The other day I realized that the relationships that I have been developing with my clients are similar to what I remember of the dating world. Of course, it’s been over 20 years since I was allowed to date anyone other than my wife, but from what I can recall, the similarities are there. Curse her and her “no dating” rule!
What kind of relationship are you in with your clients?
Flirting – You’re interested in each other, but haven’t made a commitment to do anything yet. Perhaps they are currently committed to another, but that relationship is struggling and you have an opportunity to provide this client with something fresh. You are regularly searching for a reason to call them, to get their attention, in hopes of creating that first date project.
Dating – You’ve been working with a new client and you are still trying to impress them at every opportunity. You aren’t exclusive yet, but you both like the work that has been produced and don’t see any reason to stray. You are looking forward to their calls, and they readily answer yours.
Married – You know what your client likes and dislikes, and you know how to ask in order to meet your creative or budgetary needs. You are mutually exclusive – you don’t do any work for their competitors, and they only use you for projects within your skill set. You might have had a few fights, but the relationship is strong, and you are fiercely protective of their business. You are seeing your creative projects grow over time, and the affect they are having on the business is positive.
Some relationships aren’t going to progress to the next stage unless you both take the time to develop them, and just like in the dating world, you may not want a long term commitment with each client you encounter. Mutual attraction, mutual benefit, and mutual satisfacton should result in a strong union.
Whichever stage you’re at, remember that flowers and chocolates don’t make up for big mistakes, but can be helpful to show them that you appreciate them, and never give them the chance to be bored with your performance.
What kind of relationships work best for you; the security of a long term commitment, or the excitement that comes with a new tryst? Continue Reading
Whenever a potential new client contacts me, I like to investigate them to find out as much about them and their business as I can before I contact them. This helps me get an idea as to what they are going to be like to work with, as well as the type of product they are looking for.
Sometimes this might seem a bit creepy.
Using nothing more powerful than Google (but really, is anything more powerful?) I’ve been able to find out where they live, what kind of business they run, how long they’ve been in business, pending or historic court cases (red flag!), social media presence, and more. I haven’t found much value in digging into their Facebook accounts, but Twitter and LinkedIn have proved fruitful. I’m not really interested in their personal life, just their professional presence.
I’ve had mostly positive reactions to this process, as most clients seem to understand that my diligence in researching is only to ensure I can provide quality work for them that is on strategy with their existing brand, or an intentional move away from it.
Like I said – “mostly” positive reactions. In one instance, knowing too much about one client was a quick way to getting no work, with a bonus of a mild tongue lashing. But this just shows his level of understanding of the internet and I have a feeling he might have been a tad bit difficult to work with.
I think the positives outweigh the negatives, but perhaps I should change from a freelance writer to a freelance information finder…and embrace my inner creepiness!
How much time and effort do you put into new prospects, and have you found any great tools that help you dig a bit deeper? Continue Reading
There are a number of professional organizations available offline to help you meet new associates, new suppliers, and ideally, new customers. From formal and well established associations like the Chamber of Commerce, to newer social media and offline networking Tweetups.
Some freelancers are more comfortable with the anonymity that cold calling and cold emailing provides, while others find that they are more successful in acquiring new business in face to face situations. Continue Reading
Another great thing about being a freelancer is the number and diversity of clients you can have. By introducing them to each other, you are creating valuable connections that will likely result in more work for you. If you can help your clients be successful, it’s almost a sure bet that you will benefit, too.
Here are 5 ways to introduce clients to each other:
Drink More – Ok, maybe not alcohol, but schedule a coffee meeting between two or three clients that share a similar industry (but not direct competitors). Introduce them to each other, and see how the conversation goes.
Eat More – Host a BBQ and invite a few of the clients that you enjoy working with. Don’t have a place to have a BBQ? Plan a picnic in a local park or at the beach. It doesn’t have to be a large expense, just tell them that you’ve reserved a spot, and they are welcome to bring their own picnic lunch and have a relaxing day.
Play More – If you share an interest in sports, invite your clients to a game. If you’re like me and don’t have the sports gene, host a LAN party or xbox tournament.
Write More – Create a newsletter or email to share amongst your clients. If you have a regular newsletter, create a “featured client” section. Send regular updates when new clients sign up. If your clients think you’re busy and successful, they’re more inclined to recommend you to others and keep work coming your way.
Give More – If you like to volunteer, invite your clients to join you. Community gardens, local shelters, and local or national associations can use an extra set of hands, even if it’s just one day at a time.
As the host, it’s your responsibility to set the tone for these meetings. Find the balance of professional and casual that works for you, and then take steps to find the people that share your values.
