From Freelancer to Entrepreneur. The shift in mindset.
For the last nine months, I am a full-time freelancer on Upwork. I work as a Software Engineer and Web App Developer. I love freelancing, but I was missing something. I was always striving to build a business, but for the last several months, I could not see a clear way how to do it.
I was missing something important. And it is was a mindset that differs a freelancer and entrepreneur. Recently I got a massive shift in perspective about entrepreneurship, which brought much clarity to grow business.
I want to share with you my journey in freelancing and how it was changing my mindset along the way.
Begging of the Freelance career
After I got some expirience with Software Development, I was always looking for ways how to sell my skills. When I got my first client from Upwork, I was the happiest guy in the world.
I was working and gaining expirience in the development. I was taking more and more complex tasks.
Building a business always was the thing I am interested in. But nine months in, I could not see some significant change or gaining an understanding of what to do.
My ambitions are to build an Agency for developing SaaS solutions. And I struggled the most with finding clients and hiring developers. All my clients were from Upwork.
Finding client outside of Upwork seemed very complicated :)
And I didn’t want to hire developers until I manage to make a predictable way of getting clients. Upwork seems unsustainable for me.
In retrospect, I see that I had pretty much all the necessary resources for growing a business. I was just doing something constantly for growing the business, but I could not see results.
I needed to focus more on marketing and selling my skills. Hiring a developer could help me out. It could free up my time, and I would focus more on growing the business.
But I had some limiting beliefs on hiring people.
I always strived to deliver the best result for my client. And I thought that the most value I give is by doing everything by my hands.
As a Web Application Developer, I am good at developing apps. But when a client comes, he needs a combination of Web Development and Web Design. So I always thought that I need to learn a UX/UI design to provide a high level of service to my client.
It was challenging to keep up with development tech and design skills. It stretches me too thin. And it was often the cause of anxiety. I thought that I need to master a certain skill, but I couldn’t make time to learning everything.
The essence of business I heard of, but couldn’t Understand
The host Dane Maxwell was coaching the woman who was in a similar situation. She enjoyed being a practitioner and had exceptional skills, but she was struggling to sell her skills.
And as for advice, Dane was telling the concept of the business. He said that business consists of three parts: CLIENT → PROCESS → RESULT.
There is a CLIENT who has some pain and needs a RESULT. The business works by providing a RESULT to a CLIENT using the PROCESS.
He emphasized that technicians (like I am) over-focus on the PROCESS. We talk to CLIENTS mainly about the PROCESS. We are trying to sell to CLIENTS on our superior PROCESS, while the CLIENT is only interested in a RESULT. If it were possible to get what he needs without me and my PROCESS, he would be more than happy!
I heard about this concept before, but haven’t paid any attention to this. This time Dane made me interested. The next couple of days, it was still sitting in my head.
About a day after I listened to the podcast, I had a situation that shifted my mindset.
The client offered me to build quite a big project that required a wide range of skills. I had only 70% of the needed skills. But several weeks before the start of the project allowed me to learn the rest of the skills.
This 30% of the skills were quite in a different niche then I worked before, but I was sure in my abilities to learn this.
Then something hit me to ask this question: “What is the RESULT my CLIENT wants? Am I the person who will provide the best RESULT for him?”
After answering these questions, I got insight!
My client wanted:
- Confidence in delivery of the project on budget and deadline
- Fast delivery
- Stable solution
- Communication and keeping in touch
- Thought Partnership
And if I would be in charge of everything by myself, I won’t meet his wants.
I got that doing everything by myself won’t deliver his desired RESULT.
And what is most important I got that I can deliver a Better RESULT to my client by delegating the PROCESS to other people.
By striving to deliver more value, It forced me to stop focusing on PROCESS and start thinking more on how to provide RESULT.
And when I was over-focusing on the process, I wasn’t paying enough attention to my CLIENT needs. CLIENT cares less about the PROCESS, and he cares only about the RESULT.
When I stopped over-focusing on the PROCESS, I obtained the flexibility of how I can deliver the RESULT for a client. There lots of ways how to make the desired RESULT. And I have the freedom to pick the one I love the most.
It helped me to found another way how I can use my expertise to help my CLIENT. My skills in development and understanding of the PROCESS make it easy for me to create a Project Plan and hire a Team of Developers.
This time I found myself less working on the process and more on how to use the process to give to my client what he needs.
This shift in mindset gave me lots of opportunities. And I was no longer chained only to my level of expertise and skills :)
I am still working as a freelancer, but now I have a clear vision of what I need to do. I am taking action to grow the business. I am now not so afraid of hiring. And it becomes easier for me to understand what my clients need.
We’ll see where this new mindset will take me!
Thanks for reading! :)
I am Vova Pilipchatin, a freelance Software Engineer and Web Developer.
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