…an on-going discussion about starting and building a successful freelance WordPress consulting business, even if you are an Introvert…
Last month we discussed finding clients for your Freelance business. The April Deep Dive Discussion focused on how to use your site to position you as a premium WordPress consultant and how to use the Discovery process to write a winning WordPress proposal, even if you are an introverted Freelancer.
As I started preparing for the April Deep Dive Discussion, I realized that we should have started our Freelancer series with a more in-depth discussion about how to use your site to position you as a premium WordPress Consultant. For those of us of the introverted persuasion, our site is the best tool we have to draw clients to us, rather that having to find ways to go out and find them.
When Nick and I presented, “What Does it Take to Build a Successful Freelance WordPress Business” this past February, we thought of it as a one-off, high-level discussion about the basics of running a WordPress-based Freelance practice. The March Deep Dive Discussion, The Introverted Freelancer’s Guide to Finding Clients, touched on the importance of knowing and being able to consistently articulate your Unique Value Proposition.
A review of using your UVP to set the tone of your site
Again, in retrospect, we should have spent a little more time on why your unique value proposition needs to be represented on your site, not only on your home page but in the content you produce for your blogs, ‘Cornerstone’ pages, other marketing material like email autoresponders and newsletters.
We understand that it can seem rather daunting to start your own freelance WordPress consulting business. Our goal is to examine how to build a healthy freelancer practice that supports you and delights your clients. So, before we look at crafting a good Discovery process from which to build winning freelance proposals, let’s review some basic steps.
Step 1. What message is your freelance business website sending to visitors?
The Introverted Freelancer needs a site that lets clients know who you are…and what you are uniquely qualified to do for them. If your site isn’t communicating the right message to the right people (your target clients) it could be that your site the very thing that is sabotaging your Freelance Practice.
Your site should describe how your unique service or special skill-set is solved your client’s problem or improves their situation. Your site lets them know that you are the answer they have been looking for!
Analyze your special skill set, research the type of client that needs that skill set, and rework your site to appeal to that particular demographic. If you haven’t reviewed and rewritten your home page and other marketing material yet, use the outline below to do so. Make sure that your messaging is consistent and positions you as a premium WordPress Consultant.
What is your Personal “Super Power”
- The things that come to you easily, you may tend to undervalue
- But in reality that innate skill or passion is your personal superpower
- It is the differentiator that makes a client want YOU instead of another Freelancer
- The business management name for your personal “Super Power” is your “Value Proposition”
- It describes your target client, the problem you solve, and why you’re uniquely a better choice than other freelancers.
Your Personal Value Proposition
- Your value proposition is your personal positioning statement that explains:
- what benefits you provide
- for who
- and how you do it uniquely well.
Your Super Power is at the core of your freelance practice’s Value Proposition
- What problems do you understand uniquely well?
- What unique solution can you deliver?
- What kind of personal super power can you bring to solve a client’s problem?
Valuing and communicating your personal “Super Power”
- Your personal talents and abilities make you a thought leader in your part of the WordPress Ecosystem.
- Being an introvert does not mean lacking confidence in our skill set
- It’s just hard for us to talk about ourselves
How to define the Value Proposition for your freelance business
Build your professional value proposition by answering the following questions:
- Why would a client choose you?
- Who am I best suited to help?
- Why would clients choose me over another Freelancer in my field?
- What business problem or issue am I uniquely qualified to solve?
- How do I proceed? (Your action steps to solve a problem)
- Which area should I focus on, based on my current skill set?
- What results can I deliver?
- For what improvement?
Introverted or not, every Freelancer needs to know and be able to articulate their Unique Value Proposition. Develop a simple, concise sentence that states your unique value proposition as it relates to your current skills. Practice it on friends, family, or your faithful pet. This is sometimes called an elevator pitch — you should be able to give it to a stranger between one floor and another. Review it once or twice a year to keep it current as your skill set and client base evolves.
How will you know when you have got the UVP messaging right?
- Who are your currently attracting…
- Who do you want to attract…
When you start consistently attracting your ideal client — you will know that you are on message and it is resonated with your target clients.
Note: your UVP will evolve as you grow your skills and experience
Step 2. Invest the time to define and understand your target client’s needs
Right-brained or left brained, creative or analytical, the Introverted Freelancer needs to suss out what problem your client is asking you to solve. We’ll talk about how to define the client’s problem and convert that problem statement into a line item in the proposal that defines how you will meet the clients’ needs, solve their problem and help improve their bottom line.
- How well do you know your target audience
- What are the problems they need you to solve
If you have decided that because of your background, unique skill or interest your ideal target market are Trades practitioners, become an expert resource for that market. Do market research, write about it on your blogs and share it with your email list. There are thousands of niche markets to specialize in. Find something that speaks to your heart and gets great at it.
Step 3. Install and use a ‘Website Project Inquiry” form on your site
It doesn’t matter which Contact form plugin you choose — but get one up this week and start using it. The questions you ask will depend on your specialty, Designers and Developers need different information to rate the applicant’s suitability for your Freelance Practice. Each of the development disciplines, SEO, Analytics, security, maintenance, etc. will require a different set of questions. Installing and using a client intake form will be one of the most effective processes you can initiate to improve your client management experience. By stating your price range you avoid both client sticker shock when they get your project proposal, and avoid the dreaded, time wasting tire-kickers.
In full disclosure, at the suggestion of a respected colleague, Carrie Dils, Nick and I signed up for the WP Elevation Blueprint Course in January. For me, this course has been the equivalent of an on-line intervention. The Blueprint Course work has helped me develop a new mindset, and convinced me to set a higher value on my time and talent.
My major “Ah-Ha!” has been that it is not my job to help people with no budget to build or strategy as to how they will use their WordPress site. Along with the other WP Elevators, Nick and I are pivoting to re-position our WordPress Consulting Business. I will admit, until now, it is very, very hard for me to tell a client no. However, I’ve been practicing in the mirror, and with my accountability partner, and the good news is that it’s getting easier. I am no longer approaching some of my more needy WordPress clients as my own secular ‘Mission Field.’ I hate to sound like the WordPress version of “Stuart Smalley” — but the way to build a better, more appreciative client base, that values your skill set, is to value yourself. The Troy Dean BluePrint Course has taught me that Customer Management is not so much about a system — it is more about managing my own attitude and approach to that client.
In part two, I will discuss why you must insist on a Discovery process before you can submit a bid for any project and how to use your client’s Discovery answers as the basis of your proposal.
We are working on adding new resources to the Hands-On WordPress Free library every week, so check in often. For a free copy of the freelance resources and places to find freelance projects go to https://handsonwp.com/join-library/
GET CONNECTED — Join and contribute to the Austin WordPress Tribe at http://www.meetup.com/austinwordpress. We look forward to seeing you at a WPATX meetup soon.