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Freelance Writer, What Business Are You Really In?

freelance writers offer solutions what businessA typical freelance writer, when asked what business they’re in say ‘writing.’ If the person asking already knows they write, they mostly look confused. And it’s true, writing is our game; it’s what we do.

But a freelance writer is not really in the business of offering writing. Sound crazy? Hear me out:

Every freelance writer offers solutions to their clients.

Every client you’ve ever had, and every client you ever will have has a problem they believe can be solved by someone writing something for them. This is true when the client is an individual asking you to handle their social media posts, or a publisher who wants a guidebook to your home town written, or any corporation that’s selling anything and working to have more customers, both inside and outside their door.

It’s more about feelings

Strange as it may seem at first glance, the solutions they buy are more about their own feelings than the actual facts around the problem. This may seem counter intuitive, but over and over again we see it happen, with ourselves and with everyone we know. Tony Robbins suggests there are six human needs: (1) the need for certainty and comfort, (2) the need for uncertainty and variety, (3) the need for significance, the (4) need for love and connection, (5) the need for growth, and (6) the need for contribution. Note that each of these are really about how people feel.

Sure, the folks that hire you want to see a piece of writing they like, but their decision to hire you or not is really about how you and the writing you do makes them feel – that you and the writing solves a problem and makes them feel, well, better somehow. They want to feel good about both hiring you and the writing you submit.

This realization also goes a long way to understanding why we can get side-wise with our clients. Something happened and they stopped feeling good about either their decision to work with you or the writing or both.

How this makes life easier and earns more money for freelance writers

Understanding that your real job is to provide a solution is one way to be sure you’re coming from a place of being of service to your client.

Recognizing that your providing a solution will help you see the larger picture of what’s going on. That often leads to valuing your role more than you might have otherwise. The more you value yourself and your work the easier it becomes to ask for and get premium fees.

What’s your take on this idea that you’re in the solutions business? Tell us in comments.

Write well and often,

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