Say you own a bakery. You know exactly what you sell. You can work out how much money is spent on the raw ingredients as well as the amount of money which is spent on turning those raw ingredients into the finished goods that you sell.
It is very easy to separate yourself from this type of business as you can easily quantify what you’re producing and selling, and – more importantly – when you lock the door at the end of the day, you leave the business there. You don’t take it with you.
Although the business may only employ a handful of people, it’s still very easy to separate yourself from what you do. However, if you’re a freelancer – especially a creative freelancer, such as a writer or graphic designer – what you’re effectively selling is yourself. In other words, you’re selling what you have created with your mind.
Why It’s So Important To Be Authentic
People can smell out others who’re being ‘fake’ or – put another way – who are putting on an act. They may be putting on an act because they feel that it’s what you want to see or they could be putting on an act to make themselves feel more important than they do. And when they root out these fake individuals, they avoid them like the plague. They feel that as these people are not being who they are, they are not adding anything positive to life in general.
These fake people are not authentic. They are not living true to themselves and are not showing others who they are. And if you’re not authentic, people will not gravitate towards you. Would you want this to happen to you? The answer is probably ‘no’ as, at our core, we want to be liked and feel that we belong. The need to belong is so important that American psychologist Maslow indicated that belonging is among a person’s very basic human needs.
An Authentic Freelancer
Author Stephen King is famous for saying the following – “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings” – when referring to an author and their work.
A freelancer’s business – be it a design or writing agency – is their baby. They have given birth to it; they have nurtured the relationship with their customers and take every criticism that is levelled against their business very personally.
The business reflects the freelancer themselves. As the freelancer is the contact point between the client and the final product, they are the soul of the business. Their work ethic and authenticity are imbued in every fibre of the business and the clients see it. This is what keeps them coming back.
Being an authentic freelancer will, at the end of the day, attract the clients who you want. It will allow you to build a strong relationship with them, which lasts for many years. Most importantly, they become loyal brand advocates for you and will draw others like clients to you.