Freelancers who become authorities reap many benefits, like charging more for their work, getting more gigs through referrals, and making money from books and other products, says Nathan Barry, a software designer and author in Boise, Idaho. Barry was a speaker at the recent Double Your Freelancing Conference (September 16-18, 2015, Norfolk, Virginia).Freelancers who are authorities charge more, get more gigs, and make more. Click To Tweet
Move Beyond Only Freelancing
An authority is “an accepted source of information, advice, etc.” and “an expert on a subject,” says Dictionary.com. What’s the difference between freelancers who become authorities and other freelancers? It’s probably not skill level, says Barry.Freelancers who become authorities teach along with working. Click To Tweet
“If you teach, people will pay attention to you,” says Barry, who suggests teaching a skill that people can use to make money to people who have money to pay to learn that skill. Barry is the author of Authority and two other self-published books: The App Design Handbook and Designing Web Applications. In less than a year, he made more than $150,000 from these books.
Yes, You Can Become an Authority
Don’t think you’re an expert yet? You’re probably wrong. “Every successful person I know started before they felt ready. Embrace the fact that you aren’t quite comfortable and strive to become even more of an expert,” says Barry. Newer freelancers are actually more qualified to teach than seasoned pros, says Barry, because they remember what it was like starting out and can relate better to beginners.
James Clear, another speaker at the Double Your Freelancing Conference, echoed this idea. ”Great entrepreneurs start before they’re ready,” says Clear, who spoke on habits of running a good business. He offers a free ebook on “how to effortlessly build good habits and break bad ones.”
You May Already Be an Authority
Within the first few years of launching my freelance medical writing business, I started sharing what I knew about marketing. By leading roundtable discussions and giving presentations at conferences, I was becoming an authority—without even knowing it. In 2014, I decided to go beyond only freelancing and wrote two books on marketing for freelancers. I started this blog and the rest of the Mighty Marketer website. While I haven’t reached Barry’s level of success, I expect I’ll move closer after I read Authority and his free A Brief Guide to Selling Digital Products.
“Double Your Freelancing” by Scaling Your Teaching
Writing, says Barry, is the “most scalable way to teach.” Start a blog, develop a free product that will help people in your target market, and write something you can sell, like a book. Use email marketing to build a following. “Share content authentically” and “give away more than you think you should,” says Barry.
Examples of free products include:
- Barry’s A Brief Guide to Selling Digital Products
- Clear’s Transform Your Habits
- My Direct Marketing for Freelancers.
To figure out what to write about, Barry suggests putting together an informal focus group of up to 10 people in your target market and asking them about their biggest frustrations.
Actionable Ideas for Freelancers
The two-day Double Your Freelancing Conference focused on actionable presentations on how to market, sell, and manage a freelance business like a pro, along with networking with freelancers ranging from writers like me to web developers, graphic artists, and computer programmers.