First, my father taught me to work hard…

My father was a farmer and a natural-born entrepreneur. I grew up watching him try various ways to expand his farm business.

For example, in the photo above you can see him standing by his milk carton delivery van in the early 1960s. As far as I can tell, he was the first farmer in the UK to carton the milk from his farm, and sell the cartons from refrigerated vending machines in local towns.

By the age of about 8 or 9, I was out there on the farm with my brothers, earning my pocket money… bringing in the cows for milking twice a day, baling the hay in spring, harvesting wheat and barley in the summer… and helping to fill those vending machines each day.

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Why I don’t compete with other freelancers or solo professionals.

Maybe you think I’m wrong. Maybe you think we all have to compete with other freelancers.

Certainly, we live and work in a competitive landscape. It’s a rare thing to have a client who is never going to be approached by other freelancers. And those companies hiring freelancers are always comparing freelancers, by skill set and by price.

Even so, I don’t compete with other freelancers.

I don’t price my services based on what other freelancers charge.

I don’t try to match the services offered by other freelancers.

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Are you building an audience of real prospects, or an audience of passive readers?

freelancer connecting with a real prospect and shaking hands

As freelancers we have to get out there and build an audience.

Many of us do this through creating our own websites, publishing newsletters, writing articles and networking on social media sites.

Over time we might build up a subscriber base of a thousand, five thousand or even twenty thousand or more people.

These are people who read our articles, our blog posts or even our Tweets.

But who are these people? What kind of audience are you building?

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Which comes first… paying this month’s bills, or building your long-term business?

In this post I want to take a look at a simple way to balance your immediate needs and your long-term plans.

Here’s what I do with my own business…

At the beginning of each week I start a new page in a Word document with two columns.

In the left side column I make a list of the work I need to get done in order to pay the bills and meet any other short-term deadlines or commitments.

In the right hand column I make a note of the various projects I’m planning, working on, or completing that won’t give me any income this month, but have the potential to generate a good income in the future.

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Don’t set your fees based on the “morning you” you see in the bathroom mirror.

freelancer looking in the bathroom mirror

If you’re anything like me, you’re not at your most impressive when you look in the mirror each morning.

This is all fine and normal, so long as you don’t mix “morning you” with “professional you”.

And yes, it matters a great deal that you create a quite separate professional persona.

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Make a big splash a few times a year. Or fade from view.

It’s hard for freelancers to maintain a high level of visibility.

For the most part, our clients and prospects think about us only when they need us.

Day-to-day, their attention is more likely to be focused internally, on their own company and colleagues.

How do we get around this? What steps can we take to become more visible? How can we stay top of mind?

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