People Only Know What You Tell ‘Em.


There’s a pretty simple philosophy that I think more freelancers (and business people in general) would be wise to adopt: People only know what you tell ’em.

If that sounds sinister, it shouldn’t. I’m not suggesting you start lying to people or withholding crucial information.

I’m also not saying you should start blabbering your head off and tell people everything you think they should know.

There’s a balance.

But something both those just starting out and those who have been at it a long time forget is that people make a judgement call on your character, value, rates or talents based on the information available to them.

For example, new copywriters often feel sheepish charging more than a couple bucks for their work.

“I don’t have the experience to justify it,” they tell me.
“I launched my business this year,” they write on their websites.
“I’m new to all of this,” they confess in meetings.

Stop that.

Don’t tell someone you just opened shop, and they might never know.

Stay mum on the fact that you’ve never worked on this type of project before, and they’ll never second-guess your ability.

Never lie. 
But never sell yourself short or talk yourself out of a job.

Get over the irrational idea that people can read your mind. Stop broadcasting your insecurities to clients. Stop apologizing.

And screw paying your dues.

If you’re a one-year writer with a ten-year talent, there’s no reason to start from the bottom.

Because your client really doesn’t care how long you’ve been doing this – until you tell them.

And they don’t mind that you’ve never handled a project like theirs – until you make them nervous about it.

All they care about is whether or not you can do the job. That’s the only thing you need to prove:

“I can handle this.”

And as long as you actually CAN handle it, the rest is superfluous.

Sometimes, that means convincing yourself, too.

Present yourself like the consummate professional.
Design a brand that has no business looking as polished as it does.

Walk into that meeting like you’ve done this a thousand times, and show off your talents like you’re the best damn “________” they’ve ever come across.

Because until you prove them wrong, you are.

People only know what you tell ’em – so tell ’em something good.


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