“and you’re in luck, since I’m just about anyone.”
It’s time to start avoiding the Fiverr trap.
You can fill your day as a freelancer taking easily accessible work from clients who simply want you to meet spec.
Or you can build a career as a freelancer by getting better clients.
Websites that offer lowest common denominator jobs for freelancers (like Fiverr, Uber, ZocDoc, Mechanical Turk etc.) are focused on the generic. They intentionally blur the identities of the people doing the work–a simple star rating, a measure of reliability, that’s all.
These are easy jobs to get. If you’re the cheapest, you’ll be busy all day.
But is being cheap and busy the point?
Because that’s a race to the bottom. And the problem is that you might win that race. You’re not generic, so why act that way?
The alternative is to be distinct. To be uniquely you. To bring a point of view to the work, one that is worth seeking out, paying for and remarking on.
It is the difference between, “what do you need me to do?” and “I can offer you this.” It is the difference between being handy and being indispensable.
Why is this so difficult? Two reasons:
The first problem is that the typical client doesn’t want that. The typical client wants cheap and reliable. And you’re not going to persuade the typical client to change his or her mind. Which means that if you’re going to do your best work, you’ll need to send the typical client to someone else.
The second problem is that it takes guts to be specific. To stand for something. To turn down mediocre work for clients that will settle for mediocre. It takes guts to have a point of view, a protocol, and a skill set. It takes guts to make a stand.
Your day is priceless. You only get it once. And then another chance tomorrow. Your career is what you invest in it, and if you spend your days building a career that consists of doing reliable work by being the lowest bidder, you’ve bought yourself a job that’s hardly rewarding or steady.
The alternative, the one you deserve, is to find better clients. Not to resent your ordinary clients, but to focus your energy and your passion earning better ones.
To become the sort of freelancer who can proudly say that you deserve it. Because your clients deserve your best work.
I hope you’ll consider joining our new workshop. It takes guts and support to make these choices, and it helps to find the others on a similar journey. That’s what we do–assemble and connect and inspire the sort of people you want next to you as you go on this journey.
For more than thirty years, I’ve been trying to turn on lights, inspire people and teach them how to level up. This blog has been appearing daily for more than a decade. One day, if we meet, I hope you’ll share with me your favorite posts. Even better, I’d like to hear about how a book or course helped you interact with the world differently and make a difference.