Freelance Pie (Work): Is There Enough for All of Us?

get more freelance workIf you help other freelancers, will there be less  pie—freelance jobs and clients—for you? Some freelancers think so. Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, calls this the scarcity mentality (or mindset). “People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me,” says Covey.

Why Eating All of Your Pie Makes Sense

Fear of losing out by helping other freelancers is understandable. It’s hard to get great freelance jobs and clients and build a successful freelance business. So you probably want to save all of your pie (freelance jobs and projects) for yourself.

And since the rewards of helping other freelancers aren’t immediate, you may not see much point in making time to do this now. There are too many other things that you have to do today to worry about what might happen tomorrow.

Why Collaboration Beats Competition

Covey also coined the idea of the abundance mindset: The belief that opportunities are abundant, and can be shared them with others. People with an abundance mindset believe that the success of others “adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives,” says Covey. The abundance mindset is part of Habit #4: Think win-win, which focuses on collaboration and long-term results.

Having an abundance mindset helps freelancers succeed—because there is plenty of freelance pie for everyone—and collaboration always beats competition.

Why You Should Share Your Freelance Pie

“Give more of what you want. Although it may sound counterintuitive, one of the best ways to increase your abundance is to give,” says John C. Maxwell in 6 Tips to Develop and Model an Abundance Mindset.

“Givers” are more successful than “takers,” says Wharton Management Professor Adam Grant. In his best-selling book “Give and Take,” Grant reported that people who give their time, knowledge, ideas, and connections to others without expecting anything in return (“givers”) are more successful than people who think it’s a dog-eat-dog world and focus only on self-promotion (“takers”).

Grant’s research, which includes research studies and case studies, proves that nice guys (and gals) can finish first, not last. “Being a ‘giver’ who enjoys helping others can be inefficient in the short run but surprisingly productive in the long run,” he says.

Givers live in a world of abundance and plentiful freelance jobs and clients, while takers live in a world of scarcity and competition. If you want more freelance jobs and clients, help other freelancers get them too.

Help Other Freelancers

Giving away work to other freelancers may sound counterintuitive, but it works!  The freelancers you help will think of you first when they have a freelance job to share.

Referring work from one of your clients to other freelancers can be scary. Doing this could result in the client giving more work to the new freelancer than to you. But the risk is very small—I’ve never heard of this happening to any of my colleagues. And many clients use multiple freelancers, so there’s lots of freelance pie to go around.

Help Clients

Helping clients, including your clients, meet their need for great freelancers increases your value to them.  It’s easier to refer work that’s not right for you or that you don’t have time to take. When you turn down a freelance job, ask if the client would like you to recommend other freelancers. They almost always say yes.

Clients are very grateful for referrals to competent, dependable freelancers. If you help them, they’re likely to come back to you with other freelance jobs, and to refer you to other people.

Your clients are also likely to give you more freelance jobs and more referrals if you find freelancers who can help them get their work done.

So if you live in a world where there’s plenty of freelance pie for everyone, you’ll be more successful yourself.


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Learn More About Sharing Freelance Pie (Work)

Mighty Marketer Resources

How Playing Nice Helps Freelancers Succeed

3 Reasons You Should Give Away Clients

Get More Clients by Tapping into Your Network

Other Resources

Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

John C. Maxwell in 6 Tips to Develop and Model an Abundance Mindset

Adam Grant, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success