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You’re a service provider–you sell time, you bill hourly, and your customers seek a service. To build a profitable business, you need to discover your “Unique Value Proposition.”
A unique value proposition is what makes your service special. It’s how you are different from the competition. For example, a Rubyist who is a pro at helping SaaS companies write awesome onboarding code could demand a premium over a generic Rubyist. Someone who has identified their Unique Value Proposition and is able to showcase/sell it to potential clients WILL make dramatically more money.
Say you’ve worked with a lawyer in the past. You now offer a niche design service to law firms. Throw up a landing page that uses words like “clients” and whatever other language lawyers like to use. Make yourself a lower risk hire for a lawyer who wants a site redone. 99% of lawyers will prefer to hire the “web designer who specializes in helping lawyers get new clients off the Internet” versus a “web designer.”
You could also offer free seminars/webinars for lawyers, showcase your expertise and understanding of their domain, and build up a newsletter and contact pool that establishes yourself as THE web designer for lawyers.
Establishing yourself as the thoughtlead/expert on a niche and you’ll receive more leads thus a higher rate.
Side note: check out Brennan’s freelancers podcast for a bunch of tasty nuggest of wisdom.
You can email customers directly and ask them the same questions. Poke at their answer. Don’t argue but try to dig more into their response. Always ask “Why?” “Why do you want me to provide that service?” “What is that service worth to you?” If you have a large amount of customers (100+), you might set up a Wufoo.com or Popsurvey.com form to collect the data. However, surveys are very impersonal and yield fewer results and less quality input.
And it’s not just about business, to “sell” a project you must realize your personal strengths.
“As a freelancer, it’s important to understand your personality and know how and what makes people like you as a person. Designers are typically a little more outgoing versus a developer, who might rather be behind the scenes. But shy people, you must sell, too. So take a look in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me. –Brad of LiftUX.com
You’ve spoken to the majority of your past leads and existing clients. What did they tell you? What things stood out? Quiet your inner ego, and disconnect yourself from the emotion of being judged.
Judging your work and your process is hard. This is why many people seek the help of a mentor or business coach. Side note: Kicktastic offers many insightful videos about business, but watch this interview with your favorite person in the world–me.
Follow these steps and begin your own journey toward discovering your Unique Value Proposition.