Use Expert Advice to Grow Your Freelance Development Business
Over my 10 years as a freelance web developer, one important lesson I’ve learned and that has significantly helped me overcome business obstacles and improve my decision-making process is this: get personal advice from from industry experts.
Whenever you’re stuck with an important business decision, feel free to ask for advice from expert advisors within your industry whom you feel can provide you with better answers and solutions to your business problems.
In your freelance career, you will inevitably come across obstacles that will slow you down and prevent you from making progress. When this happens, you may feel like you have hit a dead-end, with no way to more forward.
I should know, not too long ago I went through this. Somehow, I had (wrongly) decided that only I was going through this particular problem I was facing — and as such, only I could find the solution.
Occasionally, I did succeed at solving my own problems. Other times, however, I got stuck. Horribly. The more information I consumed, the more confused, frustrated and lost I felt. And yet, I never thought of asking a real person for help.
With time, however, I slowly came to believe in one important idea:
Many of the individuals whom you see as successful in your field go through similar obstacles as you do. As such, these experts have the ability to guide you more effectively on the best way to approach your problem.
Had I realized this from the start, my career as a freelance web developer would have grown at a much faster pace.
To make sure you don’t make the same mistake that I did, in this article, I will elaborate on three main points regarding asking expert advice. My goal is to help you overcome three main obstacles. I’ll show you:
- How to stop being hesitant — and finally become confident to ask for help.
- How to ask experts ‘good’ questions so you get valuable responses.
- Where to find expert advisors and why it’s important you do so.
To begin, let’s start with the first point — and explore what beliefs might be holding you back from asking for advice.
Confidently Ask For Help From Experts In Your Industry
As I mentioned above, at the start of my career, I avoided asking for any kind of help or advice from others.
“Why should I ask other people for advice?”, I used to think. I was smart and perfectly capable of solving my problems myself — and I had the power of the internet with its enormous resources. I didn’t need any help.
Little did I know that this wasn’t me, but my big ego talking. It wasn’t because I thought I was the world’s smartest person. It was simply because I was afraid to ask for help.
Examine your thoughts and see if you feel similarly. Does the prospect of reaching out to an expert make you feel uncomfortable? Do you feel you won’t be able to communicate your problem effectively — and as a result, will look ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’?
If that’s the case, you need to change your mindset immediately.
Here’s what I mean:
The two biggest fears which might be preventing you — and the majority of other freelancers — from asking for help is:
- Failure to create a good impression: When asking for help, we are afraid to ask ‘obvious’, or ‘stupid’ questions which will make us look ignorant. We don’t want to create a bad impression, especially in front of experts we admire. So we put off asking them for advice.
- Being ignored: One thing that scares us more than anything else is rejection. We don’t want to show others we are weak, lost or need help unless we are absolutely sure we’ll get a response. But in real life, chances are we will get ignored — and that scares us from putting ourselves out there.
What you need to do is become OK with these two outcomes.
Your mindset should be to simply accept these fears, and ask for advice. Getting a ‘no’ or being ignored isn’t as bad as it sounds. And if it happens, simply move on to asking another expert for advice (there are tons of them out there) until you get a response.
Think of it this way: Is it better to ask experts for help and risk that one of them thinks you’re an idiot, but another one helps you push through the challenges you’re facing in your business. Or is it better not to ask anyone for help, so no one thinks you’re an idiot, but instead struggle on in silence while plateauing in your business?
Ask The ‘Right’ Questions To Get The Right Answers
You have probably heard this saying more than a few times:
‘There is no such thing as a stupid question’
I disagree. And so do the millions of experts who get asked dumb questions on a daily basis.
You don’t want to waste your chances or the expert’s time with dumb questions that you could have answered yourself. We all value our time dearly and so do the expert you would like advice from. Therefore respect other peoples time and make sure you have given your problem serious thought and researched possible solutions.
Try not to ask broad questions like: “How can I get more leads for my business?” Instead do some research on the many ways there’re to get leads and pick a method that fits your business and your skillset. Let’s say you decide on posting killer industry content on LinkedIn with the intent of generating leads from it. Now you will have a much easier time finding the right expert and asking much more specific questions.
Your questions should clearly and concisely explain your situation. Don’t ask them to do business research on your behalf. For example, you can say that “I tried x, y and z solutions and didn’t get good results. I want to achieve ‘a’ goal. What is the best way to approach this problem?”
If you structure your questions like this, you will show experts you’ve made an effort on your part to solve your problem. This will make it more likely that they will take out the time to seriously answer your questions.
Find Expert Advisors And Use Their Advice To Grow Your Freelance Business
There are many relatively free ways to find expert advisors for your business. You can:
- Connect with influencers in your industry through Facebook and Twitter as a start. You can join Facebook Groups and DM experts on Twitter to ask them any questions you may have.
- You can ask questions on forums such as Quora and Reddit, both of which are vibrant communities full of experts looking to help their peers. Here, you simply ask a question and watch as you receive one answer after another.
While these methods do work, they aren’t exactly fool-proof ways of getting expert advice.
This is understandable as these are free, public platforms where anyone can comment. If you want a more fool-proof method of getting expert advice, it will require some investment on your part.
Clarity.fm is a website where you can find experts in nearly every single field of business and work. Here you can initiate calls (in exchange for a fee) with expert across many industries who have been successful in developing their businesses. They run successful businesses and many of them have faced the exact same problems that you are now facing. It’s a golden opportunity for you to stand on the shoulders of giants. To see past your challenges to the solution that lies behind.
While this service isn’t free, I assure you, it will be one of the wisest investment you’ll make in your web development career.
I recommend you do your research beforehand for any problem you’re having. Try coming up with solutions yourself first and then compile a list of questions when you’re stuck. This will prevent you from wasting time and will help you get to the root of the problem more quickly.
To recap, here are the three main points we’ve discussed till now:
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions due to rejection and fear of creating a bad impression: Prepare yourself in advance that you may face negative outcomes when contacting an expert for advice. Don’t let that hinder you. Prepare your questions and ask them anyways. If rejected, move on to finding another expert willing to help you out.
- Ask good questions if you want to get good answers: Don’t expect experts to do your research for you. Try to find solutions to problems yourself and implement those solutions. If you get stuck, then get in touch with an expert and explain your whole situation. This is the best way to ask effective questions and get great answers.
- Find experts on popular community forums, and if you’re really serious, on Clarity.fm: Forums such as Quora and Reddit are full of experts willing to give expert advice. But if you’re serious, head over to Clarity.fm and have a call with an expert. This, in my opinion, is the best way to get expert advice.
As a web developer, your freelance career is your business. And like any other business, it requires investment. And getting in touch with expert advisors who can provide you with valuable advice, tips, and strategies to grow your freelance business is a worthy investment you should make.
Doing this will save you time and energy, both of which you can now spend on getting more clients and on growing your business.