Working for yourself is one of the best things you can do with your life, and freelancing is the first step to eventually becoming a business owner and having all the freedom you can ask for. You may already be a freelancer with years of experience, or maybe you’re just starting out. Whatever the case, one thing is sure about this way of working and living: it’s your job to find new clients all the time so that you can keep making a living and be able to work independently and as much as you’d like.
The bad side of this is the uncertainty that goes together with offering your services to others. You can never be sure whether you’ll have enough work next month and that thought itself can sometimes prevent you from being productive today.
Even if you have a great relationship with your existing clients, or have almost sealed the deal with a few new ones, nothing is guaranteed in the online business world.
To stop having this problem, however, and to have the peace of mind that money will be coming in and you can focus on doing focused work right now, you’ll need to get better at landing new clients.
For a start, let’s stop making some of the most common mistakes that are currently lowering your chances for success and costing you clients in the future. Here are some of them:
1. You’re not presenting yourself in the best way possible.
When pitching a client, or even when creating your portfolio or communicating with someone willing to work with you, you must be absolutely sure that you’re the right candidate for the job. If you’re not, there’s no chance the client would believe that too.
I know that there is sometimes a lot of pressure in freelancing, but if you don’t sound confident enough in your abilities, they’ll feel your insecurity and will just find someone else who’s more self-assured.
So before you start getting depressed that you won’t work on any new projects next month, work on building some character, increasing your self-esteem and becoming determined that you’ll find the work only you can do.
An easy way to do that is to remind yourself of your good qualities, to constantly repeat that you have all it takes to do a great job for every client you reach and that competition doesn’t have anything to do with it because you’re unique and do things differently.
Over time, this will help you charge higher prices (which is a sign of confidence but also quality), build a name for yourself and actually do a better job every time.
2. You’re not improving your expertise all the time.
In life and in business we need to be willing to learn new things all the time. If we don’t, we’ll be average and no one would really want to work with us as there are smarter, more experienced and motivated candidates out there.
Don’t make that mistake. Accept your freelancing career as a process, a never-ending journey. Become a lifelong learner by developing new skills and improving your current ones, reading about your field daily and staying up-to-date, trying new strategies and approaches to the work you do, creating content online and thus building your personal brand.
An employer is more likely to hire a freelancer who has a site on his own, for instance, with a nice design, a blog that’s frequently updated, presence on every social media out there, and a proper ‘Hire Me’ page that includes all his services, testimonials, and more.
And that’s just one step to getting better than others and landing more clients.
3. Always provide more value than you’re being paid for.
We live in a world of mediocrity and everyone’s trying to copy others, to find a shortcut, to do less and get where he wants to be faster. But it just doesn’t work like that.
With so many average people out there, you need to stand out. The best way to do that is to do remarkable work, to be unique, to work harder than clients expect you to, to even give them value for free sometimes to make the relationship stronger.
One of the main rules for success in every area of life is to go the extra mile.
So make this article for a client a bit longer than what he’s expecting to receive, do a favor by sharing an employer’s business on your social media, create freebie on your site for subscribers, and more.
All the extra work you do means you’re a hard worker, it shows discipline and dedication, and eventually gets noticed by the right people.
4. Not being specific.
Another mistake freelancers tend to make is not being clear about what they can do for the client.
Your mission when talking to a potential client is to make him imagine in details how your services can change his business. So take your time when working on your proposal, do your research, really try to be helpful and make sure he knows what to expect from you.
Be as specific as possible. Define your job and how you’ll proceed, describe the big picture but also the details. At the same time, keep it short and to the point.
Focus on talking about the benefits he’ll get from working with you. Obviously he has a problem and your services are the solution. Make your message effective and powerful by telling him how what you’ll do will give him more time to concentrate on the actual business or to have free time and do the things he loves and be with his family. Or let him know exactly how much money his company will save if you take up a project of theirs and work on it full-time.
5. Not being available.
Sometimes what stands in the way of landing a particular client is lack of availability. If you’re not there to answer his email soon enough, or if you don’t find the most convenient way for him to reach you, you’ll fail and lose him.
Time zones affect that too. And although most business owners these days understand that working remotely with someone means they won’t be able to reach them 24/7, it still makes all the difference if you prepare in advance and make sure you’re there when needed at least in the beginning, until you build trust.
Such mistakes may seem insignificant to you, and you may have made most of them unconsciously. But working on avoiding them can guarantee your success in the future. Don’t underestimate that.