There are numerous benefits to freelancing. You pick your own hours, you are your own boss, and you get to choose the type of work that you do each day. Plus, if you find a good niche, you can make large amounts of money in short amounts of time. That means it’s possible to become a millionaire.
A possible negative or con to managing yourself is that you have to be a self-starter. Once you secure a project, you have a timeline you will have to meet it by. It is entirely on you, though, to find new clients. You have to hustle, create a good reputation for yourself and do high-quality work in a timely manner.
That being said, you can excel as a freelancer with a few simple steps. There is the internal component, which is putting in enough work and effort on your end. Assuming you will do that with vigor each day, the bigger challenge is finding enough business to make large sums of money. If you follow these nine steps, you can become a millionaire in under five years freelancing.
1. Launch a professional website.
When someone is deciding whether to give you a project, the only indicators they have about your quality of work are your previous projects and customer testimonials.
Creating a website is a great place to showcase your past projects. You can, subsequently, exhibit the work you have done in the past and add some flair based on your personality. Make sure the site looks clean and professional. Despite how great your work might be, if your website does not look good, you will lose potential customers.
A high-quality site will give you a great place to direct new clients. This will, consequently, help close more deals.
2. Get reviews from past customers.
In addition to showing off past work on your site, you should include customer testimonials. Prospective clients love to see that others have worked with you and enjoyed their experience.
After you finish up a project, especially one in which your client was happy, you should ask them for a testimonial. You can, then, include this on your site and give new clients greater trust in what you will be able to offer them.
3. Do cold outreach.
You also have to hustle to find new clients. No matter how good your work is, it does not matter if nobody knows who you are. Therefore, you should frequently do cold outreach.
You can pay $20 a month for a cold email tool and spend another $20 to find lead lists that fit your target demographic, for example. Then, you can reach out to them and see if they need any help. Even if you score just one client out of 100 emails, it will be worth your time.
Furthermore, test different demographics and copies of the email. That will, subsequently, allow you to hone in on the most effective approach to finding new clients. In turn, you will build a sustainable route to continuous new business.
4. Always expand your network.
Spend time expanding your network. This means meeting people in the local area, getting your name out there in different communities and connecting with others in similar spaces as you. For one, this will teach you new things. Surrounding yourself with others who are best-in-class will provide great learning and improvement opportunities.
In relation to your freelance work, networking will give you more chances to find projects. Frequently, people are approached by friends or colleagues asking if they know anyone who could help with a certain project. They, subsequently, scavenge their memory and will refer anyone that comes to mind.
The more people you know, the more projects you will be referred to. In addition, these come in without you having to even look for them. Not to mention that you are also doing your friend a favor. It makes them look good to whoever asked, and they might even get a finders fee.
5. Reach out to accelerators.
Accelerators are a great place to find new business. They just brought in a handful of companies that are in growth mode and have already, or are likely going to, receive funding.
Depending on the work you do, you should be able to find a niche group of companies that would benefit from your work. It is, consequently, a no-brainer to reach out to accelerators, or, companies within them, offering your services. These are highly-qualified leads and can turn into significant new business.
6. Set up retainer deals.
Working on a project and making $10K is nice, but it is much nicer when you can continue doing projects for a client over long periods of time. This provides consistent income without you having to find new clients after every project you finish. Plus, while freelancing is great, you could find yourself with a full-time offer from a company. In the right circumstances (high-growth company, stock options, etc.), it could make sense to take the gig.
7. Establish a referral program.
Create a public referral program. With past clients and even friends, you can share that you will give them a fee if they refer you to a project. This creates an incentive on their end and will give you new business without much work finding it.
8. Leverage freelance sites.
Getting your name on freelance websites can be very helpful. Although the sites tend to take a fraction of the cut, it is an easy way to find new business. You can always reject projects if you do not want them.
9. Find additional ways to make money.
As a freelancer, you have to get creative about ways in which you bring in money. This includes finding ways to upsell current customers. It also includes passive income streams. That could mean creating a ‘how-to’ video or book. It could be speaking at conferences, helping teach people or a variety of other things.
These alternative revenue streams are quite nice and give you a great financial boost to become a millionaire.