One thing I’m discovering about this freelancing business is that it is difficult to predict who my customers will be. There are the businesses I planned to support (aerospace, high-tech), and then there are the people who find me. The latter group includes some of my nonprofit work but also space people.
The advantage of customers you seek out is that you generally know their business and what is expected of you.
What I’m coming to learn about customers who find me, however, is that I get into lines of business I would never have considered on my own. I am a bit of a space geek and tend to forget that there are other lines of work out there. It is in this way that I’ve found myself writing for an entrepreneur focused on automotive technology, a boxing gym, and now an instructional design team looking for help with leading a management training project.
Another nice thing about being asked to work “outside my range” is it’s a bit flattering. Obviously if someone is asking for services that I don’t normally provide, that’s a sign that they see something in me that’s capable of doing it, which is also gratifying because they most likely had the opportunity to hire someone who does work in that business and picked me instead.
Of course the big challenge, when stepping out of one’s comfort zone, is to maintain the humble spirit of a learner. If you keep challenging yourself–and it looks like I’ll be doing that well into the future–you prevent yourself from becoming complacent and you keep learning something new.
New customers can help you do that–often when you least expect it!