🎙 Seth Godin: Freelancers

Akimbo Podcast #12, 2. Mai 2018

Notizen und Zitate

„We’re not that good at managing our careers, and we’re even worse at managing our day – when we are a freelancer.”

Freelancer ≠ Entrepreneur

„Rule No. 1: If you’re gonna be a freelancer, be a freelancer. Own it. Adore it. Adopt it. Be proud of the fact that when someone hires you, they’re hiring YOU. That doesn’t mean you can’t find leverage, doesn’t mean you can’t find tools, doesn’t even mean you can’t find help to help you do what you do. But your core, the work you stand for… that’s gonna get done by you.”

„Tools are things you’re gonna have to invest in. Tools are things you’re gonna have to build. And skills? You’ll never be done improving your skills.”

„The question is: Have you developed your skills? Not just the skills that seem to be related to your craft […]. But the emotional skills. The emotional labour. The ability to calm down a panicked client. The ability to work your way through a jam without freaking out.”

„Begin by picking an industry where you are welcome.” „An industry that is glad to see you arrive.“

Recap: „If you just did these few things you’d be busy preparing for a long time and you’d be profitable for even longer.”

  1. Choosing an industry that is glad to see you arrive.
  2. Having the tools and the skills, hard-earned and over-invested.
  3. Focussing on the smallest viable audience
  4. Commit to the discipline of prospecting

„The smallest viable audience… The smallest group of people that will talk about you, that will wait in line when you are busy.”

„The next one is the discipline of prospecting. Many people who become freelancers would like to have a job without a boss. They want an endless stream of decent projects, fairly well paid, and they want to do their work. The problem with this: If you’re spending all your time doing your work, you’re not spending any time doing your business. And your business is the act of getting more work.”

„Commit to the discipline of prospecting. Allocate a certain amount of time every single day to honing your skills, to finding new tools, to spreading the word, to earning the privilege of being seen as the person who does what you do.”

„So we have this opportunity – if we want to invest in it – to get beyond being one of many, someone who does a commodity job at a fair price and shift to becoming a category of one. There is a price to it. The price begins by doing exceptional work. But not just exceptional work: Quirky work. Unique work. Doing work that looks like you, that sounds like you, that feels like you. Doing work that most people don’t like. This is important.”

Doing work for free

„Over and over again the world is going to ask you to do work for free.”

„My take on this goes like this: That thing you sell, you should sell it. You should find something else that you do for free, something else that you pay to the community. Something else you do to enrich the conversation. Something else that you do to get people to see you, to understand you so they’re really clear that they want you, that you are a part of a category of one.”

If someone wants me to get on a plane and give a speech… that’s expensive. If someone wants to read my blog… that’s free. I don’t sell blog posts to anybody, because my blog is free. But I don’t give away speeches to anybody except non-profits, because my speeches are expensive.

„By differentiating what’s free, you can earn trust and attention from people who are seeking to understand you. But by being really clear about what’s for sale, you can establish value. This will mean that some people will walk away, that many people will say: ‚Well, if I can’t get if from you for free, I’ll leave.‘ And this places the requirement on you to have work that is so good that some people would miss it if it wasn’t free, that some people will pay for it anyway.”

„What you have to figure out how to do is build relationships and practices and skills that nobody else can give away for free – because you are a category of one.”

Being comfortable advocating for yourself

„Part of what you singed up for when you became a freelancer is that you don’t have a sales rep. You are the sales rep. And as a sales rep you need to be comfortable to look somebody in the eye and with respect say: No. Sorry, no, we can’t do this for free. I hear you, I read your RFP, but I don’t answer RFPs. If you want me, my category of one, what I do… this is what it costs. Call me if you need me.”

„The ability to own our work, to have pride in what we’re selling is essential if you want better clients. Because your better clients, the people you want to serve… They want to work with a freelancer who understands her value. They want to work with a freelancer who is really clear that she’s a professional and she has value to add.”

How does a freelancer scale? Get better clients. Earn them.

None of this is easy. And if you had a great boss, he or she would understand that none of this is easy. But they’d end up encouraging you to keep doing it. In fact demanding that you keep doing it. Being smart about how good you are, about who you’re doing it for, about how you charge.“

Fragen im Anschluss

Q: I find it difficult to think on my feet. How can I get better?

A: Das Problem ist: Wir vergleichen uns mit Menschen, die super darin sind – weil sie das schon ihr ganzes Leben lang geübt haben. Deshalb glauben wir, dass das der Standard ist. Und dass, wenn wir nicht so gut sind, es dann gar nicht erst versuchen sollten. „And I think that’s a mistake.” Weil wir alle immer wieder „thinking on our feet” praktizieren (z.B. wenn der Kellner kommt). „We need to figure out how to scale that. And the way you scale it is by practicing it. And the way you practice it is by being bad at it.”

Wayne Gretzky „practiced being bad until he was good.”

Q: Should a course be live or recorded? What is the future of e-learning?

A: „I thought a lot about this because I make courses, and I am a teacher. Here is what I believe: I believe that it is possible to learn a lot from pre-recorded video – if you are enrolled and committed. How can that happen? One way it can happen is because there is a prize at the end, a certificate, a test – and that’s the old model of school. So it feels to me like a lot of the old model of school needs to move from super expensive, inefficient live lectures, where people aren’t allowed to ask questions, to pre-recorded amazing lectures followed by intensive sessions where you can ask a question. Way more efficient. You’ll learn just as much because there’s a prize at the end.“

„But online learning… online learning where there is no test, online learning where there’s no certificate… How do we make that work? Well, I’m proud of the Udemy courses I’ve done and if that works for you, I hope you’ll consider taking one. But it turns out that peer connection, discussion boards, live coaches, things gating over time… that, that live-ness, it works. The typical online course has a 96% drop-out rate. The altMBA has a 2% drop-out rate. And the reason it has a 2% drop-out rate is because we are there with you in real time. It’s live.”

„So I think the future of education is bifurcating. There is going to be education worth paying for that’s got that live urgency. And then there’s going to be education that’s based on digital. And as we’ve seen from music and from videos and from books: When things go digital, they get cheaper. And that’s a good thing, because it will be widely accepted. So we’re gonna have both: We’re gonna have the urgency of now, which will be worth paying for, and we’re gonna have the pre-recorded knowledge, which I hope will get to ever more people.“