When people start out on their freelancing journey, they often enviously look on at successful people’s profiles and think, ‘that will never happen to me.’ However, the truth is that every freelancer starts in the same position, with no clients and with little understanding of the industry that they’re entering. The great news is that with time, you will be able to build up your client base and become successful, even if it seems unlikely in the early days. Here are five tips that will help you achieve exceptional results if you put them into action.
1. Start small in freelancing
Unless you are incredibly lucky, you’re not going to stumble into hugely profitable, large-scale projects at the very start of your freelancing journey. To be frank, this shouldn’t be your aim. Instead, you should use your early days as a freelancer to start small and undertake work that you’re confident of delivering.
Small projects also give you the opportunity to refine your processes and understand what your working capacity as a freelancer is before you get in too deep. In the early days, small projects will also give you valuable insight into the client journey and will give you some valuable feedback in regards to your performance. You can use the confidence you gain from your initial projects to start building your portfolio and begin slowly increasing the scope of the projects that you offer.
2. Be prepared to pitch for every gig
You will learn early on that freelancing is competitive. The chances are that when someone gets in touch with you to enquire about your services, they are also speaking to other freelancers at the same time. This means you need to be prepared to speak for every gig that you offer and be willing to pitch to clients and tell them why they should work with you. Think about the following:
- What is unique about your gig, and how will you ensure your client is pleased with your delivery?
- Are you communicating in a way that is both professional and friendly?
- Have you showcased your portfolio in a way that is attractive to your clients?
- Is the feedback on your profile generally positive and appealing to prospective customers?
Remember, when you’re earning a living online, you only get one chance at a first impression. If you don’t come across well, you’re likely to lose the work to another freelancer, so be prepared to speak for every gig that you can get.
3. Own your gig
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But you need to really own your gig if you’re going to have success as a freelancer. Owning your gig is about being confident and assured of the services that you’re offering to your clients. You need to come across as a true professional and be someone that clients can trust in. Bolstering your gig with FAQs and relevant information will help build trust with potential clients, as will the feedback you receive from previous customers. Remember, your profile page is the first thing that potential clients see, so you need to ensure it is impressive and shows that you’re someone to be taken seriously.
4. Develop an outstanding portfolio
As a freelancer, your portfolio is more important than your work experience. Clients are more concerned with what you’ve produced than where you’ve worked or who you’ve worked with. Your portfolio is your opportunity to showcase your skills and talents and encourage people to hire your services. To develop an outstanding portfolio that will help you win business, consider the following:
- Make your portfolio publicly available. If you can, build a simple website for your freelancing business and direct customers to where they can see examples of your work.
- Ensure it’s obvious what your skills are. If you claim to be an expert web designer, show your clients examples of excellent websites that you’ve built. Your portfolio should showcase your skills and make clients want to work with you.
- Create a diverse portfolio. While it’s important to show off the skills that you’re hoping to sell, the more diverse your portfolio, the more it is likely to appeal to lots of different people.
Developing an outstanding portfolio is exceptionally important for freelancers, as it serves as your opportunity to showcase your skills and talents to potential clients. If your portfolio isn’t impressive, you might struggle to get new clients.
As a freelancer, you might be wondering what the need for networking is. After all, you’re hoping that most of your clients will come to you. But networking is an incredibly important part of freelancing, and you need to be prepared to network with professionals that may benefit from your skills. You can network on social media, via LinkedIn, and on several other business-minded websites. Or you can go all out and network the old-school way by joining community or business groups in your local area and sharing your professional experiences that way. However you do it, it’s hugely important that you network, as this is the best way for you to build your professional connections.
The people who follow them are able to start with nothing and work their way up to become successful freelancers with a diverse client base. Becoming a freelancer is truly life-changing and is something that rewards those who work hard and deliver exceptional service. Following these tips will set you on course to be successful.