I’m Filipino and I don’t like working with other Filipinos because they’re not my people.
This isn’t an identity crisis.
I know exactly who I am and who I serve.
(I also couldn’t clean a house if my life depended on it so you can’t hire me for housecleaning or domesticate me for your house wife. Nice try.)
Filipinos are cheap. They always want the cheaper price. The bargain.
I’m not cheap. I’m not frugal. I suck with money and I have way too much debt than I’m willing to admit.
So penny-pinching clients are NOT what I’m trying to build. At. All.
In fact, I’m not even a true minimalist, in the sense, even if I refuse to buy furniture.
My right people?
They’re holistic and creative entrepreneurs and heart-based small businesses. They’re international.
My clients span the range of New Zealand, Australia, UK, Canada and the US! I’ve got a globalized biz, yo!
I’ve never thought in terms of race, because I’m not racist.
Rather than connect my clients through ethnicity, I’ve chosen to do so in shared interests.
Filipinos are ‘my’ people in a purely ethnic sense, but they’re not my people when it comes to my ideal client.
For one, I still have no idea how to price myself in a ‘local’ market. A general rule of thumb is to cut your normal ‘Western’ price by 1/3. That’s your local price. But even that isn’t good enough. Filipinos will try to get their relatives to do it for FREE. Maybe it’s practical, in their terms, but is it more professional?
Who cares! Why would I want to focus on a market that’s cutting my real value 1/3 of the price and more!? Am I crazy? Then again, I design in dollars, even though the Almighty dollar is failing, weak in value, and practically fake. Are we crazy?
Rejecting these opportunities is a no brainer. If I keep with this mindset to serve locals, I’ll stay perpetually broke and never get out of this mess! The mess of student loan debt and credit card debt and Americanism in a foreign place.
(Sometimes, I feel like an ass that I’m not willing to give up my Americanism and relate more to it than my Filipino side. Sometimes I feel like an ass that I’m not really making a full attempt to acclimate here after nearly 3 years, because I still can barely speak the language. And oh, it’s ok for foreigners and expats not to speak it but since I’m brown and look like everyone else, I should speak like everyone else.)
I might feel like a maarte (picky, often associated with snobbish) ass when I turn down job offers and projects but really, I’m doing them a favor!
If you’re not my people, chances are it’s a reciprocated process. If you want to hire your friend’s third cousin for that logo project instead of the professional, I won’t be offended, really. I’m not your market anyway. And you’re not mine. Fair!
You are doing yourself a disservice if you work outside of your ideal client. These people will wear you down. Work with your people and reject the rest.
Now, I don’t mean to offend local clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with. When desperate times are desperate, you’d work with anyone, I guess. You’d even accept $400/month employment just for the ‘regular’ paycheck when you’re smart enough to make twice as much as a freelancer. But hey, you’re desperate, remember? Case in point, I think my “strategy”, if I even have one, would be better served going for higher end clients than a market that encourages 1/3 less price OR MORE.
You’re smart, so you better ACT smart, and cut your losses.
Quit playing small by taking on clients that do not serve you. Start serving the ones that matter.
How to Find Your Peeps
So it’s not always easy or apparent to get to the point where you may even know who to target and who your people are. Ask yourself: who would you absolutely love shooting the shit with, grabbing a cup of coffee, or tea, or beers with? Note if your people would even drink coffee, or tea, or beers. The type of person they are by what beverage you’d have with them might say a lot. Are they a Starbucks kind of person, or a green smoothie drinking person? Maybe they like cocktails, or local brews?
You should get along swimmingly with your people. You should also be at a point where you have some knowledge that would help them. Maybe they’re 2-3 years behind you and need advice to get to where you’re at. What would you say to yourself 2-3 years ago? What advice would you give?
You should know where your people hang out. What niche do you serve? Where do they go to shop? To eat? What do they enjoy doing? How much do they make? What do they spend on?
Tailor your message and brand to your right people. Your people should know they’re at the right place in less than 30 seconds. Make your tagline apparent to who you serve. Make your website work to appeal to your people and help them out.
Got a website that could use some work? Let me know and I’ll let you know how we can work together!
Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. Twitter • Facebook • Google Plus
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