Why Your Freelancing Clients Don’t See You As The Expert

Juan Guerra // September 21  

For years, I struggled to get clients to see me as an expert.

I constantly found myself dealing with fire drills and scope creep or getting hired just to implement the client’s vision, even though I knew we could do something better.

I dreamed of a project that would turn things around. The one where people saw me as an expert, implemented my input and didn’t push my prices down.

Years passed by like this until I realized that clients did see me as an expert.

That’s exactly why they hired me.

The problem was they didn’t see me as an authority.

Being an expert is not enough. To be able to lead clients and deliver results, we need to have both the responsibility and the authority.

Without authority, we end up with all the responsibility for delivering results but, with none of the possibility to decide what and how things get implemented.

Not good when trying to grow a business.

It’s A Trust Problem

To get authority I needed to build trust in 2 areas.

I needed to show I had domain expertise. I know how to put the project together, set up the equipment, coordinate needs, etc. That’s the technical part.

But to position myself as an authority, I need to show I understand the client’s vision and that I have developed a process that will get them exactly from where they are right now to where they want to be.

If they didn’t feel I was aligned with their vision, that I understood their type of business and their challenges, they may hire me but, they would be the ones leading.

If Things Don’t Change

In the beginning, I thought that was my role. To serve the client by catering to every element of their vision.

But the truth is that in the end, I’m the expert.

I’m the one who knows best, what’s possible and what’s not. So by not leading them down the path that would deliver the best results, I was actually doing them a disservice.

Not only did they feel like they needed to do all the thinking, but they also got poor results because I didn’t get to apply my expertise.

They may feel like they got results, but they were unsatisfied with the experience because they had to do all the thinking and decision-making.

This can lead to losing status in their eyes, which can even create the space for abusive relationships if clients feel entitled.

In the end, by 2019 I ended up borderline burnout. I felt unappreciated and undervalued. This affected my motivation, income, and my ability to deliver a world-class experience.

Until I decided to turn things around.

Turning Things Around

Trust is built before you start working together, during the marketing and sales process. It’s solidified during the onboarding process as you start working together. And it’s maintained during the delivery by living up to the standards you established during the sales process.

I will share with you the process that I used to turn things around, allowing me to build trust, and get the authority I needed to perform.

This is what worked:

  1. I started by defining my Ideal Customer. I looked into past projects to identify the ones where we delivered the best results with the least stress. The ones where we had the best connection with the client, understood each other the best and, provided the best experience. Decided to focus on solving only that problem for that type of client.
  2. Then, I ditched the packages and developed a Unique Productized Offer designed to solve the problem in a step-by-step process. Forcing us to align ourselves with the client’s vision and their challenges. (This is really hard if you didn’t figure out step one)
  3. Lastly, I took ownership of the marketing and sales process. I did this by implementing a clearly defined system designed to filter out clients that didn’t fit my Ideal Customer. This turned sales calls into valuable strategy sessions. I stopped trying to qualify myself by talking about the process, I was trying to qualify my customer. I focused on their vision and the results rather than on the path to get there. I challenged them to see if they had clarity on their vision.

Going through this process allowed me to transform my business and my life.

If you are a freelancer with a couple of years in the field and you feel like you get hired just to implement the client’s vision, is probably because your focus is too broad.

A broad focus makes it hard to communicate in a way where clients feel understood enough to trust that you are aligned with their vision and their challenges.

Niche down, ditch the packages, and take ownership of the sales process and you’ll see how clients will give you the authority you need to deliver outstanding results.

And will be willing to pay you more in the process…



Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you transition out of service delivery:

  1. Subscribe To The Beyond Freelancing Newsletter. Get 5 minute emails focused on helping marketing freelancers get their time back, stop trading time for money by transitioning out of service delivery, and get on the path to growing a scalable business. Sign up for free updates Click Here.
  2. Watch The From Freelancer To Business Owner Training. This free training will show you the counterintuitive approach that allows you to transition out of delivery, get your time back, and scale your business without having to sell courses or become an agency. To save your spot on this free training Click Here.
  3. Work With Juan And His Team. Accelerate your transition into business ownership, have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are doing it right, get the support, the accountability, and the community to ensure your success. Book a call to see if the program is right for you Learn More.

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