Summary: I'm proposing a model in which freelancers can thrive professionally by diversifying how they offer their unique expertise. This model is made of three activities: consulting, education and building products.
The consulting phase it is crucial to refine your positioning, grow a small professional network, build credentials and spot wider trends. Pros of this activity: you get to choose when to work and with whom. You just trade your time for a unique expertise. Cons: as Naval wisely tweeted, "you’re not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity" The inconsistent flow of new clients is also of anxiety for freelancers.
With experience and enough abstraction, you then share everything you know in the education phase. This phase creates multiple virtuous circles, notably letting you charge higher rates for your consulting activity and creating an audience for your first product.
Finally, with an audience, experience and cash, you can remove yourself out of services and sell a product that grows without you.
This model can only work if one's value proposition is differentiated enough. To make we need to sell, to sell we need to be heard, to be heard we need to conquer a space that’s our own. When online: don't try to be the best, try to be unique. The knowledge economy, with universities as its foundation, rewards hyper specialization. To escape competition while remaining relevant, aim for the goldilocks of positioning: no less than 10 and no more than 200 other people who say they do the same thing as you.
Hyper freelancing requires a broad set of skills. So many, in fact, that you can’t possibly be good at all of them. But as entrepreneurs of ourselves, this is an exciting self-development ideal. If freelancing is hard, this model is god mode.
Making good product decisions is almost diagonally opposite to making good consulting decisions. You need the ability to switch on/off the right parts of the brain easily. It's hard! That's why it's hyper freelancing. It's eclectic and intensely demanding.
This model is fantastic in theory. In practice, it's extremely hard to work out. So I started a list of all the individuals that fit this model of hyper freelancer, combining consulting, education and having their own products. Studying what made them successful is a good time investment. Here's the link to the full table: https://www.notion.so/supercreativeclub/3ddc0f52df4745fda12116d8c788c37b?v=f3d40d1f500146a2b7eedd4996e0d4e4
This model was inspired by articles by Patio11, Jules Ehrhardt and a twitter thread by Daniel Vassallo.
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Looking forward to hear if some of you are striving to reach this model!