If there’s one thing that now-me would urgently tell past-me, when starting this whole self-employed business, it is this:

Beware of „cost“ focussed clients,
seek the „investment“ minded ones.

Adapt your communication accordingly.

If your services are seen only as „cost“, no fruitful and growing relation will come out of it - and with those clients, no matter what you do, it will not be honored.

If your services are seen as an „investment“ on the other hand, there’s a clear mindset that you will provide added benefit, and this is a whole different mode of operation.

(this orginally was a short burst of tweets, maybe I'll add some more thoughts to this post later.)

Added thought #1:

I think many of the hurdles and disappointments that happens in (my type of) client work is based on a misconception of what we have to offer, and how this is marketed. To me the single-most point of failure is:
Selling your time instead of selling the value you will bring.
There are some smart thoughts out there around this topic, and yet nearly every other self-employed person I meet is still doing this; chopping down tasks in time-based packages, and then applying a (in many cases not really economically sane calculated) hourly or daily fee.
Not only is this a cul-de-sac in terms of growth -- how many hours are you realistically able to sell?
24h a day times your fee and that's the maximum of what you'll ever be able to earn.
But what makes this worse is that you are hurting yourself for being efficient. And you always will be judged by this number - how expensive is your time - against others, no matter how experienced you are. In fact, the more experience you have, the higher your fee has to be to set you apart and this is in small measures maybe migitated by the "faster" way you are able to work. But this is nuts - effectively your interests and the client's interests are misaligned. Instead of having an incentive to solve a problem as quickly and as efficently as possible - what of course would be in the interest of every enterprise, you are either doing that and be disgruntled about the meagre financal outcome, or you are doing it and bill more hours than you really did spend on that, resulting in a client who has no way of knowing how capable you really are. Or you are billing at a higher fee, which then will leave the client thinking about that other person who on paper charges only half.
But the really nasty part is that we are often confronted with the task of having to set a "price" for work that at that time is only hypothetical, and we are lying to ourselfs and the client by thinking we can really chop down the tasks ahead. In all these years I never had a project where this billing by time worked out realistically, by which I mean that it is NOT treated as a fixed price against which you'll have to struggle when the real work starts. Sure, clients would love to know upfront what they are "buying" -- but in reality our type of work is so much subjected to changes and inputs only happening along the way, that any kind of pricing upfront is a gamble. And if you're settled on selling your time only, you've already lost.