You might have had a slow time around Christmas because everyone was busy buying gifts. And then of course there was the January sales. And now it is Valentine’s Day so plenty of people are busy organising for that; no wonder you’re struggling to get clients!
If you’re making these kinds of excuses – you need to stop! It’s unlikely that the holidays will affect your client base on a huge scale, although you might experience a different workload around Christmas.
Instead, and we’re sorry to say it, but it’s probably more to do with the fact your client-gaining skills need polishing. There could be lots of areas you’re going wrong in, but luckily it only takes a few tweaks to get yourself back up and running.
One of the first problems freelancers’ encounter when going solo is pricing their services. It’s common for sole traders to undervalue their services and put a low price on their time.
Although this is probably meant with the hopes of drawing in some initial clients and getting the ball rolling before you hike up the prices, it’s not the way to go. Clients (and everyone, for that matter) equates price to quality, no matter what the difference. This is why branding is such a vital part of business.
But if you’re putting a low price on your services people won’t think they’re getting a great deal; the initial thought will always be ‘What’s the catch?’ So think twice before you put a tiny figure on your website. Instead offer promotions and discounts to make it obvious your services will resume to a normal, higher price that reflects your standard of work.
You can’t expect to get clients by sitting in your front room with a cuppa staring at your Twitter feed. You need to be active in your communication with clients to get them interested, and to get your name heard above all the other freelancers.
Asking for testimonials from previous clients is a great way to open yourself up to a new client base – they will be the ones who think of you when they need something creating. And they’ll be referring their colleagues and friends to you too – so keep them sweet!
A freelancer’s website is the equivalent to their office. It’s a space to demonstrate the work you can do, so it needs to look professional and reflect your tone and mission. Realistically, you won’t meet that many of your clients in person so this is your space to really show off what you can do for them.
A shabby website won’t cut it when you’re trying to convince a new client that you’re the right choice, so don’t cut any corners and if you need to make sure you outsource. The most valuable information for any freelancer is to ask for help when you need it, because although you might like to think it, you are in fact not a one person wonder.
An extension of your website is all of your social media that’s available to the public. If you have a personal Facebook account that has some questionable photos from last Friday night, you should really get rid.
Make sure you ooze professionalism and creativity from every social network, and maintain a social presence to show clients how you are interactive and serious about your business. This is your full time job after all!
Once you’ve got everything else on your plate you might be wondering how you’ll have time to update all of your social media accounts on top of that. A great idea is to outsource (yes again!). Find someone who can take care of it for you so you have time for what’s really important.
Losing Your Mission
If you’ve been freelancing for a while and you’ve hit a brick wall when it comes to clients, something might have gone wrong along the way. Head back to your business plan and check out what you wrote for your mission statement.
When you’re bogged down in all that work it can be easy to become work-obsessed and focused on pleasing your clients. When you feel like your work is starting to revolve around your clients’ diaries, take a step back and remember why you did all this in the first place.
If it’s not turned out how you wanted it to, go back and make the necessary tweaks to ensure you’re getting the most from your work and still enjoying it.
Are you struggling to come by clients? Or have you got projects coming out of your ears? Leave a comment below and let us know how your freelance business is getting on.