Consider these scenarios:
- A high rate programmer who advertises on Craigslist
- A “responsive” freelancer who doesn’t provide a phone number
- A “smart and talented” indy coder who never asks questions about the assigned projects
- A “careful” programmer with a typo on their business cards
What do each of these people have in common? Their desired message is inconsistent with their actions.
The most common reason this happens is that the freelance programmer tries to be all things to all people. Unfortunately, they end up being nothing to no one. They are sending up smoke signals, but no one can decipher them. The message is cloudy.
The solution is to hone your message to prospective clients. Really think about what kind of business you want to have and how you want to present yourself.
Start by identifying your most important attributes. What message do you want to convey about yourself and your freelance programming business? Focus on only 1-3 items, and make sure they aren’t contradictory. For example: don’t try to convince people that you are both high quality AND low cost. At best, prospective customers will suspect you are just average in both.
Here are some attributes to get you started. Are you:
- A team player
- A problem solver
- Up to date in your technology skills
Pick a couple of attributes, and consider how these attributes will affect varies aspects of your business. The obvious part it will affect is your marketing, but what about other areas, too. For example, if you want people to think of you as a fast developer, make sure everything about your business conveys speed. Are you responding to phone and emails as quickly as you can? Are you automating everything possible so that you aren’t wasting time on manual activities? When you are on a phone conversation, do you minimize the chit chat?
What are you trying to say about your freelance programming business?