When you’re a freelance creative, adding value depends on your knowledge, skills, and talent alone. It’s easy to think that creative professionals should brand themselves.
Before you choose that route, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you want to be the only resource for customers?
- Do you want to one day retire and earn passive income?
- Do you want your small business to grow?
In short, do you really want to create a personal branding prison for yourself?
Some people enjoy being The Man or The Woman. They love the glory and fame of being a professional in demand. That’s perfectly fine, if the limitations and restrictions that result are acceptable consequences of self-branding.
But let’s say you do want to leave the doors open for the future. Let’s say that you’re interested in having a way out of your business that doesn’t involve shutting down the shop for good.
Let’s say the only asset to your business is your brain – what happens then?
Think Product, Not Service
Many creative professionals sell their services. They put all the focus on themselves, the very act of creation. That’s a mistake. It seals the perception that no one else can do what you can – and restricts the growth of your business.
The best answer is to start transferring the focus away from you, the professional. Treat your services like products. Reduce the importance of you, the person accomplishing the task.
Start building the perception that the client receives something tangible when working with you. It doesn’t matter if the client can hold or touch what you created. The client did indeed receive something from you, even if it’s just a feeling that lingers.
You are not your product. You are not your service. The client isn’t walking away with a slice of your brain.
If you want to increase value in your business, stop heaping importance on your own shoulders. Start treating the result as more important than the act of creation.
When you operate a business, you work hard on establishing a good, solid reputation. That’s what keeps clients coming back to you, right?
Tap into the incredible asset available to you: Established trust.
People already know that you provide something magnificent. They believe in you. They know you can give them what you want. They trust you.
When you extend your own trust and faith to another person, bringing them closer to your business, you transfer some of your customer’s trust to that person. Your clients have faith in you – they’ll have faith in your judgment and be more willing to accept someone else as your equal.
Yes, you’re expanding your business. You’re growing. You’re no longer alone and your partner will work with you to maintain your established brand.
Guess what? You can take a vacation. You can step away. You can bring on more people and create a larger team. You can expand and branch into new services. You can retire. You have backup, a Plan B and an escape.
You achieve freedom.
About the Author: For more advice on how to stop being a creative professional and start being an entrepreneur, drop in at James’ blog, Men with Pens. Better yet, take a vacation from traveling and get the Men with Pens feed.