Freelance Fortune: The Newsletter (No. 2: Nov 2009)
This is Seth Kahan’s free, private-roster newsletter that celebrates the free agent lifestyle while providing techniques fto succeed in the marketplace. © 2009 Seth Kahan.You are encouraged to share the contents with others with appropriate attribution. You may forward this newsletter to others.
This issue of Freelance Fortune is in sections:
* Six Ways to Increase Revenue
* Why Your Success is More Important Than Ever
* New Offerings: Mentoring Program, January Workshop in DC, new teleseminars
Six Ways to Increase Revenue
1. Raise your Fees, Use Value Pricing
Are you charging by the hour or the day? This practice disconnects you from the ROI you provide your clients and caps your fees unnecessarily. Time-charging incentivizes you to work more (not good), while motivating your clients to use you less (doubly not good). Value pricing is the ethical alternative, providing your client with a clear return on their investment that allows you to minimize the time you spend while encouraging you and your client to focus on the true value you can generate together.
The master of Value-based fees is Alan Weiss. He turned my world around with this concept. If you are self-employed, you must read his book, Value-based Fees: How to Charge – and Get – What You’re Worth.
2. Identify More Opportunity for Existing Clients
When you are fully engaged with a client, you are in the best possible position to help them identify more areas where an investment in your services would improve their situation. If you focus relentlessly on helping them to better their position, you will find they welcome your idea s. Keep a laser focus on additional ways your work can upgrade, enhance, or raise their condition.
3. Build and Maintain Your Pipeline
Your pipeline is the channel of clients you have coming your way. First, set your intention to create and maintain a regular influx of new work. Then, put in place a consistent effort. This often means scheduling marketing activity in parallel with delivering work so that your outreach does not flag or cease when you are busy. This will curtail and eventually cease the infamous feast or famine cycle.
How do you create a pipeline? You reach out to new work even as you are fulfilling existing contracts until you have more than you can service. This will allow you to (a) raise your prices, (b) discard work that is at the bottom of your preference, and (c) ensure steady income in the future. Your commitment and intention is a prerequisite and many people don’t even attempt it. There is nothing like a full pipeline to ease anxiety and free creativity.
4. Sharpen Your Messages to Hit Higher Targets
Fuzzy value propositions do not attract high-value engagements. Instead, clarity and succinct statements that articulate your results are the way to go. Here are 4 tips for crafting high impact value propositions:
- Speak to critical need. You need to either handle a problem your target is facing right now, or help them achieve a new level of performance. If you can solve a problem or help people get to the next stage in their growth, they’ll be interested.
- Be specific; name the result. One of my messages is, “I help freelancers get more work they enjoy. My techniques work in today’s tough economy.” What can your clients expect as a result of your offering?
- Be succinct. Don’t get involved in long explanations or drawn out methods. Just get to the point – what’s the outcome? Everyone appreciates it. Find a way to say what you mean in the most efficient, tactful way possible.
- Field test your value proposition. I recently wanted to design a yearlong CEO learning experience (now up and running) and so I went to meet with a CEO friend who was a perfect candidate for my program. I said to him, “Pat, I’m not here to sell you anything. I want you to help me think through this offer and I want your candid response. Blunt honesty will help me design something that is a success.” I took him off the hook immediately, and he had fun helping me with it. As a result I designed a series that is now a success, priced perfectly.
5. Know Who Your Best Clients Are
Take the time to identify the profile of the people you most enjoy working with. When I started consulting in 2002 my clients were senior managers in large companiesor CEOs in small- to medium-sized company who wanted to make a significant improvement in performance. I had several contracts with clients and realized there were some who I did not like working with.
Those I liked working with the best treated me like a peer and our work was a form of collaboration. The others treated me like a minion and took little accountability for our results. I knew those who treated me like peers had a better chance for success. But, more importantly, I blossomed in their presence and I created extraordinary results. I changed the profile of my target audience. I even build this into my contracts stating explicitly that we work together and are jointly accountable for results. I am much happier and my clients are getting better results.
6. Serve More Clients in Less Time
My main motivation for leaving my job at the World Bank in 2002 was fourfold: I wanted to (i) be in charge of my professional development, (ii) have all kinds of learning experiences, (iii) make more money, and (iv) have more time with my family. How was I going to do the last if I didn’t get the my time under control?
