How Freelancers Can Make a Good First Impression on Clients
As a freelancer, your work is never done. There are clients to be sought, jobs to be found, ideas to be pitched, and work to be done.
A freelance position is unique in that you decide what you want to do and when you want to do it, at least to a degree. Maybe you freelance on the side, or it could be your full-time job. Either way, you are always looking for the next client, job, or assignment.
Since only you can represent you, it’s very important that you provide a great first impression on clients and potential clients. Even in a traditional job interview, the rule of thumb is the interviewer makes their mind up about you in the first seven seconds they see you. Freelancing is no different.
If you want to make a good first impression, here are some tips to help.
Be Professional, but Personable
As freelancing has become more popular, companies are hiring more contractors and freelancers instead of employees. When you approach these clients, they need to see you are professional, no matter if it’s in a physical meeting or in a personal meeting. Dress for the job offered and use proper grammar, punctuation, etc. But don’t forget to show them you have a personality too. It can help you stand apart if they are considering multiple freelancers for the same work.
Have a Clean Online Look
With everyone being able to search for everything online in just an instant, your website needs to be top notch.
(Side note: if you don’t have a website or online portfolio, you need to get one ASAP!)
If building an online site isn’t in your bag of tricks, hire someone to do it for you. You might even end up hiring a freelancer!
Your online presence needs to tell about you, be clean and professional, and show off your best work. You should match your website to your social media channels as well. Make a professional profile on whichever social media channels you prefer, or brand your existing personal one.
Have an Online Portfolio or Website
Having an online portfolio is really a must! This is how potential clients can see you and get to know a little bit about your style and skills. Make sure you share great examples of your work in a way that they can be easily seen. Make it easy for clients to contact you. If they can just click to email you from your website or see your email address readily then you might get contacted quicker and more often. Same goes for your social media channels. The more visible you are, the more likely the client is to contact you.
Answer in a Timely Manner
When a potential client contact you, don’t wait several days to get back to them. Do it now!
Your delay may be the difference of them hiring you or the next freelancer. You don’t want to miss out on business. If you are swamped, say so. Honesty will get you further than you think.
Make it Personal
It’s all about the details! Just like when you act personable and tell them about you, you need to find out personal things about your clients too. If you are meeting them in person, call them by their name and show you are interested. Follow up with a personal note. If you don’t hear from them after the first time, follow up. The more you show you care and want to make that connection, the more likely they will hire you this time or come back to you next time.
Be professional, polite, and show clients who you are. You have 7 seconds on average to make an impression. Make sure the impression you leave is a good one!