5 Money Mindsets to Adopt as a Freelancer

Here’s a popular story:

A young elephant was tied to a small stake in the ground. As a baby elephant, it is unable to lift the stake up. Eventually, the elephant learns that and stops trying.

Soon, the elephant becomes an adult and gains enough strength to lift the stake. But it remains tied up to the flimsy rope and wooden stake in the ground, because of what it learned as a baby.

That is known as a limiting belief in psychology. And as adults, navigating this challenging world, we all have adopted some forms of limiting beliefs.

Today, I want to share 5 money mindsets to adopt as a freelancer and entrepreneur.

1 – You are paid for the value you provide.

I started out my career as a music producer, charging clients RM300-400 to compose a song. After setting up a small recording studio, I started charging RM60 per hour to record them.

It wasn’t long before I learned that those were terrible ways to charge for my work. I was essentially positioning myself as a service provider – providing a service. The amount I decided to charge came from observing what the ‘market’ was charging.

Consider two businesses. One is a local kindergarten and the other is Apple. A local kindergarten would find it hard to spend RM300 for a company theme song. But for Apple, wait – isn’t RM300 too cheap for a theme song?

Why? That’s because both the businesses receive different amounts of value from a company theme song.

The solution is to charge based on the value you provide. If you’re just starting, it’s easy to charge for providing a service. But as you grow, it’s important to move into charging based on value.

2 – The more money you receive, the more value you can provide.

Once when teaching, I came across a freelancer who was afraid of charging her clients. She was previously working for a company and drew a monthly salary. And when it’s time for her to quote a fee to her client – she suddenly felt bad!

“I don’t want to appear like I’m scamming people.”

“I feel bad asking for so much money!”

This is common with new freelancers. Especially if the amount you’re charging is more than what you used to draw as your salary. But actually, as a freelancer – you now have costs. You pay your electricity, internet bills, software, tech, and rent. Why are you afraid of charging more?

The money mindset to change here is the belief that it’s greedy to receive more money. Receiving more money from your clients means you’re able to provide more value. Maybe you’ll invest in new software. Maybe you’ll hire some staff and begin churning out work, faster.

3 – Money is a signal.

That you’re doing the right thing.

Nobody in their right mind would just simply give you money for no absolute reason. If you see people paying for your product or work, that’s a signal that you’re doing the right thing – and that you should do more of it.

4 – Don’t work for free.

The ‘don’t work for free’ I’m referring to here is when clients come to you asking you to work for ‘exposure’. I had many such requests when I was a music producer. As a marketer and entrepreneur, I often get asked to speak at events for free, in exchange for exposure for my business.

Yes, sometimes you’d want to do something for free. I too sometimes speak at events for free. It all depends on what’s in it for you.

But generally, clients who ask you to work for free – are people who do not value your work.

The next time someone asks you to do something for free, propose a different working structure.

  • Do a profit-share.
  • Ask for performance-based compensation.

5 – It’s never about the price.

Have you ever had a client say that your price is expensive? For most, the natural knee-jerk reaction here is to quickly give a discount – in hopes to win the client back.

But what if I told you, that doing that simply depreciates the perceived value of your product or service? By suddenly throwing a discount or backing down from your initial offer, you signal to your client that your service/product isn’t worth that much, to begin with!

When your client asks for a discount – know that it’s because she didn’t see the value in your service or product yet. Why don’t people ask for a discount when buying new iPhones or eating at a fine dining restaurant? Sure, they might feel the pinch of spending a lot of money, yet they pay because of the value they receive.

The next time your client asks for a discount, help her see value in your offering. Ask questions like:

  • You say X is expensive. What would make it worth the price?
  • How would you rate service X? What would make it 10/10?

Find out what is really holding your client back, then help them see the value.

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