A couple of years ago, I had a beer with a friend who is a successful freelance programmer.  I asked him how he got work?  I expected him to say something about referrals, networking, or workshops.  Marketing, in other words.  

Instead, he told me, “Oh that? It’s simple.  I’m just on a job board.”

I dug a little bit and he explained that it was a job board specifically for enterprise clients with software projects.

His marketing was non-existent, but it didn’t really matter.  He had covered the essentials of what he needed to be successful:

  • Access to clients
  • Who had money
  • Who needed significant work

He only sold a few engagements a year and lived a very comfortable life.

The essentials of larger businesses doing client work are similar:

  • Access to clients
  • Who have money (not their own, organizational budget)
  • Who have larger projects and/or recurring needs
  • Who are connected to and share with a network of similar people

( … and a few additional fundamentals for operations.)

If you were to advise an entrepreneur who was starting a business like yours, what would you tell them are the essential qualities that make it work well? What’s your short list?

How close does your business match those qualities?

Featured image is Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (c. 1485) Accademia, Venice used under public domain.