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This tweet from my mentor Ramit Sethi blew my mind…
Just think about this for a second.
A potential client reached out to 15 personal trainers — and tried to GIVE THEM MONEY.
Yet only FOUR responded to her.
That means ELEVEN service providers had a potential client trying to give them money…and just never replied at all!
And I know from experience that this kind of thing happens all the time in the freelance world, too.
But that means there’s also a huge opportunity for freelancers who just communicate well and are easy to work with.
In fact, it reminds me of a saying that you only need two of the following three things to be successful…
- Deliver exceptional results
- Be pleasant to work with
- Meet deadlines
So if you can deliver exceptional results while meeting deadlines, then you’ll still be able to get clients — even if you’re a dick. (Though I don’t recommend it.)
Or if you deliver exceptional results and are pleasant to work with, most clients will forgive you if you’re not the most organized and don’t meet deadlines.
But it’s HARD to build your business based solely on delivering exceptional results.
First, by definition you have to be one of the A-listers in your profession. Otherwise it’s only a matter of time before someone more skilled than you comes along and does an even better job than you.
Plus for almost every project, there are a ton of factors beyond your control that determine its success.
So even A-list professionals in their field can’t produce outstanding results 100% of the time.
Which is why betting the success of your business entirely on the results you deliver is a risky proposition.
On the other hand, if you’re simply pleasant to work with and meet deadlines, plenty of clients will hire you — even if you only produce average results.
And you can absolutely control if you communicate clearly with your clients and make their lives easier. (In other words, if you are pleasant to work with.)
Plus you can also control if you meet your deadlines.
Which is why someone left the following comment on Ramit’s original tweet…
“Reliability requires almost no talent yet it [is] the most important input to success.”
Now at some point, the results you deliver for your client do matter.
Especially as you charge premium rates.
But here’s the thing…
If you’re pleasant to work with and deliver on time, it buys you time to develop your skills.
Since as long as you’re reliable, clients will still want to work with you as you develop your skills.
And then you can raise your rates over time as your skills improve and you’re able to deliver exceptional results more consistently.
In fact, someone else shared that exact story in a comment on the Twitter thread…
“Most of my copy bombed. Yet clients hired me again and again as I got better simply because I turned in work on time.”
So remember, being easy to work with and delivering on time costs zero dollars and takes almost no extra time.
Yet it can help you stand out as a professional (or Pro-Lancer) and generate plenty of repeat business.
Which arguably makes them two of the most profitable things you can do with your time.
And if you’re able to deliver exceptional results on top of being reliable at the same time?
There’s no limit to how successful you can become.
And if you want to see even more surprising examples of how simply being reliable was enough to create a successful service business…
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