Trading time for money sucks. Every single entrepreneur has worked for someone else, whether for months, years or an entire lifetime, while their true gift is used to build someone else’s business.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau
Wynter Jones has spent the last ten years working with small businesses and well-known celebrities in the digital marketing space. In this article, you will gain insight into some of the lessons learned from transitioning from freelance web development into the digital marketing landscape.
One thing to always remember is that entrepreneurs are inherently different in the workforce. An entrepreneur will prefer to work on a part of the business that can be most profitable, going from one customer to thousands of customers.
Web developers are specifically different. A developer will prefer to work on a part of the business that can be automated or programmed. Typically, developers and designers work for entrepreneurs, trading their time and skill while they turn the entrepreneur’s vision into a reality.
The relationships and experience you gain while working for others on a per-client basis is invaluable, but here’s the problem:
Clients require attention and consume your time.
Your clients are the vision keepers, and it is your goal is to fulfill their needs and desires based on their vision. Sure, this isn’t a problem for most; however, when you take on dozens or hundreds of clients, you will see the problem.
The hard truth of freelance work:
Not every client actually uses your work. Some projects are haphazard “would be nice to have” projects. Some freelancers find themselves *not invested in the outcome, underpaid and overworked.*
The majority of requests that web developers here are the same.
“Can you make me a website with a homepage, about page, and contact page?”
Through the use of frameworks and other tools, a developer can quickly create what the client requested through rapid iteration and then apply that same outcome to another client. As you go through the iterative process of describing their vision and mapping out the plan for their website, you invest more of your time and energy into their success (not your own success).
Add more clients and you’ve now diminished the ability to fully deliver on the needs of your clients. As a web developer for more than ten years, I have seen the same clients pop up and disappear.
How depressing is that? That’s how I can to realize that working freelance was not the ideal route to having maximum impact.
In order to have a larger impact in the marketplace, your work cannot be contained to small, exclusive projects. It must be available to everyone who has the problem you solve.
Finding the Smallest Problem
As previously mentioned, with any industry, specifically in online marketing, the problems are shared amongst all who enter, from the simplest task of needing an email for communication to a getting web server to share secure documents.
Consider just one problem, that of sharing secure documents online. With a quick Google search, you can find software companies offering solutions to that problem that are worth millions or, in some cases, billions of dollars.
The founders of those companies could have made their software for small, exclusive projects for their clients. However, because they provide the solution to the entire marketplace, instead of dealing with ten clients per month, they easily accommodate thousands per month.
Provide the Smallest Solution
The first mistake made when going from web developer to digital marketer was thinking I had to go big in order to be successful. I thought I had to build the next Facebook or Shopify and do it overnight. That quickly becomes an impossible task.
Thankfully, the best approach is the easiest. Start by providing the smallest solution to the problem first. Simple, elegant solutions will always beat monoliths that are overly complicated.
As a digital marketer, you understand the process users go through to arrive at the desired solution. When your solution is easy, simple and works every time, you can go build a multimillion-dollar business in a few short years.
When you start with a massive product that solves 50+ different problems, you will see the opposite type of growth. You may start well, but as the software complexity increases, the mass market will further lose the ability to understand it.
Be One with Your Business
Build the thing you have always built for your clients.
It’s really that simple. Once you can harness what you have always made, whether it’s by choice or direction, you can do or create something that only you are able to. When you are working for others, you are building their dreams. When you make the jump from builder to creator, your impact is tenfold.
In 2017 and onward, it is essential to understand both how the digital world works and how to use it to effectively adopt technology into your business.
Over the last ten years of building software, I have only made one type of software, and thankfully, it has a name, ClickFunnels.com, with over 36,000 active users and over $150 million in processed sales by our users.
It’s one of the fastest growing non-VC companies in history. This is not possible when your true gift is hidden with freelance work.
It’s time to break out and build the business of your dreams.
Wynter Jones is an Entrepreneur and Web Developer. With over 10 years building web software. Currently working on the world's best drag and drop editor for ClickFunnels.