When it comes to software developers who want to work independently, you have a few choices – hammer out a software product or service and start hawking it, start contracting, or try their hands at freelancing.
Those that wander in the forest of freelancing quickly find it difficult to find good paying clients. You will be hired by the wrong clients. You will get stiffed. If you finally start to learn, you will finally start to make a living.
One of the hardest parts of freelancing is simply convincing clients to hire them. And when it comes to convincing clients to hire them, most freelancers almost always focus heavily on things like: price, deadlines, and quality of work, but not tangible results.
In some cases, focusing on tangible results is the best way to go.
Since starting my business, I’ve been getting hit up by SEO firms, and potential competitors (before I put up my website). Although it was a hassle, I did take a moment to listen (or read) their pitches. They fell into two categories:
- We have developers/project managers at $X/hr.; and
- I’m so-and-so and I can solve your
problem. (We can talk about price when I have convinced you that you have a problem).
I deleted the e-mails hawking cheap overseas labor, but I took a moment to listen to the sales people hawking their services. In many cases, they were simply wrong and in a few cases, they simply flat out lied (“I spoke with you about 6 months back about X”). Not a good start.
Why do I mention this? Because these two categories are bookends on the spectrum of selling. On one side, the outsourcing services use cheap labor to blast bulk e-mails touting that they are affordable. On the other end of the spectrum, hucksters only talk about problems and often try to use an extra dash of sales pressure.
I would submit you need to be in the middle, and with a focus on tangible results, something omitted by both camps.
I mean, think about it. Which would you hire:
- The cheapest person?
- A freelancer who meets deadlines, is affordable, and does good work?
- A freelancer that shows you they can get the job done, has a proven track record in increasing sales, unique web views, etc., Tangible results are anything you can put a number on. They can be numbers, percentages, or results – such as the increase in sales, number of unique visitors, number of subscribers.
These numbers can be your ticket to more work, and get give you room to increase your rates.
Results Based Charging
Most freelancers charge hourly, or charge per project. But there is a very small group that charges based on their history of results that they’ve gotten for their clients – when they find the right clients.
These clients don’t care out managing outsourced employees, they care about their budget and the results (getting their problems fixed).