A recent thread on a forum I follow centered on how to ask for referrals to new clients. Some posters mentioned that they are reluctant to ask their existing clients for referrals because they don’t want their clients to know if they’re struggling. And they don’t want to ask other freelancers, because they don’t want their competition to think they’re weak. I admit that I sometimes grapple with these concerns, but existing clients and fellow freelancers can be great resources for referrals.
Here’s how to make the ask without making yourself look desperate:
Objective. Photo by Army.mil.
Many freelancers may think that a resume is a thing of the past—something only used to get a corporate job. So if you’re done climbing the corporate ladder, why would you need a resume?
Two reasons: Resumes can help you get freelance gigs and they offer a quick profile so potential clients can assess you.
I know, I know: The last thing you probably want to focus on is a resume. But the truth is many freelancers need them to apply for gigs. And having an updated resume is always a plus for your website because it gives clients a little insight into where you’ve come from and what you have to offer at a quick glance. A lot of freelancers I know don’t think they need this document, or think they’re too artsy for a resume—but it does lend a professional tone to your overall brand. Creating a professional resume that follows the norms can be a huge advantage.
That said, I realize many freelancers don’t know the new rules of resume writing. And yes, there are some new tricks. So I’ve put together this three-part guide to help you compile a winning resume, even if you never intend on applying for another job again.
She’s got a well-known celebrity client and tons of tricks for getting and retaining clients. And she wants to help entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.
That’s why I thought we could all get something out of an interview with Laura Roeder of Roeder Studios. This California-based social media and publicity guru has plenty to share about how she’s effectively positioned her company—and how you can do the same with yours.
This is word of mouth marketing. Photo by Hamed Saber.
Word of mouth works! A potential client hears rave reviews about your products and services from someone they trust. The advertising is believable and motivating. And it doesn’t cost you anything – other than consistently delivering a service that keeps your clients happy and coming back for more.
It’s surprisingly effective. One of my freelancing spheres is computer support to small businesses and home users. Over two years ago I reached the limits of my availability, and stopped advertising. Since then I have continued to receive hours of work most weeks purely from word of mouth. Two friends will be chatting over coffee. One will mention computer problems, the other will mention me, and another job is in the bag.
But word-of-mouth advertising reaches a very limited set of people. It only reaches as far as the friends of your clients, and only when there is a knowledge of their need for your services. That’s where testimonials come in. They take word-of-mouth advertising, and make it more accessible.
Over the last week Psdtuts+ and Vectortuts+ have been running a special event called Graphic Design Week that consisted of no less than 28 posts including tutorials, articles and giveaways. More than a few will be useful to freelance designers, including:
- Preparing and Talking About Your Graphic Design Portfolio
- Design and Print Bold Promo Cards in 60 Minutes
- Make a Quick’n’Dirty Letterhead in … MS Word!
- Make Your Design Work Look Awesome with a Product Mockup
- Win $3500 to Spend on the ULTIMATE Graphic Design Setup!
- And for readers just getting into design: Teach Yourself Graphic Design: A Self-Study Course Outline
So be sure to stop in at our Graphic Design Week Wrap-up post and browse around the great selection of articles.
Business cards are so important when it comes to networking. They provide prospects with our contact info and, more importantly, a lasting impression. My rule of thumb good business card design is if people are no longer “oohing” and “ahhing” over my cards, it’s time to make a change.
The following is a sampling of business card designs from Creattica.com. If you’re thinking of redesigning your cards, looking for a little inspiration or just need a little eye-candy over your coffee break, take a peek at the eye-catching pieces below.
Photo by jurvetson.
As a freelance writer, I always conducted my business exclusively via the Internet. I still do. There are still plenty of people doing the local, in-the-flesh freelance creative gig. That’s fine and the Internet as a marketplace doesn’t invalidate that way of working, and it’s good that we get to make choices in this area that suit the way we like to work. While good communication forms the backbone of all sorts of businesses, we’re going to approach the topic as relevant to the online business, where communication can be treated very differently.
Running an online business allows you to choose how communication is done, as simple a thing it may seem from a distance. Communication is the thing most businesspeople, including freelancers, end up spending most of the day on. Thus it’s important that you know how you want the communication to happen, how much of it you want to be doing, and how to make sure that communication is both efficient and effective by developing a skill for only communicating with clarity and purpose.
I hate to be a pessimist, but sooner or later something is going to go wrong — and it’s going to affect your ability to complete a project. It’s happened to me more than once over the years: I’ve gotten sick, lost power and faced other situations that spelled disaster for whatever I was working on.
I still get a little worried when I think about how I’m going to have to tell a client something has gone wrong. I’ve done my best to make sure that I’m ahead on my work, that even a catastrophe can’t delay a project — but I’m also prepared to tell my clients when something goes wrong.
Photo by Sphinx the Geek.
Some professions can be dangerous to your health. These include fire fighters, oil riggers, those serving in the armed forces, and even electricians. These professionals don’t take the danger for granted. They use special equipment and procedures to minimize the risk.
As a freelancer, you also spend your days doing activities that risk your health: sitting on a chair, typing, using a mouse, and looking at a monitor. Fortunately, the risk of injury when doing these seemingly safe activities for a prolonged time is becoming better known. And like those more dangerous jobs, there is equipment and techniques that help you minimize the risk.
Ergonomics is the science of work. It looks at ways of fitting the work to the user, rather than fitting the user to the work. Chris Adam’s simple definition is that “ergonomics makes things comfortable and efficient.” He goes on to say, “Ergonomics is commonly thought of in terms of products. But it can be equally useful in the design of services or processes.” In this article, we will look at both products and techniques that help.
The science of ergonomics is a very young field, and is subject to a lot of variability. Every person is built differently so it is hard to develop universal guidelines. I’d love to have your input in the comments about what works for you and what doesn’t.
The thirty-second episode of Freelance Radio, the official FreelanceSwitch podcast, is now available! This episode, the panel (John Brougher, Dickie Adams, Kristen Fischer and Von Glitschka) answers listener questions, talking about motivation, dealing with tough full-time conditions, finder’s fees and more. Subscriptions to the podcast are available via iTunes and an archive of all podcasts will appear in the podcast section. We hope you enjoy it!