How To Manage The Next Breakthrough Step As A Freelanceron 18th August 2016
Freelancers all over the world are wondering what exactly they need to do or change in order to breakthrough to the next level of growth and greater success. Whilst it’s great to know the bills are being paid there may be a sense of lingering in survival mode, a pedestrian plod from year to year with no major change in profit margins. So – what to do? How to refocus for real growth?
Here’s a few tips:
- Increase your prices
There is no greater fear than asking for more money for something, whether that is for a service or a product you are selling. The thought is that once established, a price cannot ever go up, only down.
But hold on? Do you really know the worth of what your service or product is and have you marketed it correctly to get the best possible customer, to position it as the best in class?
It may be a relatively easy step to reinvent, repackage your offering to be in a higher price bracket. This applies to services especially. When you think about it, some knowledge is available online for nothing, the same knowledge repackaged is in a glossy book for £8.99 and then if you pay for a tutor to take you personally through that knowledge it might cost you £1,000 in fees. It’s not necessarily all about what you sell, it’s the way that you sell it and the value in that process or service. This is simply supply and demand and which level you come in to that. What’s more, if you ask for a higher price, that value will spur you on to do the very best job for your valued client. Research your sector too, you might be surprised that your creative talent is worth more to people than you realised.
- Efficient organisational structure
In business, the term RoI – for Return on Investment, is dropped into a conversation every other sentence but in reality do we live by RoI like we say we do? Make processes efficient enough to have a genuine return. If you spend five days on a piece of client work that was supposed to take two, your RoI disintegrates before your eyes with every extra day. Here – quote daily rates or hourly rates as opposed to project flat fees. It will mean you can monitor the project’s total cost without a loss – make this explicit from the outset in contractual terms and communicate as you go if the fee increases fast. You need to track the true nature of a job for a report so the client knows how much time and effort was put into it.
Never turn down new clients if capacity for workflow is the only barrier to growth. Outsource projects to other freelancers or third parties if needed – just make sure there is a margin for you and keep an eye on quality. There is a great website to help with this we hear – Find a Creative Pro, I think it was called ;).
- Know the client you want
The rest of this tip is – know the client you don’t want. Will they pay you in a timely way – are payment terms clear? Are they the kind of client you want to work with in temperament, the way you interact and their vision of what’s needed in the job at hand? Do you respect each other?
Importantly, will they move your freelancing business in the right direction? Can you find evidence of what to expect from other contractors? Some freelance businesses grow because of their nurturing of an enviable client list. Having a good client retention is a good signal that freelancing suits you. If, due to the need of paying the bills, you think you can’t afford to be picky, just be careful not to set out on the wrong foot – or it could be ultimately more costly than waiting for a better gig. Understand what the deal is and how it works. Once you go in the wrong direction with the wrong kind of target client, or a gig that is not really you, you may find you get stuck in a difficult place to get out of.
- Harvest endorsements and referrals for your freelancing business
This is simple. Potential clients want to know you are good. If you are good, then existing clients will both endorse you – which you can use for marketing or they will refer business your way – which is what clients do when they are genuinely happy with a service.
- Boost your marketing and PR
Without a doubt – targeted marketing makes a difference. Whether that marketing is joining a freelancer network, Pay Per Click, leaflet drops, positioned editorial and PR, social media posting, a marketing campaign or even something as basic as cold calling potential clients, without marketing of some sort you are leaving your future to the fates and expecting too much, so who is going to contact you for your business?
If you are looking for new clients and want to put your skill set out there, please join Find a Creative Pro so businesses can see that you are available to hire.