I work with a lot of software developers who want to go freelance but think that they’re too introverted and their personality doesn’t lend itself well to marketing, getting clients & making bank. If thats you, I was exactly you too.
And yet here I am, 2 years into being a freelance web developer with double the income I was earning in my job.
Yes, introverts can go freelance. Often it is their REASON for going freelance.
Introversion is a big thing for many people in tech. Programming has a way of drawing in highly intellegent people who are most comfortable working with a machine and solving problems. Introverts are ideal coders, but not so much marketeers or salespeople. I was as big an introvert as they come.
In fact introversion fuelled me in part to explore leaving my 9–5. The people, the small talk, the meetings. If it wasn’t for my introversion I would never have explored going freelance. I would never have started to see through the rat race, the trap, the matrix. I would never have sought a way out and would never have found FREEDOM (a much more positive driver for going freelance than “escapism”).
I nearly didn’t go freelance because I didn’t think I had the natural abilities to market myself, sell my services and communicate with clients. In fact I started thinking about it and then decided it wasn’t for me for a few months. But it was something I couldn’t shake.
Fortunately my desire to leave my 9–5 was greater than my fear of people and though it’s almost a cliche now, I took a small first step.
I started discreetly marketing myself as a freelancer (didn’t want the boss to find out!). I started talking to friends and family, letting them know what I was doing and it is this that led to me first side customer. My confidence grew and my skills gradually got better to the point I was earning 50% of my salary on the side. That’s when I knew I had this and I handed in my notice.
When I first went freelance full time I relied on email. I’d be emailing business owners hoping they’d reply and you know what? People ignore emails! Especially from someone who is looking for their business.I got maybe 1 reply in 10 and maybe 1 client out of 10 replies.
As a “digital nomad” I wanted to do this all online. I resisted phoning & visiting potential clients for about a year and I got ok results. I wasn’t earning as much as I was in my job but the drop in income was worth it to me for my FREEDOM of time & location.
But then one day I realised that freedom wasn’t free. How was I free chasing small ticket clients trying to get money to pay bills? That was still wage slavery to me!
So I made a mindset shift. I started viewing my services as something potential clients NEEDED in their lives. I knew that my services would transform their website or their app, that my services would increase their efficiency, automate their services for scale and increase their revenue.
When I looked at it like this I felt like I was doing potential clients a DISSERVICE by NOT contacting them by any means necessary. If I didn’t get their attention and show them what I could do for them then they were going to continue with their crappy website that didn’t convert, their products or services would remain manual and their income wouldn’t blow up.
I looked at it like I was failing them if they didn’t get a chance to experience what I could do for them.
And when I looked at it like this I made my first cold call. It was uncomfortable and I wanted to die the first time (it brought back a lot of horrible call centre job memories for me ok!?) but I stumbled through it. I followed up with them by phone, by email, via social media whatever it took until they had a chance to either say YES or NO.
Introversion didn’t come into it when I thought this way. All my insecurities and tendencies gradually melted away as I took consistent action with the mindset that they NEEDED my services.
They needed my services like I needed my freedom!
There were many times I wanted to give up and go back to the comfort of the income I had but my driver in life was FREEDOM and this driver drove me to keep going, to keep getting better, refining my pitch, my services, my offers and eventually people started responding more favourably to me. I started generating more interest in my services, I started signing more clients and after a time I was doubling my income.
Don’t put yourself in a box
Don’t limit yourself in your capacity to go freelance. When you have a huge driver and mission in your life then limiting factors — or the thought of limiting factors — aren’t an issue at all. You can learn everything you need to become a freelancer so long as you REALLY want it.
I’m going to be launching a course called Go Freelance soon. Register your interest now for free and I’ll send you an invite when I open places up. I’m only looking for a small number of committed individuals who want to make freelancing happen for them, so if you have that same drive to leave your job that I did register your interest now.