I have dedicated myself to leveraging my time so that I can do more with less. In addition to freeing me up to spend more time listening to my wife’s music (Listen to Laura Baron’s latest award-winning album here!) and playing with my son, it allows me to provide greater value to my clients and enjoy life more – that’s a lot of great results from one activity!
How do you serve more clients in less time? Focus on value, not time. I don’t make one hour appointments with clients – I go to create results. If we are done in 25 minutes, the meeting ends. I don’t define events by minutes, hours, days. I define them by results. You can, too. Imagine what your life would be like if you were outcome-focused instead of time-driven. More fun. Bigger bank account. More free time.
Why Your Success is More Important Than Ever
Success Will Make You a Better Performer.
The more money you make, the more time you have at your discretion. The more elective time you control and the better use you can make of it. Free time helps you make better decisions, improve the quality of your contribution, take strategic action, increase your impact, and accelerate your development. This is all good for you, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your community. Ultimately, the more successful you are, the better you perform.
The More Successful You Become, the Easier Success Comes
One of the great dynamics of life: the better you become at improving others’ situations, the more your situation improves. The better business person you are, the easier it is to be successful in other areas of your life – and vice versa.
Now is the One Moment You Can Change the Future
The past has come and gone. The future is not here yet. But, the present is the magical leverage point when you can direct your energy toward a better world yet to come.
Success today is the scaffolding for tomorrow’s achievements. Everything rides on this moment. Make it your best. To the extent that you can summon your best self, apply your best energy, invest your highest aspirations, you can acccomplish extraordinary achievements.
January 8 Workshop: PowerCharge 2010!
A full day session dedicated to accelerating your business in the year ahead. This workshop is for you if you are serious about accelerating your business results. It will be a tour de force of content culled from my seven years of experience as an independent consultant. Topics will include: Power Marketing, Finding the Right Clients, What to Say When You Find Them, Brand Building, Matering Time Management, and Leverageng Your Website, Blogs and Twitter.
Location: downtown Washington, DC. Fee is $800. Half-price for my Mentor Members. This event will be so full of useful content that I am providing an optional dinner at my expense after the workshop to debrief!
Private Roster Mentor Programs
I signed up with my mentor, Alan Weiss, nine months before I left my job at the World Bank because I was serious about ramping up. It turned out to be the single most effective learning activity I have ever done. In one phone call Alan showed me how I could earn an extra $3500 for a speaking engagement; I earned what I paid him in less than 15 minutes. That’s what working with an expert on your side can do.
I have maintained my relationship with Alan to this day. In March of 2009 I was inducted into his Million Dollar Consultant® Hall of Fame. Because of all Alan has taught me I have saved countless hours trying to figure stuff out for myself and there is not a doubt in my mind I have earned hundreds of thousands of extra dollars.
I am now certified by Alan to provide the same services he provide me in fact, I am the first person in the world to be certified to offer all three of his mentor programs. When you enter my mentoring program here’s what you get:
- Six months of unlimited access to me by email, telephone, and mail, to address every issue you face.
- Access to Alan’s global mentoring community – you get to participate in his online forums where you can ask questions 24/7 and be answered by 100s of consultants around the world as well as Alan.
- Access to resources that include proposal templates, lists of questions to ask clients, frameworks for negotiating contracts, and much more.
- Discounts on many of Alan’s workshops and mine.
- All teleseminars I produce during your mentor program are provided to you free of charge.
To read the details, visit SethMentor.com, or call me at my home office: 301-229-2221 or 800-394-0493 in the USA. This is the most powerful program of its kind anywhere in the world. Imagine what you could do with me and these resources behind you for the next six months. You can begin today!
MP3 for download:
Three Techniques for Engaging Clients in a Tough Economy
Available via SethStore.com
Seth Kahan (Seth@VisionaryLeadership.com) is a Change Leadership specialist. He has consulted with CEOs and executives in over 50 world-class organizations that include Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, American Society of Association Executives, International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Project Management Institute, and NASA. He is the founder of Seth Kahan’s CEO Leaders Forum, a year-long learning experience for CEOs in Washington, DC.
His next book, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out, will be published in Spring 2010 by Jossey-Bass.Visit all of Seth’s blogs:
- Leading Change for Fast Company Magazine: SethFast.com
- GettingChangeRight.com for more info on Seth’s upcoming book
- FreelanceFortune.com for tips on how to succeed as a free agent
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