image for post - FT048: How to Transition From Technical Skill to Big Picture Strategy with Marie Poulin

FT048: How to Transition From Technical Skill to Big Picture Strategy with Marie Poulin

Most designers, programmers, and other freelancers use their experience to help their clients strategize and figure out what work needs to be done to achieve the client's goals. But how do you sell this type of strategy work, instead of only charging for the technical work (design, coding, etc) that results from it?

Marie Poulin found herself in this position, explaining to clients how to integrate her work into the big picture strategy, but realized that she was only charging for the deliverable. In this episode, Marie explains how she repositioned herself as a web designer to a digital strategist, how she transitioned from only creating a deliverable to creating a big picture strategy for her clients, and how she gained higher-paying lifelong clients in the process.

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Marie shares with us:

  • Why she calls herself a Digital Strategist: Marie realized that she was doing more than web design for her clients. She was walking clients through how to implement all the available digital tools to get their business where they want, from building an audience and brand awareness to launching products.
  • How to find clients: Marie's main strategy is to use Twitter to find clients and link to people who might be interested in her skills. Once she got one big client, it has mostly been word of mouth and referrals.
  • How to approach a prospective client: Marie focuses on the client's goals in 6 months to a year and beyond. She also asks questions to make sure she knows how the business has evolved in the past and how the client approaches challenges. She needs to make sure that she will work well with the client in terms of how they communicate and organize material so they won't clash with each other over every decision. You need to be a leader and a partner to your client.
  • The fundamental skills required to become a strategist: In addition to working as a strategist, Marie also teaches freelancers how to transition into becoming digital strategists at Digital Strategy School. To be a digital strategist, you need to be able to take a peek under the hood of your business and a client's business by doing a business audit, and you need to know the practical aspects of running a business, such as how to run a client meeting, price services based on value, and put together a proper proposal.

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