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Landing new clients can be one of the most time-consuming tasks for the overworked freelancer–and it doesn’t pay you a single penny. Spending countless hours on the hunt instead of being billable isn’t the most effective strategy for the self-employed, so knowing how to increase the value of each and every client you have is a skill that you absolutely have to master.
Fortunately, doubling the income you get from your clients isn’t rocket science–it all comes down to using a few time-tested strategies for boosting their spending. Here are 3 smart things you can do after you land a client that can pad your paycheck for months (or years) to come.
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It’s can be difficult enough to complete a project off the top of your head. So when you get it back with demands attached and a client who is giving you attitude, it’s natural to get a little defensive.
But it’s not always the smartest thing to do as a professional.
This article caters to situations when you’ve really done all you could…like when a client says “Just write my website…it’s about Topic A and you can research that on the Web,” or “I like pink and black, make a logo out of that.” It’s geared towards circumstances when the client says, “You’re the professional, I trust your judgment,” and doesn’t give you a lot to go on, despite all of your prodding for more information.
Despite not giving you a good foundation, I’ve found that some clients in this situation can get a little uneasy. Even though your work may have been great, their expectations were somewhere else so no matter what you do, it’ll never measure up. There are times when the client really has nowhere firm to stand because he or she has left you without information, so it’s vital not to just take the heat—but to stand up for yourself and take charge of the situation, moving the project onward and upward (even if the customer has gone a little sour!)
When you’ve given it your all and your client is putting you in a pinch, what can you do? Take a breath and keep cool—I’ve got some tips to help you diplomatically explain your actions and avoid a temper flare at the same time.
Photo by JennyHuang.
This article won’t be for everyone. Not all of us care to grow a large business or automate our income. Many of us are perfectly satisfied to earn dollars per hours and that’s great!
However, I have a lot of freelancers ask me this question:
How can I scale my business? I can only take on so many clients before I lose my sanity, free time, and desire to work!
So for those who want to increase monthly income and perhaps even automate it, how is that possible for a freelancer–without simply raising prices?
Below are some ideas that I and others have used to scale and automate our freelance business.
Option 1. Productize Your Services
This isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds and the only way to truly automate and scale your income beyond six figures.
Now don’t instantly balk at this. I understand that not all of us would want to offer products alongside our services. However I encounter many service providers who want to scale their business but don’t think it’s possible to offer products as a service provider.
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As a freelancer, modesty will get you little. Unremitting self-promoters need only apply.
Expressing inadequacy or uncertainty can cost you precious time and money. Clients just want their job done. All they want to know is that you can do it. And you can!
We all have different levels of self-confidence and this changes throughout our lives. With age and experience, people tend to gain more confidence. Here are seven tips to help you excel now.
1) Visualize success. If you look at a map, yet have no destination in mind, how can you chart your course? Spend time regularly envisioning your ideal career situation so that you can figure out what steps you need to take to get there.
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Having a killer online portfolio is obviously invaluable to freelancers. The portfolio will show the quality of your work and get potential clients excited about what you can do for them. A great portfolio will sell you and your abilities–you just have to get people to see it.
Publishing a blog at your portfolio site can accomplish many of the same things, it just takes a different approach to get the results. Much like the portfolio, the blog will demonstrate your expertise, only it will do so by sharing knowledge instead of by displaying your work. Potential clients that have read the posts on your blog are likely to feel more comfortable with you and appreciate your experience and your abilities more than they would if they had never seen your blog.
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I’ve been a freelancer full-time for over 6 years and a credit card holder for about 8 years. I love being able to set my own hours and being able to only work when I want to. While others face a hassling commute and complain about their daily grind, I enjoy a work situation I love.
The one downside, of course, is that with freelancing, finances can really be up and down. It can make credit cards more than a little tricky. By making most of the mistakes it is possible to make, I have found that freelancers should be careful with the plastic and keep the following in mind:
1. Look for other types of credit. As a freelancer, waiting for that check can sometimes be hard. Not all clients are prompt in paying you, and that can create problems. Clients may be tardy, but your bills still have an annoying tendency to be due at the same time each month –- whether you are getting paid or not. Credit can be one way to make sure that you can fill any financial gaps, but just because you need credit does not mean that credit cards are the best option. Lines of credit can be more flexible and far less expensive, for example. If there are times when you know you will need to borrow to pay your bills, be sure to select the best credit option.
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Read a few books and websites with marketing advice and you’ll soon encounter a discussion of the “elevator speech,” the compact little monologue you’re supposed to have prepared to deliver at a moment’s notice at networking opportunities and chance encounters.
The theory is that you should be able to present yourself effectively to a complete stranger in the time it would take you to share a ride in an elevator. Whether that is thirty seconds or a minute, or even slightly longer, you are supposed to distill the essence of who you are, what you do, and what you offer into an irresistible mini-pitch that opens up opportunities for you with new contacts.
Great idea. In fact, the only things wrong with it are:
- the basic concept and expectations, and
- its execution by most freelancers.
So–you’re the kind of guy who knows AJAX is not just a household bleach. Or maybe you’re the kind of gal who knows CSS really stands for Cascading Style Sheets, not Cansei de Ser Sexy. You also know PHP is a scripting language, not a hallucinogenic drug, that jQuery is definitely not a rap artist, nor is Ruby on Rails the latest power-metal band to set public radio on fire.
No, you know the truth–you know it because you’re a coder. To say thanks, here are a bunch of nifty links for you (and a handful of equally awesome links for us proles everyone else). Continue Reading
Carbonmade is a site where freelancers can create simple and professional online portfolios for free. They want to give you free stuff to reward exceptional creativity: 2 x WD Passport 250GB External Hard Drives and 2 x Corsair 4GB Flash Voyager rugged USB thumb drives, with 6 one-year premium subscriptions to Carbonmade up for grabs, each worth $120!
Entries will be judged by Carbonmade people Spencer Fry and Dave Gorum plus Collis Ta’eed and myself. Hit the jump to learn how you can win one of these nifty prizes! Continue Reading
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I was recently involved with a web magazine that used the Freelance Switch job board to advertise for a few positions. The quality of applicants was fantastic, compared with those some other sources referred.
The positions were ideal for freelancers who wanted some of their work to be regular, without having a ‘job’ and losing the benefits of a freelance career. They involved doing some writing and self-editing two or three times a week, taking up maybe an hour at a time.
We got far more submissions than we had jobs to fill, of course, and I spent most of the week going through applications and sorting the best from the rest.
It wasn’t a particularly fun experience—writing and editing is what I do best—but I did learn a lot about why some freelancers aren’t getting the jobs they apply for. Here are some tips on landing them—a list based on the things that applicants at our magazine impressed us with and annoyed us with. Consider this practical feedback!
Photo by ktylerconk.
After nearly five months, I’m now convinced: remote working is the best working arrangement I’ve ever had.
Living in different cities, finding inspiration in a constantly changing environment and always meeting new people sure is sweet. It’s not without challenges though, and my Remote Working Works for Freelancers post lead to some interesting questions.
How do you find accommodation? How do you manage client demands? How do you find work? I’ve taken the time to answer these questions–plus a few others–to help other aspiring freelancers make remote working a success.