It may come as a surprise to some of you, however, I was not always a successful freelancer. When I started off as a freelancer I failed, in fact, I failed drastically and at times I would regret even choosing this path. After so many failures and mountains of bills later, I actually started making money and seeing success generally.
There were a few things which caused me to “screw up” at freelancing and years later I can look back and reflect wishing I had never made any of these silly mistakes.
When starting out as a freelancer you will notice that you don’t automatically get lots of clients, in fact they come after a while and when they do, it is very hard to say no during negotiation. This leads to new freelancers agreeing to do every project which comes there way. The problem with accepting every single job offer is that you will end up compromising.
If you are a freelance web-developer, I can almost guarantee you will get a stingy guy who will try to get a “good” deal out of you. NEVER agree to silly propositions. These can include clients who offer you a share of the income of the website in return for work. Others include clients who want pro bono and clients who want silly discounts.
The fruit of patience is sweet
If you wait patiently a little while longer, you will definitely get excellent clients. Personally, I love my clients, because they appreciate my ability, my work and my experience. If however they did not, then I would hate my clients and I would not deliver with the enthusiasm and dedication with which I do.
Do not accept every project in desperation.
Charging too Little
I always knew my worth based on my knowledge, experience and ability. Yet still when the outlook for good business looked bleak, it was easy to be disheartened and lose trust in what I charged for my valuable time. You may not accept every silly project which heads your way, but by lowering you rate, you may as well.
I lowered my hourly rate to get more clients. A new problem was now rising, which was that no matter how much I worked, I was still never paying my bills. The only difference was a few pounds but all of my time was being used up. There is no difference between a freelancer who sits without business and a freelancer who just about breaks even. One has the perception that he/she is doing work, while the other at least knows he isn’t doing anything.
Here is a small demonstration of how this is a problem. If you work 40 hours at an hourly rate and double that rate and therefore lose half your business and work 20 hours instead, then you have an extra 20 hours to drum up new business.
Charge your worth.
The greatest blunder in freelancing is perhaps to not get in touch with previous clients for new work or even possible referrals. A past client is testament to your ability and will definitely take you on again if the opportunity arises.
You most definitely need to get in touch with all previous clients and even offer them discounts to keep good relations with them. The 80:20 rule is that 80% of your business comes from around 20% of your clients. This may not strictly be true, but I am sure you would agree that past clients can offer greater opportunities.
Get in touch with past clients.
How did you find your feet in freelancing? Share with us below
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