The early days of being a freelancer can be difficult, and it is important to make the right decisions and avoid mistakes.
One mistake that it is easy to fall into, is relying on jobs boards for all of your clients. While it is a good place to start, you need to quickly develop a better system of finding work, as these can be very competitive and with more and more people taking up freelance opportunities, and you may eventually become just another member of the crowd pitching ideas for a contract. Searching for work through jobs boards also takes away some of the control from you, particularly when it comes to your rates. Often the client will post the terms of the work, meaning that price, scope and timings are all set before you even get to look at what is to do.
Another common mistake is not marketing your brand or yourself as a freelancer. It can be difficult to create time to advertise your company, but it’s a necessary thing to do, in order to boost your exposure and find new clients.
To grow and attract new clients you need to market yourself and build your brand and reputation. Setting aside some time to market your company, update your social media profiles and write a blog about the industry is a great idea.
Also it is important to avoid is being tempted to take on every piece of work that comes your way. This can only lead to you being overworked, doing things that don’t pay what you would like.
Underpricing or overpricing?
Many think pitching themselves in low will guarantee the work, but the evidence suggests this isn’t always the case.
Your client is likely to have a budget pre-agreed and they will certainly want the work done well.
On top of that, if you undercharge to get the work, the likelihood is you’ll need to take on a huge workload to even out.
It is more important that you deliver quality in an assignment, rather than focus on the quantity of assignments.
Cheap can be a valid marketing strategy in an economic downturn – but cheap doesn’t do any favours for the contractor who is capable. Rate is a signalling mechanism, your rate signals to recruitment agents and clients that you are able. Quantity or quality – it’s your strategy.
According to freelance professional Laura Spencer, becoming an attractive proposition for customers is as simple as having the right mindset and demonstrating good value for money and excellent work.
She wrote in her latest post for IPSE Freelance Folder that the difference between success and failure in the freelancing industry often boils down to the understanding of the individual in regard to meeting the expectations of their customers.
As a result, Laura Spencer advised freelancers to focus on a number of key areas that will help them boost their client lists, including sticking to some simple tenets.
These are the same for every successful freelance professional and include always realising that clients are real people with real needs and therefore taking the time to understand what it is the client actually requires from a freelancer will reap dividends.
Furthermore, freelancers should always deliver on their promises; being the reliable choice for clients will keep them coming back again and again.
Plan with Confidence
Often, when a project is inspiring, it’s easy to get carried away and jump right in. A mental list for how you’re getting things done, will keep you organised.
It is important to maintain a sense of equilibrium through good times and bad. Complacency is much more likely to creep in when things are going well. Nothing gives a client peace of mind like a confident freelancer.
With this in mind, freelancers should not be afraid to ask questions in order to better understand the exact details of any new project, as this will ultimately lead them to being able to deliver their responsibilities more easily, on time and to fully meet the expectations of the customer.