

No longer did I want to work on employee directories, back-end applications, custom database applications on the front-end. Had no interest in doing those types of things.

So I focused solely on ecommerce, put up a simple landing page talking about it, and then had an online form to fill out.

This was the first time I started my own sales pipeline.

The second thing, and key to the success I had, was to network.

Business is all about the people, this was the time I really started to double-down on Twitter and jump into the conversations that I could help people answer some questions.

I had Bridget Willard on Live In The Feast. She’s a Twitter guru and helps her clients build their businesses using relationship marketing on Twitter. She unpacked a ton of tactics, which one of them is about creating lists and watching out for specific questions that you can answer.

I didn’t realize it then, but that’s exactly what I was doing. I would spend about 30 minutes a day on Twitter just jumping in and helping out.

It’s not fancy, but it’s the reality of business today. If it were 1950, I would’ve have been flipping through lead call lists and dialing. Except this day in age, people on social are there, complaining, telling you specifically what they are struggling with.

As a someone who is providing services, that’s a gold mine.

These 2 initial stepping stones were the genesis of my business today. Stop taking on new clients that I no longer wanted to work with. Then make a conscious effort to seek out those that I do want to work for.

Running your freelance business

Struggles with time management? Which emails to send off and when? Wonder what type of software to use? Here are the answers you’ll want to have a listen to.
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