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  • Transcriber: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Camille Martínez

  • I used to be really bad at earning money.

  • Early on, I was a junior financial planner,

  • and my job was to help people manage their wealth.

  • But my salary was so low that I started riding my bike to work

  • to save money on gas,

  • and I started a garden to save money on food.

  • Now I run a bookkeeping agency

  • that specifically serves creative businesses.

  • [TED: The Way We Work]

  • [Made possible with the support of Dropbox]

  • This might sound strange coming from a former financial planner,

  • but I'm not a fan of capitalism.

  • Almost everyone I work with and know and love is an artist, including me.

  • So I know, the way the system is set up,

  • freelancers and artists are too often way underpaid.

  • They often feel like focusing on money will corrupt their creativity,

  • or they think they're just not that good at making money anyway.

  • But the truth is, we can be good at it,

  • and in fact, we have to be,

  • because our freedom is at stake:

  • our freedom to create, to influence

  • and to use the power of money

  • to change the very exploitation that keeps artists broke to begin with.

  • I'm not struggling anymore,

  • and I've learned a lot since being a financial planner,

  • and I just wanted to share that knowledge.

  • So here's what I've learned and done.

  • One: what you do.

  • When it comes to your offer,

  • you have to be able to answer the following question:

  • Why would anyone hire you over your competition?

  • If you can't answer that question, neither can your potential clients,

  • which means you can't charge more for the thing that makes your work special.

  • Price becomes a differentiator, and bidding becomes a race to the bottom.

  • What sets you apart could be what you do, why you do it or how you do it:

  • a string quartet that arranges and plays hip-hop medleys

  • or a branding firm that has a unique way of marketing technology to Baby Boomers

  • or a prop and set designer

  • who's known for crafting beautiful papier-mâché miniatures.

  • Two: who you do it for.

  • After you determine what sets you apart,

  • position yourself for your ideal customer.

  • In order for this to be effective, you must narrow your focus.

  • Without focus, you try to be everything for everyone,

  • and you end up being nothing for nobody.

  • Then, use the kind of language that appeals to your target customer.

  • Create the kind of marketing materials or the kind of portfolio that attracts them.

  • Then be in the real-life and virtual places they are.

  • For example, if you're a videographer

  • and you want to work with mission-driven companies

  • that bring clean water to places where it's scarce,

  • create a video trailer that shows exactly how the power of film moves people to act.

  • Three: when it's time to talk money, understand the real value that you create.

  • You're not just being compensated for the time that you work on a project.

  • You're being compensated for everything you've learned

  • and everything you've done over the years

  • that make you excellent at what you do.

  • Ask yourself questions like:

  • How does your service impact a customer's bottom line?

  • How do you create efficiencies that generate cost savings?

  • How much money can your customer make

  • from a product that you helped them create?

  • For example, if you're a freelancer that helps YouTube creators

  • develop merch like T-shirts and dad hats,

  • mention how much money you've helped your clients generate.

  • Or, if you've created a diversity and inclusion training program

  • for corporations,

  • talk about how much time and money a company saves purchasing your product

  • instead of developing their own.

  • Four: make sure your price includes your taxes, your overhead and your profit.

  • When you're a freelancer, you are your own business,

  • so you're responsible for marketing,

  • accounting, taxes, legal, insurance,

  • overhead and profit.

  • If you price too low,

  • you've already negotiated against yourself.

  • And if a potential customer balks at your pricing,

  • don't apologize.

  • Just say that you're running a business

  • and you can't afford to do the work for less.

  • Instead of corrupting your creativity,

  • focusing on making more money could actually enhance it

  • by giving you the freedom of choice.

  • Because when you earn enough working with clients that value your work,

  • you don't have to compromise by working with clients who don't.

Transcriber: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Camille Martínez

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B1 customer planner freelancer marketing compensated freedom

The secret to being a successful freelancer | The Way We Work, a TED series

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/02
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