In last quarter's Upwork LIVE: Marketing and Sales Strategies for Getting Clients with Ease, Chris Acebu shared tips to help talent propel their businesses to the next level. It took a year to align our event calendar with Chris' availability, but it was worth waiting!
From crafting a compelling profile overview to finding the best projects, Chris had a lot to share in what was essentially a 1-hour business crash course for independent talent:
- How to Package a Profitable Service Offering
- Building Your Money-Making Machine on Upwork
- The Secret to Profile Optimization
- The Halo Effect and Manufacturing Trust
- Leading with Your Unique Selling Point (USP)
- Demystifying Rates + 2 Pricing Methods
- Crafting a Compelling Profile Body Copy
Keep reading to learn my key takeaways from this event:
1. Pick an industry you know you'll enjoy
If you're new to the independent professional business, don't ask what's the most profitable industry. Your service needs to be aligned with you personally, your past work experience, passion, strengths, and interests. You can look at it from a financial perspective, and in all honesty, money will not sustain you wholly.
When thinking of shifting careers, or industries, pick an industry you know you'll enjoy. I always say this to independent talent I meet in events—if you don't want your work, it will show through your work output and meetings. And I did experience that at one point in my career. But I'm glad to be in a better place doing something I'm happy and proud to do.
2. Align your services to economically-valuable skills
If you eventually want your business to be profitable, you need to align your services to economically-valuable skills (or the five parts of a business)
- Value creation: helping your client find out what their customers need and help them create that value
- Marketing: assisting clients in attracting business and keeping the customer's attention, eventually building demand for the business
- Sales: assisting clients in converting inquiries to paying customers
- Value delivery: assisting clients in giving customers what's promised, making sure they're satisfied with the service
- Finances: assisting the client in managing finances and minimizing/avoiding money-wasting practices to keep the business running
Chris says that if your services are aligned with these business parts, you can be sure that there is some level of profitability versus other service offerings.
I asked Chris, "What if our skills are not aligned with these economically-valuable skills?"
If you've been an independent professional for some time, you know that our careers evolve—whatever business you offered in the past has more or less changed.
For new talent, think deeply about your services and see what skill is related to any of these. Here's an example: imagine you're a virtual assistant for a real estate client. Eventually, your client asks you to manage the books, and you've grown your skills in bookkeeping. You can develop these skills in real estate bookkeeping and grow your business with this additional skill.
Are we saying that some skills are not profitable? Every skill can be converted to a service, but specializing in your skills helps grow your independent business.
3. Create your unique selling proposition (USP)
You can use this easy-peasy formula to create your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The USP is what makes you and your service better than your competitors.
There are plenty of Unique Selling Proposition formulas, but following this formula will help you draft your profile title and profile overview.
Formula: what you do + market you serve + benefits/results/transformation
- What you do: Virtual Assistant
- The market you serve: Real estate
- The benefits/results: Get more buyers
- Your USP can be: I'm a virtual assistant focusing on real estate that helps clients get more buyers.
This USP can guide you in drafting a more unique profile title, making you stand out from the other virtual assistants in the marketplace.
4. Leverage the AIDA model for writing your profile overview and proposals
You can use the AIDA model when writing your overview and your proposals. This model helps you follow a sequence for your overview and proposal.
AIDA stands for:
- Attention: Write something that grabs your client's attention which helps create interest or curiosity
- Interest: Generate interest for the client by talking about their problem, and the solution to their problem
- Desire: Discuss the results you can provide or what will happen after the client works with you
- Action: Add a call to action to ensure your client knows how to reach out to you.
5. Shift your mindset
The last lesson I gathered from this event is: to shift your mindset.
Before the session began, Chris said that we should challenge ourselves to think differently. Instead of thinking—"I know this already,"—consider: "what can I learn from this?"
Reframe your thinking by asking: "how can this work for me?"
Chris put it in the context of the event, but I believe it's something we can carry with us wherever we go. A shift in mindset will train your brain to think in different ways and get the most out of an event, a workshop, or a general situation.
View the full event recording to learn more tips and tricks!
Get to know Avery
Freelancing since 2015, I'm an Upwork Community Moderator during the weekdays and the Upwork Ambassador in Manila during the weekends. Graduate of a degree totally unrelated to what I do (AB Political Science), I fell in love with community education and inspiring people to move, which is why I've kept both roles in Upwork to help people in their freelance business.
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