1 – Choose your Niche
When you started to freelance you will have taken any work going. The way to earn the big money is to become an expert in a particular field.
So how does limiting my customer base make me more money you ask?
Imagine you are a prospective client and you need some SEO work on your website. Do you go to the “jack of all trades” or do you go to an SEO specialist?
By specialising you are exhibiting your skillset within that niche, whether that is WordPress, Photoshop or Content Writing.
2 – Be clear about what you offer
If you aren’t clear on what you do, how can a client be clear that you CAN do it? The more specific you can be over what services you offer the better. If you decide to focus on becoming a sought after Shopify developer then you should not consider work customising an app or a WordPress theme.
Concentrate on building your portfolio and client base in your chosen field.
3 – What does a client look like to you?
Don’t go looking for clients until you have a clear idea of what type of client you would work best with. As a freelancer, would working with small businesses be your preference or a long term contract with a FTSE100 company? Would a new startup fit you better than a long-established big player?
You may have certain brands or ethical ideals which you wish to align with your clients. Whatever the perfect client looks like to you, ask yourself these questions to focus your thinking:-
– Is there a type of business that has problems that I can solve with my services?
– Can my preferred type of client actually afford me?
– In my preferred client type, is there a demographic trend that could help me identify the decision-makers in the business? Geography, Personal Interests, Websites used, Industry?
4 – Portfolio is the Key
A great portfolio demonstrating your skill sets, experience and success will become one of the major tools for gaining new clients.
Big money earning Freelancers have invested time and money in showcasing their experiences with clients and testimonials.
Remember your portfolio is your shop window, it is there to convince potential clients that you are the person they need to fulfil their needs and to provide confidence that they are making the right choice. Don’t forget to make your contact details easily accessible so a potential client can contact you easily.
5 – Don’t quit your day job
If you jump into the big world of becoming a freelancer whilst keeping your main source of income you will take a significant amount of pressure and stress off your shoulders. It can take many months to build a portfolio and to find, and keep, a few clients. If you have left behind a paying job to be self-employed with no income it is harder to focus on the work you want to do as you will need to take whatever work that can pay the bills.
One of the great advantages of being a freelancer whilst holding down the day job is that you can afford to be picky about the clients you do choose to work with. It allows you to turn down work that is not a good investment of your time or work that you are not really interested in.
6 – Improve your skills
Want to increase your hourly rate? Make sure your freelancer skills are up to date and you have skills that are in high demand.
Whilst you are building your portfolio, practise your skills by building projects that are similar to the ones you want to be paid for. One way for you to hone your skills is to approach local charities and offer your services for free. This may seem counterproductive to earning more money but it will be a great addition to your portfolio and charities have a network that may provide future paid work. Online learning can also be a great addition to your skillset by getting accreditation of your abilities from a recognised company.
7 – Pricing Structure
Rather than thinking about the price you are charging, think of the value you are bringing.
You will need to ensure your charging structure can provide a comfortable income, once you reach the required level of work you wish to do whether it is full time or part-time. A lot of freelancers like to be flexible in their working hours but of course whilst you are not working, you are not earning.
Deliver high-quality results for your clients, exceed expectations and continue to provide value for your clients and the amount your charge becomes less of a key factor in your clients’ buying process. Although you can increase prices later it is best to set your pricing at a level that excites you, this way you are more likely to go the extra mile for the client.
8 – Use your network
If you are looking to reel in higher quality and better-paying work, use your network. Pitch yourself to actual friends, co-workers and former employers. A warm introduction to a prospect is always more productive than a cold contact.
I must emphasise using your real network of people you actually know. Asking one of your 1000s of Facebook friends to recommend you will not be productive and could backfire. An introduction by someone who knows you though can carry a lot of weight in getting an opportunity to pitch for a gig. There is no issue with asking a friend if they would mind sending an email to introduce you on your behalf.
9 – Blog
So now you have a shiny new website that showcases your skills and expertise. Now let’s engage with visitors more and show how expert you are in your field. Remember you are writing for your clients or potential clients, so try to write about helpful solutions or problem-solving that your clients may be searching for. Once your clients discover this free, informative and useful advice you will become “top of mind” when they are looking to hire again.
10 – Learn to pitch like a Pro
The art of pitching has 1000s of books and seminars going into depth about the perfect pitch, because as a freelancer it becomes a part of life.
Remember, do your research, try to get a recommendation from an authoritative source, determine their needs and add value to their business.