This is a guest post by Connor Gillivan, CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp.com. If you are new to freelancing, this article will guide you on how to optimize your earnings. If you are looking into doing freelance as a business, these 5 freelance best practices will serve as an example of how to get bigger and better projects.
Freelance has been the way of life for independent professionals who want to avoid the traditional eight-to-five office career. Equipped with skills, a laptop, and good internet connection, anyone can start earning money, even at home. Starting is one thing, but being able to sustain and improve a freelance career is another.
Many freelancers face several problems as they begin their business. There are challenges like:
- Finding your first client
- Working on projects that fit your skill set
- Expanding your network for more opportunities
- Knowing when to take on more work
- Deciding whether to increase your rates
Venturing into the freelance world entails a lot of work, but it’s easier to survive and thrive when you follow freelance best practices.
Maximize Your Freelance Business
If you are new to freelancing, this article will guide you on how to optimize your earnings. If you are looking into doing freelance as a business, these 5 freelance best practices will serve as an example of how to get bigger and better projects.
1. Find your niche.
It is normal to find multi-skilled freelancers who are eager to accept as many projects as they can at the start of their new ventures. You need money, so you grab onto any kind of work just to get paid. That isn’t very strategic.
If you want your freelance career to grow, you need to focus your skills on a particular niche. If you need to go deeper to find your specialization, then do it.
For example, digital marketing comes in many forms. You may have some experience here and there, but your expertise lies in social media marketing. Niching down will give you the chance to develop your skills and platform-specific knowledge like creating captions for social media posts and organizing content on a social media calendar.
When pitching yourself to clients, you can emphasize your skills related to social media marketing. This will catch their attention especially when they are seeking freelancers within that area.
2. Build a stellar portfolio.
A freelance resume is different from your corporate CV. One of the freelance best practices you can apply is to learn how to build a professional portfolio. This is especially useful for creative entrepreneurs. Your portfolio will act as a visual demonstration for potential clients.
If this is your first time to freelance, a portfolio can definitely help back you up. It gives clients the impression that you know your stuff and that they should have no second thoughts about hiring you.
For example, as a professional web designer, you should have a high-quality personal website to show as your portfolio. In there, you illustrate all the knowledge, including tricks, that you know in web designing. You should also include links to your previous projects.
One of the best investments you can make throughout your freelance career is a well-established profile. A resume and cover letter educate potential clients about your skills. A technical portfolio will catch their interest and convince them to choose you over other applicants.
3. Expand your network.
The easiest way to land projects is by joining freelance hiring websites. These are platforms where clients post what they need and freelancers reply with what services they can provide to help. The advantage of such platforms is that you need not wait for opportunities to come. Postings are uploaded to the site regularly.
There are, however, other ways to find work. Your objective is to always initiate new connections, whether these are with clients or with fellow experts within your field. Make use of different engagement channels such as:
- Social Media (e.g. most industry experts and CEOs are active on LinkedIn and Twitter, and there are some really nice Facebook groups for freelancers.)
- Online Forums
Another way to grow your network is by getting on the right stage. There are hiring websites that specialize in specific niches. FreeeUp, for example, is a global online freelance platform designed for ecommerce businesses. The freelancers in this network belong to the top 1% of talents in that industry. If your experience is in this field, you should be able to find the right projects that will maximize your skills and your earnings.
4. Package your services.
Packaging your services to clients is one of the freelance best practices that most of us fail to realize. Most of the time, businesses need several tasks for one area of their operations. They’d be twice willing to hire a person who can solve multiple problems.
Think of this: If you are a freelance writer, you can only earn so much from someone who is willing to pay for one blog article. However, if you turn your freelance business into an all-in-one shop for all sorts of writing needs, you will have more work.
For example, knowing that a client needs to write content for their website, you can offer several packages that will include:
A) Website content + Blog writing
B) Product description writing + SEO
C) Website content and Blog writing + SEO
D) Content Writing + Copywriting + SEO
Option C and D may be three times the cost of A or B, but is also three times more valuable to the client. Instead of fixating on the rate, clients will realize the relative cost you can provide for their business. When you pitch a lineup of packages, they will compare you with yourself (i.e. skills) as opposed to comparing you with competitors.
5. Learn how to write a successful sales pitch.
What makes the difference between earning just enough to pay your bills every month and earning more to keep your business growing? Great pitching skills. Clients pay for what they think your skills are worth. Hence, you must make sure that they understand the value you can offer to their business.
Think of your value proposition. Freelance best practices include research and understanding what your clients need in order to create an on-point sales pitch. You should be able to explain the solution to their problem with concrete examples in the form of a portfolio, work experiences, and testimonials. You should be able to put yourself ahead of the competition.
Clients focus on you and your skills. You focus on them and think of ways to help their business. Once you’ve perfected your pitching skills, landing new projects will be a walk in the park.
What’s your freelance best practice?
There are tons of other techniques that you can use to boost the profitability of your freelance career. At this point, you should have a good grasp of the freelance best practices to get your business started. You should also be able to find your own best practices from personal experience along the way.
If you need more tips on freelance work and projects in the ecommerce niche, check out the FreeeUp blog. If you want to build a business out of your freelancing career, listen to the Freelance Transformation podcast and win more clients.