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  • Jenny Stallard

The power of knowing your values as a freelancer

Yes, that's different to knowing your value! We're not talking rates here, we're talking dealbreaker benchmarks against which you can balance the decision to work with (or not) a client, person or brand.

So, what are values in business?

A value can be something you won't negotiate on, something you feel, or something which is a key part of your business.

They can be tangible - sustainability, for example - or more 'feels' based, such as respect, or honesty. And everyone's business values will be slightly different.

You'll be working within your values to a certain extent, just by being you! But making a list of your values, and having it to hand when you are doing business, can be hugely powerful.

You can cross-check your values when you're approached by a new client, when you see a new opportunity or someone asks to connect.

Knowing what your values bring to your business is important, too. The power of knowing your values is about the power of saying 'no' - when you know what is important to you and your business and the future of your business, you will find saying no comes more easily.

You'll find clarity with the people you ask to connect with, or follow, too.

Suddenly in a word of noise, social media posts and 'hey! look at me!' landing in your inbox, you have a way of cutting through the chaos. Your values are like a set of guidelines, and you can refer to them before you pitch, before you apply for a contract or tender, or even before you go to a meeting or networking event.

How to begin

Find a quiet place, and some paper and a pen or a notes app. You could use a word doc but I'm an advocate of a pen and paper.

Start by writing down words that feel like they fit with your work. I've mentioned honesty and respect, so think of words in that area.

Then think of tangible things - 'pays on time', for example, or 'based locally'.

Next steps: Narrowing down the core values

When you have a long list of values, it's time to narrow them down into your 'non-negotiable' values. This is the list you'll now judge every new opportunity against!

Aim to have around 10 key words or core values to refer to.

There's no rule on that, it's just what I've found works for me and clients!

Once you have that shortlist, write it down somewhere you can keep and see it. Near your desk, or on the inside front page of your notebook.

If you want to delve deeper into your values and how they'll work in your business, coaching is the next step. Get in touch to book a discovery chat, and see how coaching can help you.

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