The ONE big shift I made that consistently brings me great freelance clients
- 0:40 – Mat Casner discusses his journey as a freelancer and the mindset shift that helped him succeed. He initially focused on displaying his skills and beautiful work in his portfolio but struggled to attract clients.
- 2:15 – Mat Casner realized that he needed to focus on solving clients’ problems, rather than just showcasing his skills. He became a problem solver rather than just a skilled freelancer.’
- 4:00 – Mat Casner shares an anecdote about a successful mechanic named Brian, who is also a problem solver and genius at his craft. The key takeaway: focus on how you can solve your clients’ problems.
I’m going to tell you today about the one big shift that I made in my Freelance business that not only opened up my eyes, but became my number one selling tool. It helped me go from charging low prices and missing out on a lot of work to raising my rates and closing more jobs than I ever thought possible.
Today I wanna talk to you about what it is that really makes us successful as freelancers. And guys, I wish I could tell you that I had these answers back when I started freelancing. Unfortunately, I cannot, there were a lot of things that were in my mind when I started freelancing that really just didn’t work.
They didn’t translate from my nine to five into this Freelance life that I now have. So what I wanna talk to you about is a mindset shift that for me, really went from being stressed about finding work and finding clients and selling the work, getting the people to buy, to being able to, you know, basically open up my email and see a new request, or get a phone call with a new request from a new client who I haven’t even met who wants to do business with me. So, how did I get there? Well, let me just take you back a few years. And when I first started freelancing, my mindset was in a totally different space. So when I was working in my nine to five,
I was the web guy. I was the guy that built the websites. I was the guy that could design the logos. And when my project manager had a project, they would lay it on my desk and say, here’s what we need you to do, go do it. So when I left my nine to five, I really had that mentality that you get work done because you’re really good at it, and that’s where your value is. So we all kind of figure things out eventually, but for me, I was like, you know, if I’m going to find these Freelance clients, then I really need to show people what I can do. I need to have a really nice portfolio. I need to have a really nice website.
Back in the day, there really wasn’t social media, but if there had, then I would’ve felt like I had to have this, this great dribble account, or this, this great Bhan account, or Facebook or Instagram or whatever, you know, to let people see what I could do. And you guys, I was frustrated because there would be so much work that I would have on my portfolio that I was really proud of.
But when it come to getting work, you know, there was just lots of crickets. I don’t know if you know what that’s like or not, but I was concerned, I was bewildered, I was confused. I couldn’t understand why I had all this great work experience. I had all this stuff in my portfolio that looked beautiful, but people weren’t calling me to work on their jobs. And it took me a while. If you guys have known me very long, you know that my path as a freelancer has been very long and arduous. I have spent years, over the past 15 years actually figuring out this whole Freelance game and how to make it work. And there was a point in the path in my journey that really resonated with me.
And once I understood this, one thing that I’m going to share with you, everything started to change. The way that I approached clients, changed the way that I bid projects changed, my pricing structure changed. The percentage of jobs that I was winning was increasing. And I was seeing all of these positive things happen in my Freelance career because I made one big mindset shift.
And here it is. When you start out as a freelancer, we’re all wrapped up in what we can do. We are a logo designer, we’re a writer, we’re a web developer, we are a illustrator, whatever it is, we have these skills and talents, and we’ve done great work in the past. And so we show these great works,
and we expect them to communicate to our potential clients how much we’re worth. Well, the truth of the matter is, is that when people hire us as freelancers, they care about what our quality of work is. Well, of course they do. They kind of expect that to be there. The one thing that we miss sometimes as we’re getting started as freelancers is we forget the problems that our customers are facing and why they would even come to us in the first place. When I started thinking about the work that I do in relation to the problems that I could solve for my potential customers, it changed the game for me. I started to not look at the work that I could produce, and whether it was beautiful or not,
I started looking at it as, what are the pain points? What are the objectives? What are the goals that my my clients have? And what do I do that can help solve those problems? So I went from being this person who could crank out beautiful pieces of work to being a problem solver. And my friend, when I started doing that—things changed. I started to figure out what it was that my customers were dealing with.
What were their business goals?
What were the things that were keeping them up at night?
What were the things that they couldn’t do?
What were the big rocks that were in their way that they couldn’t remove themselves?
And what are those problems that they’re facing that I can handle?
Guys, when we have a problem, we look for somebody who can solve it. I wanna tell you a little story. I live in a really small town in rural Kansas, about 650 people. When we first moved here, of course, my wife and I didn’t know many people. And you know, you start to, you know, you figure out where the grocery store is, where the hardware store is, where the post office, the bank, the lumber yard, all that stuff. And you know, eventually my car, you know, needed some repair work.
