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  • Diana Schneidman

Fast and easy: Sounds good to me!

How to get started as a freelancer or consultant

My three-step system for getting started as a solopro (freelancer or consultant) is both fast and easy . . . if we get real about what “fast and easy” means. Finding your first clients takes substantial effort, but if done correctly, it’s quite likely that you’ll begin to get assignments in a few weeks. Effort definitely pays off!

I used to tell my children that nothing is free.

Specifically, I said that every product and service given “free” actually requires some type of payment.

Children eat free? Yes, but only if accompanied by a paying adult.

Pay full price on the first and get the second for free? Actually, they have cut the price in half on two products but you are paying for both

Free autographs by a sports star at the athletic shoe store? You are paying with your valuable time. After waiting in line for an hour surrounded by display merchandise, you are likely to buy something, whether today or next week.

And of course, newsletters and other online information often require “payment” in the form of your email address for future marketing.

The kids and I had an ongoing game in which we’d try to figure out how a business benefited financially from its “free” offer.

Anyway, we long ago laid the concept of “free” to rest and concluded that “nothing is free.” (Except for the one time we came across a box of children’s books that had been put out on the boulevard area with a note, “Free, take some.”)

Indeed, the word “free” has lost much of its allure for me. But now we have two other words with even greater hypnotic power: “fast” and “easy.”

Most everything is billed as fast and easy, but we suspect it ain’t so.

However, I believe my system to get started as a solopro freelancer or consultant really is fast and easy . . . if you understand how I define “fast” and “easy.”

First, let’s review the system’s three steps to start getting paying freelance and consulting assignments quickly:

  1. Go after assignments similar to your last good job.

  2. Phone the best prospects.

  3. Get real. Define “quickly” as 30 days, not 30 minutes.

Now let’s get back to how the system is fast and easy.

Fast? Fast means the same as quickly, and yes, to start getting paying assignments in the real world in 30 days is fast. Not as fast as we may like, but as I say, let’s get real.

And easy? Well, it does involve work. Actually, a substantial amount of work during that 30 days. The work of identifying and phoning prospects is a bit repetitive and isn’t necessarily what we would choose to do for all that time if we didn’t want the money.

But yes, telephoning is easier than most people think it is. It’s not about aggressive “selling.” It’s not saying the magic word to transform customers into helpless purchasing zombies under your magnetic selling spell. It’s not about persistence as though if at first they say no, you can convert them into buyers against their will by more contacts.

It’s not about pestering people. It’s about helping them. Really.

You are simply helping people by calling those most likely to benefit from your services. You briefly explain what you do to see if they may want your services. Record notes so you can follow up on a reasonable schedule and then on to the next call.

This is easy once you learn how to do it and get past the first few calls. Clear the initial hurdle and you can do this!

I believe that this system is both fast and easy, but that sounds fishy to me too.

Somehow “fast and easy” sounds too slick, even if it is true. Too commercial. Too persuasive.

OK, the system is slow and torturous. Not really but now we can both feel better.

Originally posted 9-21-09

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