One huge mistake I see new freelancers make all the time is focusing on building a perfect CV instead of building a creator capital.
As a freelancer, you want to differentiate yourself. To show you're an expert and that there's nothing to worry about when they are hiring your services. And the best way to do this is to have amazing creations on the internet.
Clients want EXPERTS. They want to know WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM. They want peace of mind.
If you want a cushy entry-level job at a FANG, collecting skills and perfecting your CV might do the job (after competing with 1000s of other applicants). But, if you want an easier way to differentiate yourself, trash that CV.
Companies looking for consultants or freelancers don't want juniors. They want experts that have "been there, done that". Showing an impressive CV won't be enough to show you're the boss!!
But then, what can you do to get those first clients? You need your creator capital to prove to clients you're amazing and trustworthy!
Your creator capital measures the impact of your past projects. You can build your creator capital by building a portfolio of client work, or, if you're new to the freelancing game, by having your own projects (apps or cool sites).
With unique creations you can proudly show clients, you will automatically:
Be seen as an expert.
Prove you can start and finish a real-world project.
Position yourself as an owner and creator, capable to overcome obstacles that come up in every project.
Show you are a proactive fella!
So what you need to do is to build your own projects. But there's a catch!! Your project has to be amazing and potentially successful in the eyes of your client. Remember, you need high IOA (impact) Showing a To-Do app will NOT cut it. No Bueno.
The world doesn't need another TO-DO app!
So the question you need to ask yourself is...What's an app that only you can build? (Hint, what's the intersection of your skills and your interests?).
There is a way to create a cool project that can help the world AND help you as a freelancer. For that, you need to start thinking about your interests or things that you'd love to see in the world. Then, you need to go out there and do it! That's exactly what I did with thefreelancechoice and what I'm doing with chesskool, and that's allowed me to triple what I used to make working 9 to 5 in a matter of months.
Also, if you want to get a job at a startup you'll be able to skip the line by having your own projects. This is exactly what allowed Sahil Lavingia, creator of gumroad, to be one of the first employees at pinterest!
What you can do now
What's the intersection between your interests and skills? If you want to start freelancing or want to take on higher-quality clients, it's time to invest in yourself and build a real world project! If you want some advice, don't hesitate to reach me on twitter.
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