Jun 01 2016
Boost Freelancing Income With These 5 Tips
Posted under For Freelancers
Boost Freelancing Income With These 5 Tips
Freelancing can be a grind. You trade in a defined schedule and steady income for much greater flexibility… but often inconsistent pay. You’re not alone: a study conducted by Intuit predicted that freelancers will represent 40% of the American workforce by 2020. That’s a lot of competition. So, here are a few ways to differentiate yourself from the pack, work more efficiently, and boost freelancing income.
1. Be a branding pro.
Your freelancing business is just that: a business. So take the time to make sure it looks like one. Start with a clean, easy-to-navigate professional website that includes a bio, a resume, and a portfolio of completed projects. Self-host on sites like Bluehost and GoDaddy (they let you own your domain name and website, so you don’t have an unprofessional extension like “yourname.wordpress.com”).
Next, make sure you have a clear voice across all of your social accounts. Be professional– clients don’t want to see that you party every weekend or are rather fond of profanity. They DO want to see that you have a strong sense of personal confidence and style.
All in all, make sure that wherever a client may go to get a scope of your ability, they see who you are and what you have to offer in a neat package across all platforms.
2. Hire a virtual assistant to do your busywork.
Your time is expensive, and when you’re not operating at full efficiency, you’re losing money. Chances are, you have a good deal of busywork that is essential for your jobs, but can be done by someone else if they’re given clear instruction.
Say you’re a marketing freelancer and you need to compile a list of potential influencers for your client to reach out to. You know the process and could spend time researching and coming up with a list, but that takes away from the time you could be writing the marketing plan– something only you can do.
In this situation, it might be cheaper to hire a virtual assistant to do some of the basic work you don’t have much time to spend on, like making lists, sending emails, or handling calls. It might take a little time to get them onboarded, but it will pay dividends in the long run. Here’s a great article on what you need to know about hiring your own virtual assistant.
3. Know how to charge your client.
Sometimes it’s better to charge hourly, like when you have an ongoing, long-term, or on-and-off project, or when clients are unsure of project goals or timelines. It’s easy and the norm for many freelancers.
However, you don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into one hourly rate when recommendation of your work gets passed on to others. This is where project-based pricing comes in handy. It’s tough remembering an email here or a few hours there for multiple clients with different rates.
When you charge by project, it incentivizes you to work efficiently for your client (whereas working hourly can incentivize you to work more slowly) and lets them know what their costs will be upfront.
The key when charging your clients is to be flexible and even use a combination of both payment methods. This way, you can work with the client and their budget while still being fairly compensated for your work.
4. Use online freelancing marketplaces.
There are a ton of people looking for freelancers, but not everyone “knows a guy” through word of mouth. If simply finding work through past clients or posting flyers and business cards up at your local coffee shop isn’t cutting it, step up your online game. This is where freelancing marketplaces come in handy.
Online freelancing marketplaces allow you to create a profile, show your experience and skills, list your compensation rate, etc. Clients will post jobs they need completed along with guidelines and occasionally what they’re willing to pay. Freelancers then bid on the job by reaching out to the client.
Many freelancers will bid far and wide, but with minimal depth. Don’t do this. One quality bid in which you assess the job, put together a proposal, and clearly pitch to the client will go much further than ten automated bids. This is a case where quality is far more important than quantity.
5. Have killer communication skills.
This might be the most important tip to ensure your success. Just because your communication isn’t face to face doesn’t mean you can hide behind your computer screen, be slow or inconsistent to respond, or have bad manners.
Be upfront about your abilities, strengths, and concerns about the job. Regardless of whether or not your clients are clear-cut about what they want, make it your responsibility to get to know them and their needs and you’ll save yourself time from unnecessary calls, texts, and emails.
Freelancers can have a bad reputation of being slow, inefficient, and distant, so when you give your clients top-notch, real-time communication across the board, they’ll be pleasantly surprised and worry less about your abilities. They’ll place trust in you and be far more likely to either hire you again in the future, or recommend you to others in their network.
Freelancing is tough, but these points can help you to get past the grind of trying to find jobs, and into the pattern of having consistent and well-paying work. Don’t be afraid to keep in contact with clients after the job is done; check in with them to see how they’re doing a few weeks after you finish. That’s how you keep a loyal client base.
If you’re new to freelancing, check out our post How To Crush Your First Freelancing Gig.