Branding and Positioning

Most freelancers are generalists. They’ll work with anyone, and don’t typically serve any particular niche.

We think you should put a lot of thought into your branding and the kind of clients you choose to work with. In this section, we’ll help you determine who you are, what you offer, and who you work with.

Our Views On Branding & Positioning:

  • You should pick a niche and stick with it. Find out why.
  • Productized consulting helps you align your services with the exact needs of your clients. Find out how.
  • You never should abandon your principles. Find out why.

Whether through 4+ years of in-depth articles, premium courses, the conferences and events I host, or my podcast, my #1 goal is to help you become a more successful freelancer.

Brennan Dunn

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Overcoming The Fear Of “Choosing A Niche”

When you go from being a generalist — that is, a provider of some commodity service, like web design — to being a specialist, who solves a specific type of problem for a specific kind of client, three things almost always happen:

  1. You’re able to charge more.
  2. Your clients give you more creative latitude and freedom, and a lot more respect.
  3. It’s easier to close deals.

It all sounds great, right?

But hold on a second… “choosing a niche” is difficult. And it can be downright scary. For most of us, it will require stepping out of the comfort zone of anything goes, as long as I can do the work.

It requires a laser-focused approach to the way you describe yourself to others, write your website, set up your marketing, write your proposals, and so on. You end up no longer being able to simply hang up your shingle stating “Writer for sale, only $50 an hour” — instead, you need to come up with a value proposition that speaks to and solves a real need.

4 Mistakes Freelancers Make When Selling Themselves

You’ve probably heard that you should always be selling. It doesn’t matter if you’re sporting a suit and tie at a conference pre-party or chatting business with a fellow parent at a kid’s birthday party: if the person you’re talking with could end up either hiring you or referring you to others, you better sell yourself to them.

And this is good advice. You should be “selling” yourself. Human relationships are forged on people selling themselves to others. (I had to sell myself to my college’s admissions office. I had to sell myself to every boss, client, and customer I ever worked with. I had to sell myself as a potential boyfriend, and later husband, to my wife).

But I think this advice can often lead people to think that selling is a win-or-lose game. That your job is to create a positive impression as quickly as possible, make your pitch before whoever you’re talking to becomes disinterested, and go in for the kill — I mean, the sale.

Should You Niche Yourself?

Should you abandon the broad highway of generalized freelancing and take the road less traveled?

Should you restrict yourself to working with a particular type of client, who has a particular need?

Will “finding your niche” set you up to be in high demand and able to charge premium rates?

What You MUST Do Differently As A High-Value Consultant

I want to talk about engagements today.

Specifically, I want to talk about what our role as a high-value consultant is when working on client projects, and what makes the details of high-value engagements different from the typical, run-of-the-mill freelancing gig.

One of the questions I’m asked the most is, “What’s the difference between a freelancer and a consultant?” I’ve never really had a good answer for this. I mean, I knew that consultants played a more active role in the business behind the project. I always thought of the distinction a bit like the difference between a chef and a cook; the former directs, combines, and creates, while the latter just follows recipes.

How Do You Get High-Value Clients?

In this article, I will attempt to answer the #1 question I get: where do I find high-value clients?

By “high-value client”, I mean somebody who hires you as a consultant in the best sense of the word. These are clients that value your input and expertise, and regard you as much more than just a hired gun.

They also pay you really well, because they aren’t buying a commodity service that can be sold by the lowest bidder (e.g. someone charging $8 an hour on oDesk).

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