For years I’ve been building my business originally as a freelancer working as a hired gun and gradually moving towards a business owner. Often the lines are blurred on the difference between the two but what I will say is there are distinct differences.
As a freelancer you are always out there making connections to prospective clients, competitively bidding against god knows who and aggressively fighting to win work.
Personal investment in time, equipment, insurance and most of all learning is negotiated against low bidders that often haven’t any actual qualifications most frequently to a hiring agent whose objective is the bottom line.
At the start, I jumped at any opportunity that I could to learn my crafts and most often worked for zero pay. The investment into my future by obtaining real-world experience far exceeded the couple shekels my no budget/ low budget clientele could not afford.
I learned a lot, often the hard way. Not only did I make mistakes I learned how to fix them. Desperately needing to make the best of what equipment and knowledge I had I saw a positive trajectory as the quality of my work product increased.
Countless hours were spent reading forums, blogs, books and articles learning the craft while others were having fun. Early mornings my sleep was disrupted as solutions to problems arrived in my lucid dreams.
Money flew out the door at a rapid rate like the deforestation of the Amazon. An unsustainable business model as I was always chasing the dragon obtaining the best equipment to feel eligible to charge accordingly. To this day I’m writing checks monthly to cover the investment costs of these essential tools.
The phone continues to ring with some of my earlier clients wanting me to jump onto their next project. Most of their projects are still low/ no budget as they have also been following the same shitbag business model.
And then one day I just stopped. I didn’t stop working, I stopped taking shitty projects. I raised my rates to where I felt they needed to be and developed some concrete rules.
My first epiphany came during some research on passive income streams. My business was based solely on freelance work that came and went like a Hurricane. Calming before the storm as all was quiet and then the shit would hit the fan. Low budgets, timing constraints, submission deadlines. What the fuck? Didn’t anyone have a freaking plan? Yes, they had a plan however most often it was their plan, their project and their product. And where did that leave me?
Anxious and stressed solving other people’s problems for low money.
So what did I do?
A complete restructuring. It began by breaking down my passions and qualifications. An assessment of which of those areas could yield the most traction for my business model. I began to evaluate my client’s businesses that seemed to continuously be also working for low to no money and I began to see the pattern.
Clients that were working in markets that didn’t have a consumer value ultimately were taking on projects of negative equity. As we would develop marketing material and products without an actual return on the clients or even my client’s client Investment, the adage “you can’t get blood from a stone” reared its ugly head.
As I surveyed the playing field I began to see the gap. An area in my market that had a void I was certain I could fill. Immediately I revised my rate card and mentally fired my underperforming clients as I’d finish their projects as expeditiously as possible fully knowing it was the last time I’d work for them. I needed to stop the bleeding quickly as I felt by continuing down my current path I would reach the bottom.
Instead of working on low and no money projects to obtain more experience and exposure I again decided to reinvest into my best investment…. Me.
Redefining my core business model was simpler than you would think. Fire shitty underperforming clients frees you of stress and anxiety. Your mind can suddenly function clearly as you refine your model. First and foremost what did I feel I needed. Honestly, it wasn’t more money it was a desire to obtain a feeling of accomplishment.
My restructuring has product prototypes sitting on my desk awaiting product launch. I’ve spent my time not working for shitty clients but writing my first book soon to be printed, becoming a writer on Medium, expanding my artworks and planning for some exhibitions in the coming months. I’m in preproduction for a feature-length documentary and developing content for a startup company.
My equipment is all still in use almost daily however I’ve repurposed the business model into profitable markets that I’m passionate about. I’m not spending any more time or effort working to get ahead, I just dumped my bad investments.
As I’ve weeded out the deadwood, my focus is clearer than ever and my path is clear. New opportunities arrive daily with limited efforts as I’m no longer burdened by the stress and anxiety of crappy freelance gigs.
My profit margins have increased and my stress is none existent. Any expenses going out the door are for me. My products, my projects, and my personal development.
I don’t want you to think this is a get rich scheme nor a crappy fad diet. I firmly don’t believe in either.
This is a perfect way to find your lane and pick up some speed. Will I succeed? Absofuckinglutely… I already have. And what’s on the horizon? More positive upward growth. What I can tell you is as I’ve distanced myself from the underachievers I’ve grown exponentially.