Tendering for work: Pick me! Or don’t!
“We think this project may require a less formal approach than you described.”
The freelance research market is competitive, and as such I am regularly knocked back. For me this is one of the hardest parts of the job, because it is hard for me not to take it personally as I’m a sole trader and I am the Ruthless Research brand. Nothing to hide behind. I set out my stall and hope my application will be the best one, more so that I will be the client’s favourite. Like me! Like me! Pick me! More often than not they don’t pick me. Ouch.
But that’s the nature of this job.
What I’ve learned over four years of freelancing is that you need to be confident in your offering and be sure that you are representing it well. Be proud of what you are.
So when I didn’t win a job because my approach was too ‘formal’ I though you know what, fair enough. I’m quite a formal researcher. Because here’s who I am as a consultant:
- I plan methodologies that deliver on client requirements without compromising on ethics or quality.
- I take a systematic approach.
- I introduce structure and logic where it wasn’t before.
- I take a bunch of stuff that is seemingly unwieldy (or even haphazard!) and I sort it out until it makes sense.
- I give the client back what they need in a concise, useful and useable format.
- I bend over backwards to accommodate client working styles and funder requirements.
- I do all this in a friendly and non-intimidating way so clients almost don’t notice I’m doing it.
That’s what I do. Plenty of clients need that, and appreciate that. For many to have someone come in and take my approach is a relief.
But it’s not for everyone. For some clients it’s a bit old skool.
So if I tell you what I am and it’s not for you, you’re better to pick someone else.
And I’m OK with that!