Importance of Adding Value as an Entrepreneur or Freelancer

Everything changes. Change is the only constant in this Universe said Heraclitus of Ephesus. It’s funny how something talked about 2,500 years ago still isn’t understood by the majority of people. If you’re trying to succeed in business, whether you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur, your first objective is growth.

You can grow your business from nothing to something by making the one and only constant, change, work for you, not against you. When trying to take advantage of the ever-changing nature of the business world, the MEV factor is key. Each person you come in contact with has a Minimum Expected Value or MEV they want to gain from interacting with you.

Even if the person is unaware that he has this expectation, the factor is there. Being aware of each person’s MEV factor is crucial. Here’s why.

There is no job security

If you have a job, you’re in danger of losing it each and every day. No matter how your boss talks to you, no matter how great your team thinks you are, no matter how long you’ve been there. No matter how much value, money or clients you’ve brought to the company in the past. There is no such thing as a secure job. Don’t believe the hype.

In yesterday’s world, maybe. Today? Forget it. You’re only as valuable as your current work is to the company.

If you add more than your job’s MEV factor to your work, you’re safe. Your boss will fight to keep you when the company is going through a rough time. As long as the entire ship i.e., the company, doesn’t somehow sink, you’ll be fine. Your job is secure.

So add more effort and quality to your work than your job description’s MEV, and you’ll have a secure job. Do more than is asked of you. That’s how you get the universe (aka change) to work for you, not against you.

Or go find another job.

There is no client fidelization

Your client will cheat on you if you don’t satisfy them. Yup, you heard me right. There is no such thing as a faithful client. And there shouldn’t be. The world is too competitive for that. If you’re a freelancer or running your own business and you’re working with clients, understand this: the moment your work quality is equal to the client’s MEV factor, you’re in danger of losing that client.

Say you’re a mobile developer, working as a freelancer. You have a client with whom you’ve done business and developed a bunch of apps. You already know he’s very pleased with what you’re doing for him.

Tables Turn Quickly

However, if the next app is poorly coded and starts to crash on certain devices, you’ll see yourself losing that client. If not on strike one, be sure that strike two will make him ask around for another developer.

Realistically speaking, once you set the bar to a certain point, you can’t go back. Ever. In business, your future is determined by what you are doing now. Your core client base can shrink in a matter of days if you stop bringing more than what those clients are expecting.

The key is adding more value to people’s lives. Offering more than is expected of you. Trying to go beyond your requirements. Pushing yourself harder than your client, your boss, your colleagues. Then you’ll be unstoppable.

The Shark Story

It’s a shark-eat-shark world out there. It’s a known fact that some sharks (the obligate ram breathers) will die if they don’t keep swimming. The Great White Shark, the most well-known of all 400 shark species, is a good example. This guy would literally choke to death if he were to stop, because his breathing depends on him moving forward in the water.

If you are in business for yourself, either as a freelancer or as an entrepreneur, you are a shark. That is to say you will also "die" if you aren’t moving. There is no auto-pilot for this. Your business will die if you are not constantly growing it. Just keeping your current numbers for your business requires effort.

Growth has got to be your reflex. Adding more value to your clients is the result. Did you know that, probability-wise, you are more likely to be bitten by another person than a shark? It’s a competitive jungle out there and adding more value to everyone is how you survive.

It’s also true and worth noting that there are some less evolved species of sharks, with inactive lifestyles, who just lie on the bottom of the ocean and breathe by buccal pumping. They can live by standing still, because they’re already on the bottom. It’s a sad shark’s life down there in the dark. Make sure you aren’t a buccal pumping low-life.

becoming a Great White

So I’ve convinced you to add more value? Ok. Let’s take the mobile developer example again to showcase the growth principles required.

Constant improvement

You should read everything you can get your hands on. From mobile design tutorials to mobile JQuery implementation, just one new thing learned about your craft each day will put you in a secure place with your clients.

Constant research

Your scripts aren’t perfect. There is room for optimization of algorithms in any code, even human DNA. So don’t be too self-defensive about your work. If you have friends or colleagues who are experts in the same field, ask as many questions as possible about your work. Consult with anyone who knows what their are talking about.

Just one single improvement made to your skill from talking to a dozen people means you’ve grown.

Constant feedback

Interacting with clients is huge. Understanding their changing needs for each project. Have your clients complete surveys. Your work should be much like wine is – it grows better, every day.

Wrap Up

The 3 steps above apply to any sort of shark, whether an entrepreneur, a freelancer or just a free spirit currently working for somebody else. Do you think that these principles and the MEV factor apply only to business world or could these work in other areas of your life?