Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

Understanding your value

How mature people can succeed in a freelance world

Imagine having the opportunity to speak with 300 bright, wise, and experienced individuals in preparation for writing a book.

I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity between 2016 and 2018, just prior to launching The Experience Equation.

The book is all about the future of work, and how mature people can plan their future. For more information on creating a FUTURE PLAN, please see my article — YOUR FUTURE PLAN (https://hunterleonard.medium.com/your-future-plan-573ca9fc9121)

A key concept I talk about in that book is VALUE.

It becomes incredibly important if you are considering moving from full time employment into a more portfolio career or freelance/consulting type lifestyle. Or even if you’re starting your own business.

The reason being it is the lynchpin to your success.

You have to understand, create and deliver value in order to be successful as a freelancer.

But if you’ve worked as an employee most of your life, you won’t be as used to discussing value so much, nor indeed having to find out what your value is.

Your salary is usually the simple ‘measure’ of your value. It is what you are paid to turn up and do your job. Of course there are other intangible measures such as thank you’s, and bonuses, and other things.

But when you start looking at freelancing or running a business, VALUE becomes one if not the most important thing defining your success.

Here are some key questions mature people ask me regularly.

How do I find out what I’m worth?

It is interesting that in this age of ageism and discrimination against mature age employees, often these individuals feel less valued, and perhaps even that they have no value. This is of course, not true.

You can find out your worth in many ways. There are often industry benchmarking done by recruitment companies where you can search for the salary and hourly rates being paid to your type of occupation. You can check portals like EXPERT360 and see what other people like you are charging. You can survey some potential customers and find out how they value your skills.

This is of course just a starting point.

Value can be a complicated subject. It could be what people will pay. It could be how you package your services up.

Either way, you need to understand the answer to this question and research it for yourself.

How do I attract enough customers to replace my income?

Whilst this is a natural question to ask from someone coming out of employment and trying to work out if freelancing is for them.

But it's the wrong question.

The right question is What do I need to earn? or What is the potential for a freelancer with my skills.

As a freelancer or consultant, you might indeed only work half the number of hours you do as an employee — charge 2 to 3 times what your salary hourly rate was, and make more money than your previous income.

But you’ll also do a lot of ‘unpaid’ work doing research, finding customers, doing your invoicing, business admin, marketing, and many more tasks that you may never have done as an employee.

And making money isn’t just about hourly rates. It might be that you have the knowledge to create an online course teaching others about something you know how to do. This course could become a product that you sell that has nothing to do with your hourly rate.

You might write a book. You might create products that go well with your services.

And for each one of these income streams, you’ll have to understand what their value is, and to whom they are most valuable.

I guess I’ve probably now made it clear that understanding the concept of value is going to be important to your success.

Understanding value, creating value and delivering value could well be a definition of marketing, or business, or life.

And it is something where you will need to have some expertise.

Wishing you well on your journey.

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Hunter Leonard

Hunter Leonard

Passionate about writing, business, cooking, photography, music. Aiming to be a renaissance guy.