Analyze Your Market Value
So start your market research. The really fun stuff for me. I love to see what's out there. I'm really nosy, so I love to be, like, "who's doin this, who's doin that, what's goin on over here?" So, check your market research. These are the things that you need to know if you're going in there. How do other people do it? It's also the thing that we think prevents us from actually trying it cause it's this idea of "they're really good at it," or "there's so many people who do it." I am a firm believer in there is enough work for everyone, if you build your network. There's enough work for everyone if you go out there and show them what you can do. It doesn't mean it's not hard sometimes. It doesn't mean that you'll go through moments where you're, like, "oh, didn't get a response to that." But keep going after the work. So market research, you gotta use it to determine pricing at some point and how to package your services. I'll talk about pricing a little bit later. I'm not a very big f...
an of this is what everyone else is charging so this is what I'm gonna charge. I do, however, like to see how are people actually packaging services. Cause a lot of clients will say, "well, we might shift or we're hiring a freelancer and we notice everyone does it in this packaging way, so it might be a way for me to innovate my services." But it's also a way to know sort of how the industry is moving right now. A also wanna know basic market practices and principles, right? Like, what's happening there, how do people market themselves, what kind of materials do they use, and, again, am I going to try and fit into the bucket of I do what they do or am I trying to innovate. I wanna decide how to enter the market. And for you, for everybody, you should enter the market by putting together these few steps today and then testing. And then check to see what your clients are like. Right? Cause there's always that one thing. "I don't have this yet so I can't. I don't have this yet so I can't." So I want you to have the opportunity to go ahead and enter the market and see what happens. Here's a really simple way for you to start to build, right? We talked about what you do and what you need to enter the market. Very simple Venn diagram on what my market value is. Who am I and what am I worth to the market, right? So my market value lies somewhere in between what I love doing, what I'm good at, and what people will pay for. So I have to start to look at who I am and what's good, right? Cause I might love doing something, but if no one pays for it, what happens then is, I am really happy but I am probably poor. Right? If I only work on what I'm good at, and what people want, I end up being a little bit frustrated and probably successful. So I want to look at what is that combination; what is it that makes me special to the market? And that's where you have to be honest with your skill set. What am I really good at, or what do I need to get better at, right? You're gonna test it. But be honest and say, like, this is what the competition is actually producing, how is my work compared to that and how do I get better at it? And that's part of what am I willing to sacrifice? What am I willing to compromise? What can I do for myself? You will get better, believe me. When I freelanced, and I'll tell some stories in a little bit, when I freelanced, I made a bunch of mistakes, because I was afraid that if I didn't take this job or didn't price it this way I wouldn't get the job. And then when I had a company I made a ton of mistakes because I was afraid if I didn't take this job, or I didn't price this way I would lose the company, right? I had a lot of great successes. I'd get a huge contract or this would happen or that would happen, and I can tell you right now, it felt good and I remember, like, "oh ya, I remember when I did that. That was great." When I made mistakes I could literally tell you what shoes I was wearing that day. I remember them to the conversation I had and the moment it happened and what the rest of the day was like. That's the best part about it cause it got me to do something better and I learned from it, right? I didn't fold, nothing horrible happened. What happened was, I went, "oh, I've never done that before. I'm not experienced in this. Let me hit up my network. Let me figure out how to do this." It's okay to ask for help. So when you start doing this market research, know who's out there, but then get help from your mentor. "How do I do this? What do I do?" So we'll talk about that. Competitive analysis: it's exactly what it's described as. Who's my competition? In the workbook there's a great sheet I use. It's very simple cause you don't need to break it down as heavy as you think you do. Most of you know who your competition is right now. The biggest problem I think is we don't realize all of our competition. Who's really out there? Who's doing a little bit of what we do, right? One of the things that I see a lot with freelancers is if I offer twenty-seven services, I'll be better cause someone will wanna come to me. I did that a lot when I work with film makers, where they have on their resume, you know, camera, editing, key grip, sound. They do, you know, twenty-seven things on their resume. And what happens is, clients go, "well, do you do all of them amazing, or do you do them all sort of, like, okay, or is there one that you do really well?" Right? So you have to look at what your competition is doing and see how you can actually enter the market and provide a service that people want. It's very simple. So in the workbook, it's a really simple competitive analysis worksheet. One thing you don't see on there, is pricing. You can certainly add pricing. We'll talk about that in the pricing section in just a few minutes. I