4 Things Successful Freelancers Do To Win Big Clients
If you’ve been freelancing for a while, there’s a good chance you might be feeling stuck. Your business is doing reasonably well — you work consistently with a full docket of regular clients, but you’ve plateaued, unsure how to move up a level and land bigger fish. This is a common problem, so don’t feel alone. It’s also one that can be surmounted with the proper effort applied in the proper places. It requires a shift in your thinking, about your business, about the value you bring to your clients, and about what qualifies as value in the first place.
1- Build Your Own Platform
The first step toward realizing your true value and sharing it with the world is to develop your own platform where you can share your work.
If you’re a writer, you might start a blog to showcase your work. A graphic designer could do the same or create a Tumblr to show off what she’s working on. Developers could start a GitHub repository and begin showing off their chops to other developers. What’s important is that you create a destination to send prospective clients to, something which is uniquely yours and that demonstrates quickly what you’re capable of.
A blog or online portfolio can quickly answer prospect’s frequently asked questions.
If you don’t have a lot of previous client work to share with potential clients, do some work for yourself.
Fill your platform with work you’ve done for yourself. Writers, pick subjects that interest you and write about them. Designers, create marketing collateral for yourself that shows off what you can do.
Then, when you’re talking with prospective clients, direct them to your platform. The old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is apt here. Because you aren’t going to convince someone you’re worth more money by telling them you are. You need to show them the value you can bring, and your platform is built to fulfill that purpose.
2- Be Confident In Your Freelance Rate
This is the second step you’ll need to take in order to radically alter the trajectory of your freelance career. If you’re feeling stuck it’s probably because you’re either nervous that you aren’t good enough to charge clients more, or you’re under the mistaken notion that if you did charge more, you would be pricing yourself out of a competitive market. There are two truths you need to accept in order to move past this.
You’re Better Than You Think
People regularly pay you for the services you provide. This means they recognize your value. And if you’re like 80% of the people on the planet, you’re your own worst critic. You may not think your work is very good, but you’re the last person you should listen to. So stop.
Take Yourself Seriously
If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else will. Be bold and put your name out to clients as someone to be recognized, someone worth top dollar.
That alone is going to differentiate you from the people that are just sitting and waiting on platforms for people to come to them. By actively going out, building relationships, showcasing your portfolio examples...providing value first, before you ask for anything in return, you're going to warrant more value for the services you offer. -Ryan Robinson, Six Figure Freelancer audio course
Here’s an experiment you can try. Take whatever you’re commonly charging your clients, double it, and then try pitching that price on a project you’d be okay with losing. If you get a yes, double it again and keep going until you get consistent nos. You’ll very likely be surprised at just how high you can push your prices until the nos outweigh the yeses. This is a great way to establish, not what YOU think you’re worth, but what your clients think you’re worth. And if you show your value, you’ll find that figure is much higher than you thought.
Implement Value-Based Pricing
When you are debating how much you should charge a client, don’t think in terms of hours spent or money you need to put food on the table. Think about the value you are bringing to the client and how you help them achieve their goal.
You are doing more than designing a landing page, you are optimizing the user experience in order to drive conversions. You are doing more than writing a blog post, you are providing quality content that will drive new visitors to your client’s website.
Use this value-based mentality when speaking to your client. They will appreciate your commitment to their business goals.
3- Building a Six Figure Freelance Business is About Building Relationships
Making what you’re really worth as a freelancer starts by building relationships. Because it generally isn’t possible to convince someone to trust you immediately. Your platform demonstrates what you can do, but relationships personalize this value and help prospective clients realize what you can do specifically for them. And this can take time. It’s a process of consistently bringing value to your prospects until they can’t be successful without you.
One great way to start this conversation is to feature prospective clients in your blog / portfolio, and then reach out to them to share what you’ve done for them. It shows that you’re proactive and interested in cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship. Ryan Robinson, a presenter in our Six Figure Freelancer audio course talked about how he wrote a blog post, “The 60 Top Entrepreneurs Share Their Best Business Advice” and then contacted some of the more approachable people on the list to share what he was doing.
I always do a very warm outreach. ...whenever I'm reaching out to someone it's because I've provided value to them in some way, shape or form within the first email I send them. So I'm not reaching out asking for someone to pay me for my service. I'm always reaching out saying, hey, I mentioned you on my blog, hey, I, you know, I wrote about such and such topic. Would you like to weigh in? - Ryan Robinson, Six Figure Freelancer audio course
These are some of Ryan’s techniques to get people’s attention when he sends cold emails. You can read more advice on the topic here.
4- Generate Trust By Looking Professional
Your prospective clients don’t have to know it’s only your 5th freelancing gig. That you rock at designing but you have no idea how to handle all the business side of being your own boss. Just give the impression that you are a total professional and you will gain their trust.
You can send proposals, contracts and invoices to your client with a freelance software like AND.CO. It is free!
Not only does it make you look polished and worth the money, it also saves you time and keep you organized.
Track your billable hours and automatically turn it into an invoice. Schedule payment reminders for your clients, without ever having to personally get involved. Automate your expense reports...because it’s boring and you have better things to do. Let someone else handle the part of freelancing you don’t like.
As you accept more work and find bigger clients, AND.CO will let you scale your operations.
Set aside a little bit of time every week to work on expanding your business. Some Six Figure freelancers recommend spending between 10 to 20% of your time on business development strategies.
Even if it might be out of your comfort zone, these initiatives will make sure you keep a steady stream of potential clients.