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All businesses look at solving a problem through a solution. So why should freelancers be any different?  If you’re in business for yourself or want to be, you need to think about what kind of solution you’re offering. If you’re solving a problem, that’s a good start. If you’re just “doing stuff,” you may need to rethink. If you are a freelancer, it is important to look at yourself as a solution provider.

“As a freelancer, you should do the same – offer a solution. Of course, you need to promote your services so that clients can find you to offer them a solution. You can offer solutions, but there are many different problems, so it is difficult to say that you solve them all. You can pick one (or three or four) and say, “I can help you do XX,” says David Gargaro, Consulting Editor.

Offer a solution through your service

It is important to understand a basic difference here. As a freelancer, you might be offering a service to your customer. But through that service you need to address a need or solve the problem of your customer.

“My business coach would say this is the difference between the features of a business and the benefits. I’ve conditioned myself to think that I offer solutions – through my services. I think it does bring a different perspective, seeing my company through customers’ eyes as opposed to my own,” says Diane Hall, Virtual Right-Hand Woman.

Understanding customer needs is the first step

“Freelancers are engineers and artists who use words to create strategic masterpieces that speak. Bearing this in mind, we freelancers are responsible for understanding the client’s need and strategizing a path forward that helps the client sell their product/service, maintain and keep happy clients/customers,” says Nazareen Ebrahim, Owner at Naz Consulting.

Keeping this in mind, as a freelancer it is important to understand what you customer wants. This holds true for any profession. If you are in the business of offering a solution then you have to know what the problem is or what the need is. Engaging with your customer in understanding, strategizing and then offering the solution is the core of a freelancer’s job.

Solution centric approach means more ‘moolah’

“I think that if your services are offered in anyway in exchange for dollars for hours – get a different business model. By offering solutions you can vary the delivery channels – increasing your income streams: info products, classes, tutorials, coaching, etc. This way, you’re in the drivers’ seat instead of the client meaning you make money whether they decide to hire you or not,” opines Barbara S., Creative Director, Publisher at IASECP Magazine.

Relook at the way you are freelancing. Offering a solution not only increases your credibility in the market, it also helps you interact more with the client. The result is: regular work and greater client confidence. The client starts taking you more seriously and values you time and effort more than before. Also a solution centric approach helps you look at your business from the eyes of the customer instead of just yours.

Use your experience to offer a solution

“I deliver seminars on starting your own small business as well as how to write your book proposal and sell it through the traditional route – are our expertise and lessons learned, which we are sharing. I used to give my time away for free – but people take it all much more seriously if they commit, and our clients’ hard earned money is a great incentive to do something with their gained knowledge,” says Tanya F., Mentor Helping Transform Your Ideas Into Publication at Book Proposal Mentor.

Helping customers with online seminars on starting your own small business or how to write your book proposal are just some examples of how you can help your customer address a need. You can effectively use your experience and expertise to solve your customer’s problems and also get paid for it.

To conclude: All customers out there are hungry for solutions and someone who can help ‘fix things’.  A Businessweek article argues the case of freelancers as solution provider in the best possible way. It says “Service providers come and go, but solution providers stick around.”

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