Communicating what you do and how much you charge is imperative, especially if you’re just starting out as a freelancer. Here’s a word of warning post that I might also have entitled: How Not to Give Away Your Skills for Free.
If youâ€™re starting out as a freelance consultant be wary of people looking to hire you. Seriously.
Many successful business people are adept at getting things for nothing and if youâ€™re new to pitching for consulting work you could find yourself dishing out valuable skills and information â€“ for free!
Be Wary of â€œCome and have coffeeâ€
Letâ€™s say you meet an prospective client at a social gathering. You tell them what you do and you feel that buzz of excitement when they mention â€œMy company is actually just looking for some of that as a matter of fact!â€ You hit them with your elevator pitch, a stylish business card and a smile and low and behold a few days later they get back to you.
â€œWhy donâ€™t you come into the office for coffee? Letâ€™s have a chat about what you can do?â€ they might say.
To the eager novice consultant this might sound like potential business.
â€œWhat a fabulous opportunity to pitch my skills and services, and grow my business. Right?â€
Well, only possibly.
Don’t Be Too Eager
The risk is that when you get there, all dressed up in your glad rags, seated in a leather chair and supping a frothy cappuccino, youâ€™ll fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book. Giving away your skills for free.
â€œSo weâ€™re thinking about improving our SEO?â€ the charming, friendly CEO says. â€œWhat are the problems with our site? Do you think you could help?â€
Having researched Potential Significant Customerâ€™s site dot com before your get-together because you want to know something about them, want to impress them a little, you spill a few of the beans.
â€œI can see thereâ€™s stuff you need to improve: the title tags across the site donâ€™t work and youâ€™re not making the most of title tags. You should definitely reduce your duplicate content. Google treats www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com as separate sites.â€
â€œReally?â€ wonders the CEO, encouraging you to take a couple of M&Ms from the candy jar on the table, still smiling, still friendly. â€œIs that easy to fix?â€
â€œOh, sure you just need to tweak your htaccess file.â€
Before you know it the CEO is enthusing about your skills, the easy way you communicate your ideas and how youâ€™re just what theyâ€™re looking for. Add a touch of mild sexual tension to the mix, maybe the CEO is flirting with you, and your egoâ€™s glowing. Youâ€™d be only too happy to help.
â€œI think we really need to use you,â€ the CEO says, before hitting you with the sucker punch. â€œCould you just put together a brief outline on paper about what weâ€™ve talked about and give me a quote for the work?â€
So then off you go, type it all up and wait eagerly for their response, dreaming of that big fat deal youâ€™re about to sign.