Don’t end up like the cobbler

Don’t end up like the cobbler

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘the cobbler always wears the worst shoes’ or some variant of this (substitute cobbler for cobbler’s wife / children). Whichever it is, it means the same thing:

The cobbler has the worst shoes because they’re spending all their time making them for everyone else.

And what’s wrong with that I hear you ask? 

Well, wouldn’t you rather buy shoes from a cobbler whose feet look incredibly well cared for?

The kind of cobbler whose shoes look so well-crafted you’re standing there thinking ‘wow I gotta get me a pair of those, it looks like she’s walking on air.’ A cobbler whose demonstrated their skill so well you want to buy from them, and they don’t have to waste time convincing you.

I see so many businesses and brands forcing themselves in front of people rather than demonstrating their skill and letting people come to them. Often it can look desperate, and nothing kills a brand like desperation. 

Now, I’m not deluded enough to think that you don’t have to put yourself in front of people – of course you do – especially in the early days, but if you do this while sharing your skills with the world it makes your sales pitch a lot more convincing. 

You can use your blog, website, design projects you share on Instagram etc to help convince clients to work with you, rather than asking them to trust you with no real evidence. Plus, it’ll stop you from feeling you have to accept a really low price for your work as you’ve put the time in to show you practice what you preach.

I know these days you wouldn’t get your shoes from a cobbler, but look at it like this; if you’re searching for a web designer you want to see what their own website looks like don’t you? I do anyway, I’m terrible for it. I need the ‘proof’ in advance that they can do what I’m going to pay them for. 

And I’ve landed on quite a few web designers’ sites that are just a shitty landing page. It’s such a turn off.

With the pool of freelancers and businesses just getting bigger and bigger you can’t afford to lose customers at the first hurdle.

Sure, you’ll probably be fine if you have a naff website and can whip out your portfolio when needed, BUT why not tip all the cards in your favour and show off your skill at the outset?

There’s so many people that don’t bother.

Writers without a blog.

Social media ‘experts’ with two followers.

You get the gist. Why not get ahead and show people that you can do what you say you’re going to do.

Yes it means more work but in the long run, but it’ll set you up as an ‘expert’ (that word makes me cringe too but it’s all I’ve got) and you won’t need to work as hard to convince people to work with you. In fact, you’ll probably be able to start getting choosy about which clients you take on.

I know what position I’d rather be in. 

And don’t tell me you don’t have time, just watch one less episode of Queer Eye on Netflix.


Photo by Xavier Teo on Unsplash

Ashley is a copywriter + digital content strategist. She's also a firm believer that the best way to eat a scone is jam before cream. She helps creatives, entrepreneurs and brands get paid to be their fabulous selves. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @_ashleyhoyland.

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