Running a business can be just like playing a video game. If its first time you either sit down and read the manual or you just dive right in. If you read the manual you might know what buttons to push, but that doesn’t mean you won’t die. If you dive right in you will probably take some time to learn the buttons. In which scenario do you learn faster and gain more experience?
Admittedly I never read the manual. Playing the game is more fun than reading about it. I know a ton of people who treat freelance design the same way. You have seen other people’s websites (watched them play the game) so you know what you need to do to make it. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
There are a lot of different ways you could prepare before you just go about emailing potential clients. You can analyze the field to see what niches are being ignored in the design world. Bank interfaces suck. Most shopping sites suck. Online newspapers suck. There are a ton of areas that need our help, but get overlooked almost like the great video games that nobody plays because they aren’t talked about.
Once you find your niche go at it. Strategize (read the manual) about how you are going to approach things. Its fun to just dive right in, but have a clue of what you are getting into it. It will save you some trouble in the end.
Most importantly, execute. You have to play the game to really understand it. You can understand clients until you tackle them head on. Your first 10 might not be great experiences, but that 11th one will be great due to your experience in handling the situation. In any business execution is what’s usually missing in the ingredients to success. Talent and ideas can be found all over the place, but execution can not be bought.
Yeah, it might be a crazy analogy, but it’s Monday so work with me.