Freelancers are taking over. A fifth of UK graduates with a first class degree have already freelanced. And with 69 percent of all graduates saying independent work offers a better work life balance, it looks like 2016 will be the year of the freelancer.
The growing rate of freelancers isn’t going to make it easier for your business to stand out, so you’re going to have to go that extra mile to appeal to businesses. Freelance revolves mainly around creative industries, so adding something extra to your services will serve you well when looking for clients.
What separates the successful freelancer from the unsuccessful one is outstanding customer communication and service. Trying to get a new client can be a lot like the first few steps of dating – you want to seem approachable, interesting and better than any other option. At the same time you do not want to be desperate, needy and unsuitable.
So how to hit that perfect in-between? Stay professional but inject your own tone into the first few conversations. The client will know you’re serious but still human! (No one wants to freelance with a robot). Always do what you can to bond with the client so they’re more likely to be loyal to your services.
A freelancer’s network is like their family; put a foot wrong and you will be chided, but do well and they will support you. Build a strong network as soon as you enter the business and you’ll have a strong support network for the rest of your career – even if you decide to head back to the nine to five lifestyle!
An unsuccessful freelancer won’t last long without making a few contacts; they can be a great source of clients even if they are your competition. One way of creating a base camp is through Twitter lists. You can create a list for every different type of freelancer, or divide them into freelancers you’d like to collaborate with and ones that are big influencers in your community.
Social Media Skills
The best freelancers have a social media network to envy. They’ll update regularly, share interesting content that’s relevant to their industry and most importantly they will but their own opinion on topics.
Unsuccessful freelancers will do all of the opposite of above, and may even offend, upset and forget to update their audiences. No matter how many followers you have, you should treat them all to the same quality of content and interact on an equal level.
Freelance brands can be tricky; as an individual you are essentially branding yourself. Having a unique personality and really bringing that into your work can help; you will be able to connect with people more than just a work level if they share the same interests.
If you’re not comfortable putting your face all over the web then freelancing definitely won’t be for you. Remember not to bring your personality too strongly if you’re just beginning – and always retain a level of professionalism.
Time and time again we will say how a freelancer’s website is their office. As soon as a client enters they should feel comfortable but business-like, both welcomed and intrigued. They should also not feel like they have to manoeuvre through a series of obstacles just to see what you have to offer.
With that said, make sure that your website runs smoothly at all times and that your services and prices are as easily accessible as your portfolio and testimonials. If tech isn’t your strong point, seek the help of a website designer and SEO specialist who can get your services easily seen.
A freelance business that stands out should be for the right reasons, rather than the fact that they offer bad services or are rude to clients. We all get days where we can’t deal with people, and don’t want to speak to anyone until at least 4pm; unfortunately when you’re a freelancer, you simply aren’t allowed these days.
Working from home can be great for hiding away from people and a good excuse for not leaving the house all day, but your online self and phone voice should always be chipper and excited, whether it’s a prospective client calling or your mother-in-law.
What are your tips for freelance success? Leave your comments below or drop us a tweet @pandlecloud!