A very common way of transportation in South East Asia are so called motorbike taxis. They're waiting at almost every street corner. You can always spot them because they're wearing a special jacket. In Thailand these jackets are orange. Mostly.
What fascinates me over and over again is how they operate. They basically have one area where they are allowed to pick up customers. They're not allowed to pick up customers in any other area. And they're almost always waiting for customers. At the exact same spot. Every single day.
A truly regulated market where no one is allowed to rise to the top. Where everything is distributed equally among drivers by rules introduced by the government.
And what astonishes me about this is that most of them don't even seem to care that much about it. They don't seem to care that they're spending most of their time waiting. Maybe they do care about it and would prefer to spend time with their families instead of waiting for customers. I don't know.
And this reminded me quite a bit of how freelancers are operating and working these days. Freelancers are the motorbike taxis of the modern world.
Freelancers, just like motorbike taxi drivers are waiting at the street corner for customers to arrive. They spend most of their time waiting.
Well, not exactly. They spend most of their time trying to find customers by aimlessly rushing from one networking event to another. Another form of waiting and hoping. But almost as useless. Not all freelancers. But many.
Freelancers, just like motorbike taxi drivers spend a lot of their time not doing what they're good at. They spend most of their time networking. And not freelancing the hell out of the skills other people are paying them money for.
Now for the motorbike taxi drivers the solution is pretty simple and straight forward. All they'd have to do is to strike a deal with some of their regular customers to pick them up every single working day for a flat fee.
Let's say that one driver gets 5 or so regular customers that pay him a flat fee to be picked up from their homes and if their work place is in the same area also brings them back to their homes.
This will make the motorbike taxi driver a lot more flexible and allows her to spend more time with her family. Maybe even enough time to start a second occupation.
I know. This is not feasible because of many government regulations and the aspired equal distribution of clients to regulate competition. Or maybe it is. What do I know?
But what's holding you back from doing the same as a freelancer? What's holding you back from only signing clients that are willing to pay a flat fee for your services every month?
Government regulations clearly don't. Competition clearly doesn't. No one really does...
I know why. Because it's hard. It's hard to come up with ideas on how you could put your skills into a product people have to pay for each and every month instead of putting it into a cheap service for a one time service fee. It's also a lot easier to get people committed to a one time payment instead of a recurring payment.
But is it really? If you're providing a service people really need, why not provide it a bit cheaper in a subscription model that will in the end take away all the unnecessary transaction costs of finding new clients?
I know, this advice might not be practical. Most advice might not be practical because of dozens of written and unwritten rules. Because of hundreds of regulations. And even more so restrictions.
Most advice is not practical. Until you put in the work and make it practical. Until you make it work for you. And then it is.
And that's something worth thinking about...