Since I began freelancing, I’ve had the opportunity to work with nearly a dozen high-growth startups and world-class experts. What’s more is that I’ve never had to negotiate for the premium prices I charge for my content marketing services.
Because I’ve done such an effective job of defining my value propositions, branding myself as an expert within my field, and getting my content in front of new target audiences, I now have a 1–2 year waiting list for new freelance clients.
However, that certainly didn’t happen overnight. My rapid success in the world of freelancing is the result of a lot of strategic positioning, hours of hard work, and good timing. If you’re ready to get serious about freelancing and multiplying your self-employed income, here are my top ten tips for earning more during your first year.
Build on existing customers
Getting new customers is always more difficult, time-consuming and more stressful than working for the existing ones. That’s why it’s always a great idea to keep in touch with your top customers from the past. Maybe they need a new website or an existing website needs refreshing? Maybe they’re willing to invest in better security or accessibility of their website? But remember: a phone call will be much more efficient than an email! This talk is also the best way to keep good relationships with the clients.
Get out of the cave
The good way to get new customers is going to events and meeting new people. No, industry events are not a good idea. Your potential clients are not there. They are at business or entrepreneur events. You need to know how to talk with them. Preparing a short elevator pitch about the way you can help website owners grow their online presence would be good training for it. These few sentences will let people know you as a professional and self-confident person and gave them a chance to remember you.
Became an advisor, not a contractor
There are plenty of job offers on the internet. But there is always somebody who offers a lower price for the same work. So why should a client choose you instead? Start advising, build a relationship and an expert profile. When they start to see you as helpful, it won’t take long for them to ask you for a quote for your services. Helping the community for free, answering questions on Facebook groups, on Quora or Reddit is also a good way of building your personal brand. Brand of an expert. Customers like to work with experts and pay for the expert knowledge.
Add a cherry on the top
When you create a website, you spend only 20% of your time working on the elements that the client will see. The majority of the time you allocated to backend work. So spend a few extra hours to add some visual features, some unique elements, to achieve that wow effect for your customer. Something that will make them feel your work is worth their money. They will remember this feeling, and you will have a chance to be recommended to the next client.
Learn from the experts
Learning takes time and time in freelance is very precious. That’s why learning from the experts can prevent you from reinventing the wheel and help you avoid some costly mistakes. If your project isn’t as sophisticated as you want it to be, go to the Behance and watch how to design from similar projects. If you are not very good at writing contracts or creating offers, you could use document templates made by Perfect Dashboard team.
Offer recurring services
Your bills are recurring. Your project based salary is not. What will you do with a deadline for a mortgage installment payment if your web project still hasn’t been accepted? Instead of offering your time by an hour, change it to a monthly plan. This plan should contain as many hours and costs as the customer would usually pay you in a month. As a next step, you can think about selling some additional features, such as backups and keeping website software updated (using Perfect Dashboard or another tool).
Don’t leave money on the table
It’s hard to price IT projects right, and you can often send a quote with a price that is under or way over the budget. That’s why the fundamental question you should ask the client is about the budget. Knowing the answer lets you adjust the scope of work and then place the attractive offer.
Do you, in one week have no job to do and in the next have to work for two? It may be a good idea to find another freelancer, with whom you could exchange jobs. You can share your projects when you have too many and receive some when they are swamped with theirs. It is also beneficial if you get a larger project that requires more people involved. It’s also good when you want to go on holidays. Your customers should not be left alone.
Ask for recommendations
You are one of many web developers on this planet. Why should a client pick your services? You need to stand out from the crowd. When your customers are happy with your work, they will recommend you to their friends or business partners. So do your best to satisfy your existing clients.
Keep yourself organized
Working for yourself with no boss can be a major problem because there is always something to do other than work, especially if you work from home. Kids, the dog, laundry. Any of it sounds familiar?? A good solution for that is to go out and work from a coffee shop or a coworking office. If you want to focus on work, use your earphones and turn on a concentrate playlist on Tidal or Spotify. Still not enough? Task list can be a great power tool to boost your productivity.