It’s so easy to jump on the freelancing bandwagon. All you need to do is go to a freelancing website, sign-up, create an impressive profile, and start sending hundreds of proposals. However, these are not the only things you need. In this blog, we will cover the ten rules of success that you need to know before starting your freelance career.
1. Never Compete with Price
Don’t intentionally price yourself too high or too low. Don’t compete with people who price themselves super cheap just to attract a client. No matter how many times you lower your rate, some freelancers will always be less expensive than you. Believe me, you don’t want to work for the lowest price because you won’t be a full-time freelancer with only one client. You want to get as many clients as you can, working for each one a few hours a day–this must be your goal.
The best way to determine your rate is to drop three zeros from your annual desired income. For instance, if you want to earn $100,000 annually, drop three zeros from that number, and you’ll get 100. That is your hourly rate.
2. Open an LLC
Register your own company and create a company account on freelance sites such as Upwork. This step will motivate you to be more than just a freelancer. Eventually, as you scale, you’re going to hire freelancers. At the same time, having a company account will let you see the rates other freelancers are charging. Besides that, you can see what they’re saying in their title and description.
For instance, if you want to charge $100 and all your competition (with the same experience as you) only cost $40, then you have to add something in your profile to display your value. In other words, creating a client account is one way to see what your competitors are doing to get a project. A client account gives you the advantage of positioning your profile, headline, and rate in a way that attracts more prospects.
3. Don’t Be a Generalist
If everyone is your target audience, then no one is. Know your niche. You want to become an expert in one industry. Your profile must appeal to a specific type of client. The more you attract similar kinds of clients, the more value you will have because you’ll have that much more experience in that area.
I will give you an example. Let’s say there are two freelancers, you and someone else, going after the same client in the auto industry. You’re a generalist, and you’re a freelance writer that writes blogs for anyone and everyone. The other person is a freelance writer that has specific experience freelancing for clients in the auto industry, who do you think the client is going to pick?
4. Always Be Prospecting
Freelancing has plenty of ups and downs. As someone who’s been freelancing for well over a decade, I can say, you are still going to have dry spells. Your industry or your niche might have seasonal variations. If you’re an e-commerce expert, for example, the fourth quarter is very hot. You might be getting busy with a lot of clients during this time, but the first quarter might be dead for you. So, always be prospecting for clients because you always want to keep work in the queue.
5. Write Down Common Objections
You should expect that prospects will ask you questions not to try to trick you, but to know if you can do the job well. They don’t like to hire freelancers who stumble on easy questions. In Freelancer Masterclass, we talk in detail about how to overcome prospect objections. By enrolling in the masterclass, you will learn how to market yourself to clients and answer their objections correctly.
6. Hire a Bookkeeper
Once your business reaches a certain amount of growth, you need someone to track your finances; both your income and expenses. You need an assistant to give you financial reports. Having an assistant help keep track of your finances will provide you with the time to focus on other aspects of your business. You also need an accountant for your company’s taxes so that you can avoid possible lawsuits later on. You can use the yellow pages to look for a local accountant or search online to quickly hire someone.
7. Work Diligently
Work harder on keeping clients that you love than finding new clients. Always give your best when you work for a client. Value their time. Let them know what you are doing. Always be passionate about serving your clients. No matter how long you have had a client, you should never take them for granted.
8. Learn Micro-Management
As you scale up, it’s challenging to get ahold of your team. Micro-managing a team is very important to track the progress of a project, to know if one member has a problem, and to make sure that everything is in the right place at the right time. Using a project management platform like Asana or Trello can make your management tasks easier. Keep in mind, managing people is an art and there should be a healthy balance in how you micro-manage your team.
9. Set the Right Client Expectations
Don’t be a slave to your clients’ messages. So many freelancers focus on responding right away. They always check their emails and reply immediately to their client’s words. Don’t do that. If you do, you’re a slave on weekends, holidays, when you’re sick, or even when your baby is sick. You’re a freelancer, not a slave to anyone. Always remember that.
It’s important to let your clients know when they can expect you to respond. For example, tell them right from the start that Sunday is your family day, and you don’t do emails on Wednesday, or you’re on vacation on specific dates and you wish to not be bothered except for emergencies. When clients are professional and value your work they understand your boundaries and will respect them.
10. Create a Clear Scope of Work
Be clear to your client about the scope of your work required for the project. For instance, if you’re a designer or web developer, how many revisions are you going to do with your client before you consider a project finished? What are your deadlines? Go through your scope of work, get it finalized, and then go through it all again. You are locked into that scope of work and anything that the client wants to do outside of that scope of work; you can charge extra for. It is fair to charge extra because as a freelancer, your time is money.