don't love focusing so much on price, especially in competitive analysis. I wanna know what people are charging, but if I start to set my rate based on what the competition, and only based on what the competition is doing, what happens then is I'm not sure what I'm actually worth. And I actually might not be covering my expenses. So we're gonna talk about pricing in a little bit, but put it on there for sure. But for me, one of the things that I think is really important is the last two columns: positioning. What's unique about my competition? What do they do that I don't necessarily do, or what's cool about what they do? And then what's my strategy? How am I going to offer something based on what I see? Really, really important. Businesses do this. You're now a business. And it's really easy to do. You just do it very quickly. But start to look at who your competition is. Cause it's out there. And they're trying to find work. They might be finding work just passively by waiting for clients to come to them. Or you'll have competition that hustle. Those are also the people you wanna get to know, cause they hustle and they generate work for more than just themselves. You can be that freelancer that gets to generate work for more than just yourself, which is great. After you know your competition, this is a SWOT analysis. And I like a SWOT analysis cause it's really simple. You can write this down. But this is a great way for you to understand a couple of things. In relation to your competition, you get to see what opportunities that you didn't know were really there, are actually there. And you get to actually manage threats. Cause if you start to look at your competition, you're like, "oh, I didn't even realize. I have to pay attention to this," or, "I didn't even realize there was an area that I can absolutely work in which is amazing." So, in this case, here is somebody who is saying, "I'm a designer and I'm looking to enter the market. Based on my competition, usually the strengths and weaknesses we consider internal, that's me. What do I do really well, what am I not doin really well?" So I can look at that and say this is stuff I do really well. I work fast with the software. I have excellent design fundamentals. What are my weaknesses? I have limited experience to my competitors. So I have to start to look at that and say, "how do I actually achieve clients knowing that I have a little bit less experience?" Cause it's that, you know, catch twenty-two. "Listen, we'd love to hire you but you don't have enough experience. We can't hire you until you get experience." Right? So you have to get that experience to get hired. The opportunities and the threats are what we consider external. If I look at my competition and what's going on out there, then I can uncover opportunities that I didn't know existed. Right? Right now there's a growing demand in the market in certain areas. So I'm gonna look at them and say that's a great opportunity, but what's specific to it? I also have experience in social media so it's a great opportunity for me to say, "look, I also know what you're doing. I know how to design for these platforms. I know how to do this." Right? And then my threat is there's also a growing demand. It's pretty common. But I can look at it and say, "there are low price competitors out there that make it really hard to convey my brand." So from taking this SWOT analysis, I can start to look at actions I can take to say, "this is how I target my client." Cause I know, when I have a conversation with them, I know who else they might talk to. I can tell them this is why my brand is a value to you and why we should work together. Beyond just dollar and cents, right? "I'm incredibly professional." "I get the work done on time." "I communicate." Those are all relationships you build with your clients, and they go, "ooh, that's valuable too." Some of them won't. Some of them say it's really just, "how much am I paying you?" The clients I love to have and the clients I keep long term are the ones that say, "I hire you because I count on you." That's that I do it a little bit better than the next person that I like to do. So put that together and you'll start to have an understanding of how do I position myself in the market. Who am I? The next thing I need to look at is who are my customers? We think we kind of have an idea but there are customers out there we never even imagined would be hiring us. I like to think of it that way because when I have conversations, especially when I'm networking, I like to tell people when I'm networking sometimes, "you don't know you need me yet, but I'm gonna figure out a way that you do." What does that mean? Well, because everybody has a need for what I do, in one way or another. So I'm gonna go ahead and pitch them on it. For what your services are, you have to find not just the easiest what we call the low hanging fruit. "I do this for a living. Let me go at these places." There are other people out there who hire. You have to find out who they are. So I'm gonna use a worksheet and I'm gonna say, "this is what I do. Who is gonna hire me?" Right? So it's identifying your customers. You don't have to be passive and wait for them to come to you. If you identify your customers you get to go after them. "Hello, I do this for a living. How's it going?" Right? You get to see what their needs are, and then you get to find out, actually, how does my service actually satisfy your needs? Cause it's a great way for you to go, "oh, there actually is a market out there for me." Right? If you do something that you think is a little bit weird, or a little bit like "I'm not sure how this works?" Go find your customers. "Would you like to actually pay for this?" "How do you pay for this?" So that's one of the things that we look at.