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Seth Godin: “Are you a freelancer or an entrepreneur?”

This is a very instructive, highly-evolved form of a classic Seth Godin riff from a great interview on the Creative Rebels Podcast. Hosts David and Adam ask some sharp questions and there’s a nice UK-flavour to the podcast that you don’t get too often in interviews with Seth. Recommended. (HT: JW)

Many of the people who are listening to this are freelancers, not entrepreneurs. Freelancers, like you, me, work with our fingers, we get paid by the hour or by the job. We don’t make money when we sleep.

Entrepreneurs are the opposite: they shouldn’t do the work. They should hire people to do the work. They should build something bigger than themselves. If you’re an entrepreneur, the barriers are “Where do I raise funds, and how do I scale?”

If you’re a freelancer, neither of those things are important. If you’re a freelancer the only question is “How do I get better clients?” That’s it. Because you can’t work more hours. The only difference between great freelancers and good freelancers is that great freelancers have better clients. Better clients demand better work, better clients pay on time, they pay more, they talk about your work.

Better clients are not simply richer versions of bad clients – it’s a totally different attitude. And better clients tend to want to work with freelancers who are the kind of freelancers who deserve better clients. So you have to start by acting that way first. You start by acting, not to say “What do you need done? I’ll do it,” because if your motto is “You can pick anyone, and I’m anyone,” then… it’s a race to the bottom. The alternative is to say “No, I do this, and I do this specifically. And I’m sorry if you want that, here’s a phone number of someone who does that, but I do this.” And that’s scary, which is why very few people do it.

Seth Godin – Interviewed by David Speed and Adam Brazier on the Creative Rebels Podcast

Compare and contrast:
Seth Godin: freelancing and the hard work of being an entrepreneur

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