The evolution of freelancing

Free Guide: How To Become a 3.0 Freelancer

Apr 10, 2023

Science museums make it a cinch to comprehend and visualize the evolution of everything.

But when you're smack-dab in the middle of it, you might not grasp the importance of what's happening around you.

It's only in retrospect that it all falls into place.

So, today, we're hopping aboard a time machine to venture through the e-learning design industry.

We'll check out how things have transformed over the past three years,…

…get a bird's-eye view of the antiquated beliefs about e-learning design services,

…and examine the more modern 2.0 model that's still stuck in the past—

you never want to be behind the curve.

At the start…

There Was The '1.0 AGENCY'

Back when e-learning design services had a big barrier to entry, the 1.0 Agency dominated the field. (They're still around and pretty darn popular!)

1.0 Agencies operate on outdated thinking:

  • A fancy office and a top-notch coffee machine. They do it because they think it impresses clients. (And the clients never visit.)
  • They bind themselves to a specific location. When hiring, they don't cast their net globally, just within their city.
  • They assume they need to offer every possible service and niche under the sun so they can reel in as many clients as possible.
  • Stress is SKY-HIGH because, as a full-service agency, expenses are high. If a 3.0 Freelancer (which we'll reveal in a moment) goes a couple of months without signing a client, it stings, but it's not a matter of keeping the lights on. For many 1.0 Agencies, that's the case.
  • And, similar to other agencies (like creative, ad, graphic design, web design, etc.), 1.0 Agency profit margins are 6 to 15%.

1.0 Agencies are a dying breed, but most still cling to this model.

Then Came The '2.0 FREELANCER'

  • In my opinion, the 2.0 Freelancer was born in 2012 when Articulate launched Storyline and their E-learning Heroes community.
  • The bulk of a 2.0 Freelancer's work involves "converting" legacy content. (Organizations often scramble to adapt to change.)
  • Being mostly technology and tool-driven, the 2.0 Freelancer can't explain the core problem they're solving. (But, they know they're helping someone and getting paid for it!)
  • When it comes to pricing, the 2.0 Freelancer rarely knows why they charge clients a particular amount. They have no justification for it.
  • More refined than the 1.0 Agency, the 2.0 Freelancer has abandoned the office space, searches globally for clients, works with virtual assistants or contractors (but still operates in multiple niches and offers various packages... like a spa).

The 2.0 Freelancer is immature in many ways…

They require a bit more critical thinking about the systems in their business.

Keep in mind, running a 1.0 Agency with a physical office and payroll requires a decent level of entrepreneurship—because you need enough revenue to cover all those expenses…

...whereas a 2.0 Freelancer could sign a couple of clients, have no clue why they charge what they do, and STILL earn more profit than a 1.0 Agency.

However, the 2.0 Freelancer did pass the baton from the 1.0 Agency, but there's still a long way to go…

That's where the 3.0 Freelancer model comes in.

The '3.0 FREELANCER': Where the future lies

This model is a marriage of two previous ones: the rock-solid ‘1.0 Agency’ and the nimble ‘2.0 Freelancer.’

  • You're not after fleeting results. The 3.0 model is about creating something substantial - a robust brand, a clear vision, and a sound structure that harkens back to the 1.0 Agency's solidity.
  • You retain the agility of the 2.0 Freelancer, without any excess baggage or infrastructure.
  • Specialization is key - you focus on one niche and aim to be the very best at it. Easy peasy.
  • Forget about vanity metrics like revenue, and zero in on profit. But never, ever at the expense of your clients.
  • You live and breathe client acquisition - it's where 70% of your attention is at. And with your streamlined work, non-essential tasks are a thing of the past.
  • Your sole objectives are clear-cut: 1) achieve amazing results for your clients and 2) build up your cash reserves.

It's all about specialization, cash flow, and simplicity

The 3.0 FREELANCER model is where you want to be.

It’s the next step in the ever-evolving world of freelance work.

It's like the missing link between the solid, but perhaps a bit inflexible, 1.0 Agency and the nimble, but sometimes scattered, 2.0 Freelancer.

With the 3.0 model, you get the best of both worlds - the stability and structure of the agency model and the flexibility and focus of the freelancer model.

It's like a Darwinian leap forward in the freelance ecosystem.

So if you're looking to adapt and thrive in this ever-changing landscape, the 3.0 Freelancer is the way to go.

Ok, that's all for now. Hope this was helpful.

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