Good luck, and have fun! Continue Reading
There’s a very exciting online event happening in a few weeks. It’s the first-ever International Freelancers Day, to be held on September 24 and 25.
This two-day virtual event is the biggest-ever FREE online-video conference exclusively for solo professionals. It’s part of a global initiative to celebrate independent workers everywhere and the tremendous impact they have on the economy.
The conference will feature an all-star cast of 25 high-profile speakers, including bestselling authors and industry thought leaders such as David Meerman Scott, Brian Clark, Anne Handley, Mari Smith, Liz Strauss, Scott Stratten, Jonathan Fields, Dan Schawbel and many others! Continue Reading
During our recent review of The Money Book, we asked for your very best money-saving tips. The huge number of comments and savvy advice we received shows that our readership definitely knows a thing or two about saving pennies!
After careful consideration, Joseph and Denise, the authors of The Money Book, helped us pick the top money-saving tips from our readers. Each winner will receive a copy of The Money Book, directly from the authors.
Check out the winning money tips after the jump! Continue Reading
Over the weekend I was taking a quick look at my expenses. Being a freelancer has made me hyperaware of where money is coming in, and where it’s going out.
On my Mastercard statement, I found that I am paying for two different hosting plans, for two different websites. Since I don’t own the domain to one of them anymore, it was an unnecessary expense. Sure, it was only $5 per month, but that’s $60 a year that could go towards my most important expense–me! Continue Reading
One of the great things that I have found about freelancing is the thrill of finding new clients. One of the roughest parts of being a freelancer is waiting to see if your new client is going to pay you for the services you provided.
If you don’t have a client tracking system in place to measure how long it takes to convert a prospect – your potential customer – into a client – a paying customer – you probably will have a hard time predicting what your monthly income will be.
I am not an Excel guru, but I have created a quick spreadsheet that you can use to track how long the process takes. If you are diligent about filling in the data, you will soon be able to analyze where your new customers are coming from and what the fastest method of converting them is. I know, not all customers are the same, but with more data you should find more consistency.
I hope you find this useful – and I already know that it’s not pretty, I’m a writer, not a designer, but it should be a good tool to help you start to predict your revenue for the coming months.
Kudos to you if you recognize any of the clients. Continue Reading
I am loving the freelance life, but until my plan of winning the lottery becomes a reality, I will continue to be on the lookout for ways to maximize what’s going into my wallet while minimizing what’s coming out of it.
Raj Dash wrote an excellent article about creating multiple income streams for digital nomads. I’d like to build on the foundation that he’s written, in hopes that you might be able to find a way to put a bit more cash into the pockets of your pajamas.
- E-books, books – Raj’s article is a bit skewed towards writers, but anyone can write and sell a tutorial on a topic they know thoroughly. If you plan on selling it, have a professional editor/proof-reader go over it. Excellent content will sell, but if it’s full of grammatical errors, you’re making it harder than it needs to be.
- Ad Revenue – Your website could be making you money. Google Adsense can make you some cash if you have a lot of traffic. BuySellAds.com will place ads on your site, and split the profits with you. Entrecard has an interesting system to monetize your blog. With a good ad system in place, you can focus on providing quality content to get people to your site.
- WordPress Templates – If you’re a designer, whip up a few templates using the WordPress engine. Make them look cool, and sell them for $50 each, nonexclusively. 50 people paying you $50 is much better than one person paying you $1500 for an exclusive design. Consider selling templates on stock such as ThemeForest.
- Sell Stock – Collis wrote a great article with 9 tips that you can use to increase your income streams. If you haven’t read it yet – check the link. If you have, are you using any of the techniques he described?
Finding new clients and landing new projects is very exciting, but if you don’t have to worry as much about your income you can start to do pick and choose the jobs you want to do. It is possible to stop getting paid for your time, and start getting paid for your ideas.
I’ve been exploring a few different ways to promote my freelance venture, and I thought I would check with you folks to see if there is anything that I am doing wrong, or could be doing better.
One of my more recent attempts to drive traffic to my website was by using Facebook PPC (pay per click) ads. The main reason that I felt comfortable trying this was because I came across a free coupon, giving me a $25 credit to see if this might be a good way to have new clients find me. Continue Reading
Starting out in a freelancing career can be tough. Ranging from freelance authors to graphic designers and programmers, freelancing comes with many of the same hurdles. One large aspect is building your personal brand – how do you get people to recognize you for your skills? Thankfully the internet has provided a very simple medium for sharing and obtaining information in a very short time. Many tools abound, so how do you know where to start to reach your audience? Continue Reading