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Freelancing Fundamentals
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Sharpening your market focus


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Freelancing Fundamentals

with Tom Geller

Video: Sharpening your market focus

In marketing, one of the worst statements you can make about a product is that it does everything. People respond best to specific proposals. Then they can just say, "Yes, I need that," or "No, I don't." They don't have to think too hard about it. So, you'll have to be specific about what you do and who your market is. There's a worksheet in your Exercise Files called Market-Focus to help you identify what your ideal target markets will be. You can think of your business as being in a space with three axes. They are, the skill you're selling, the industry you'll target, and the type of customer you'll sell to.
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  1. 10m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 53s
    2. What is freelancing?
      2m 53s
    3. How freelancing and employment differ
      2m 33s
    4. Preparing your mindset
      3m 31s
  2. 9m 24s
    1. Defining career goals
      2m 48s
    2. Sharpening your market focus
      3m 18s
    3. Transitioning to freelancing
      3m 18s
  3. 16m 11s
    1. Preparing your portfolio
      3m 11s
    2. Estimating costs
      3m 10s
    3. Funding your startup
      2m 42s
    4. Establishing your workspace
      3m 35s
    5. Building your professional network
      3m 33s
  4. 8m 51s
    1. Getting licenses, permits, and insurance
      2m 15s
    2. Creating contracts
      4m 23s
    3. Finding professional service vendors
      2m 13s
  5. 12m 54s
    1. Setting prices
      3m 13s
    2. Establishing payment systems
      1m 36s
    3. Invoicing and getting paid
      3m 50s
    4. Keeping the books
      2m 32s
    5. Managing taxes
      1m 43s
  6. 14m 41s
    1. Announcing your availability
      3m 16s
    2. Finding work through agencies
      2m 2s
    3. Onboarding clients
      2m 59s
    4. Avoiding scams
      3m 25s
    5. Choosing assignments
      2m 59s
  7. 11m 27s
    1. Interacting with clients
      2m 11s
    2. Delivering quality work
      2m 28s
    3. Getting referrals and recommendations
      2m 34s
    4. Losing and firing clients
      4m 14s
  8. 10m 48s
    1. Deconstructing big jobs
      3m 34s
    2. Adopting time-management tools
      2m 35s
    3. Creating schedules
      2m 30s
    4. Turning off the clock for "me time"
      2m 9s
  9. 20m 6s
    1. Staying motivated
      3m 3s
    2. Increasing your rates
      2m 52s
    3. Marketing beyond your professional network
      2m 56s
    4. Growing through hires and partnerships
      3m 30s
    5. Building passive income
      3m 48s
    6. Changing focus
      3m 57s
  10. 4m 52s
    1. Case study: Publishing a book
      2m 47s
    2. Next steps
      2m 5s
  11. 12m 42s
    1. Freelancing Q&A
      12m 42s

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Freelancing Fundamentals
2h 12m Appropriate for all Jan 30, 2013 Updated Mar 20, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author and seasoned freelancer Tom Geller shows you how to prepare for a transition to freelancing. Begin by taking a look at your career goals, the systems that will support you, and proper ways to plan for success. Find out how to marshal your resources, refine your portfolio for presentation to clients, and estimate your costs to avoid any surprises on the financial front. Plus, discover how to create invoices, manage your books and taxes, expand your client base with marketing, and grow your business.

A bonus chapter covers common questions freelancers have when entering the field.

Topics include:
  • What is freelancing?
  • Defining your career goals
  • Funding your startup
  • Getting licenses, permits, and insurance
  • Setting prices
  • Finding work through agencies
  • Getting referrals
  • Working with time and project management tools
  • Increasing your rates
Subjects:
Business Productivity Project Management Business Skills Freelancing
Author:
Tom Geller

Sharpening your market focus

In marketing, one of the worst statements you can make about a product is that it does everything. People respond best to specific proposals. Then they can just say, "Yes, I need that," or "No, I don't." They don't have to think too hard about it. So, you'll have to be specific about what you do and who your market is. There's a worksheet in your Exercise Files called Market-Focus to help you identify what your ideal target markets will be. You can think of your business as being in a space with three axes. They are, the skill you're selling, the industry you'll target, and the type of customer you'll sell to.

If you make these definitions too narrow, you'll end up describing too small a market, perhaps only one potential client. But if you make them too broad, you won't be able to focus your efforts. It will take some time in the market to get it right. But don't worry, that will come. We'll start with skill. At first, I recommend that you go with the things that you're good at, have experience in, and enjoy doing. So, take me. I'm a writer. When I got started I realized that I was good at explaining things, I had experienced writing non-fiction, and I enjoyed delivering information directly.

So I started with educational writing. A lot like the course I'm delivering right now. I didn't try to sell myself as a writer of political speeches or TV comedies. Although those are perfectly good ways to make a living, they just didn't match my skills. It's sort of like selling on eBay. If you look at the top sellers, you'll see that they specialize in fairly small areas. They get good at those specific areas, and just as important, they get known as the experts in those areas, and that's what you want.

That brings us to the second axis, the industry you'll become a part of. As before, you'll look at a few criteria. First, what industry do you know something about? Is there one where you're known where your name already has value? And is there enough work for people of your skill in this industry? The final axis is your audience. That is, the kind of customer you'll sell to. Some freelancers sell directly to the people who will ultimately benefit from their services, what are called consumers or end-users.

But a lot of business comes from selling to organizations who in turn deliver benefits to their end-users. For those markets, one criterion I pay a lot of attention to is customer size measured in the number of employees. That will drastically affect how you work. For example, if you're dealing with a three-person company, you'll probably work directly with the owner. But for a major corporation you might have to go through several layers of administration. Also important is the stage of your target company; whether it's a start-up or an established corporation, and the sort of involvement the company typically expects.

Some will be happy with just one off project work, while others might expect a monthly commitment. Which is better? It's up to you and your work style. By the way, consumers also have stages. The way you position yourself will depend on what the market actually needs, and you'll continue to discover that while you freelance. So, keep revisiting your worksheet as you go. If you're not getting enough work or you're not getting the kind of work you want, make adjustments as needed.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Freelancing Fundamentals.


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Q: This course was updated on 3/20/2013. What changed?
A: We added a bonus chapter that covers common questions freelancers have when entering the field, such as "How do I use Craigslist or other job boards to grow my freelance business?" and "How do I find clients?"
 
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