And so I would ask around, Hey, who do you guys recommend?
Well, everybody kept telling me about Brian.
And I’m like, okay, well I guess if Brian’s the only choice then I guess I need to go see Brian. So I went out to Brian’s garage, and guys, when I say went out to Brian’s garage, Brian doesn’t live in town. Brian doesn’t live anywhere near town. Brian kind of lives out of the way. His garage is right next to his house. And at first I’m thinking, oh, this is odd. I wonder how Brian gets any business. Brian kinda lives out of the way. It’s not really convenient. And as I roll up into Brian’s parking lot, I look around and the parking lot is full of cars. I mean, literally full of cars. I mean, it would be a small used car lot if it wasn’t a place where a mechanic lived.
And so I walked in and I had a conversation with Brian. In fact, I went and saw Brian last week. I knew that there was something wrong with my engine. I think it had something to do with the serpentine belt. So I rolled in, and Brian, who’s become a friend of mine, was able to fix my problem. But let me tell you a little bit how that went.
Brian, who I’ve come to really respect, because Brian solves mechanical problems. Brian is not just a mechanic. I, I consider Brian a bit of a genius. And when I took my car to him, I kind of had an idea what was wrong. And when I went to go pick up my car, Brian kinda set me down. He goes, let me tell you what I found. I noticed that you had a couple of idler pulleys on your serpentine belt that the bearings were shot. And he said, I wanna let you know that I went and searched for replacement part. And Matt, it was gonna be almost a $700 part to get this thing purchased and get it replaced for you. He said, so what I did was I took the old pulleys off, found out that they used standard bearings, and we replaced the bearings, saving you about $500. And I looked at him and I said, well, thank you. That’s, that’s amazing. I’m, I’m glad that you were smart enough to figure that out and you were able to figure it out and save me some money.
So as I’m writing the check out to Brian, you know, it still was several hundred dollars for the work, knowing that he saved me several hundred more. And I just look at Brian, I said, Brian, I said, thank you because you’ve not only fixed my problem, you saved me some money. And guys, I know Brian is incredibly successful.
I know why there are tons of cars in his driveway, and I know why people are always talking about Brian. And you know what? People don’t care that Brian lives out of the way because Brian is really good at solving mechanical problems. And I’ll take my cars to Brian all day long. And so guys, this is just a really great example of, as freelancers, we need to be really good at solving a specific type of problem. Because honestly, guys, at the end of the day, customers don’t pay for our effort. They pay for results. They are paying to have a problem solved because either they don’t have time or they don’t want to try to figure it out. But they know if they don’t get this problem solved, they can’t move forward. So they’re gonna find somebody who can solve their problem and listen to this. When they find that person, they’re happy to pay them. Not only that, but when they meet someone who can solve their problems and solve them well, they tell their friends. And guys, I can tell you that when I started freelancing, I wasn’t that good at solving problems because I was honestly, you know, waiting for them to come with me with a project or an idea, and I would do it, but I didn’t think about it from the standpoint of it being a business problem. Now, I attack everything that comes to client project with the primary question being, what is the problem my having? And what is it gonna take to get them results and solve the problem?
When you do that, people will pay you what you’re worth. They will bring more business back to you, and they will tell their friends who have similar problems where to find you. Okay guys, I can tell you that since I have shifted over to a problem solving type mentality, there is more work coming to me right now than I can do myself.
I have a network of friends that I love to share that work with, and I’m happy to do that, and it allows me to keep the work that I want to work on and focus on that. So what I remember this guys is people don’t pay for effort. They pay for results. And when they find out that you can solve a specific problem, they’ll come back again and again. They’ll pay you what you’re worth and they will tell their friends. If you wanna get started as a freelancer, but not quite sure where to begin, then be sure to check out the Freelance Blueprint, a free resource that I created just for you. Inside the Freelance Blueprint, I share a detailed roadmap that you can follow to help you build a stable and profitable Freelance business.
Grab your copy of the Freelance Blueprint right now. Just go to Freelance CEO dot com slash blueprint. Would you like to learn how to find perfect clients? Even if you’re just getting started as a freelancer? Then I want to invite you to download a copy of my client Snowball framework. Get your copy email@example.com. Hey, just a second. Before you go,
I wanted to say thank you for tuning in. I hope you found something here that’s valuable to you and your business. And if the podcast has been valuable, I’d like to invite you to leave us a positive review on iTunes or whatever platform you’re listening on. We would appreciate it. Your review really helps us to get the podcast in front of a lot more people.