Break-Even Point
According to a 2016 survey by Upwork, the number of freelancers in the US had risen by more than two million since a similar survey just two years before. Upwork’s Freelancing in America survey revealed that more than one third of the workforce – 55 million workers – operated as freelancers. Hardly surprising given some of the great benefits that being a freelancer offers!
And even back in 2016 freelancers were finding it easier and more profitable to find work using advances in technology: something that continues to develop to this day. Two thirds of those surveyed said they were finding more clients online by 2016.
Finding and nurturing clients online takes effort, but these six great tips will get you heading in the right direction!

TIP 1 – KEEP YOUR OFFLINE AND ONLINE PRESENCE PROFESSIONAL AND CONSISTENT

For over 10 years, Travis Flastad has freelanced building training aids and simulators for the Department of Defense. He has found that maintaining a consistently professional presence both online and offline has made a big difference. From business cards to social media, everything is designed to maximize his ability to not only secure clients, but do so at a “competitive rate”.
Travis recommends having someone outside of your arena look over all your business material to see if they clearly communicate what you do. A trusted and unbiased opinion can help you identify opportunities to refine your message.

TIP 2 – MAXIMIZE NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

Even if you’re an “army of one”, don’t forget to network and generate relationships just as though you were the owner of a larger business. The freelance world is highly competitive, but by building solid relations with both clients and potential clients you can dramatically increase the chances of converting those relationships into business opportunities.
Always remember, it takes more effort (and expense) to win a new customer than to get more business from someone you already work with – so dedicate your energy to forming lasting relationships that generate repeat business. And don’t just assume that your clients will keep coming back … keep the relationship warm by regularly touching base. Gently remind your clients of the benefits of doing business with you, and how you’re looking forward to working together in the future.

TIP 3 – KEEP OTHER FREELANCERS CLOSE

A network of clients is a great thing to have; but a network of other freelancers in your industry can be just as valuable. Networking with other freelancers helps you stay in touch with what’s going on in the industry, and what jobs are available. It also means that if there’s a job you can’t complete for any reason, you have trusted contacts to whom you can hand off the work and who may be able to do the same for you. Recommending a trusted colleague when you don’t have the capacity to take on a project creates a far more professional impression than simply declining the opportunity.

TIP 4 – FOCUS ON SPECIALIZED SKILLS

As demand continues to grow for specialized technical skills, businesses are turning to freelancers to fill the gaps in their own expertise for new initiatives and projects. Keep an eye open for skills shortages in your industry and be ready to offer that skill to clients and prospects.
Offering in-demand skills that are hard to cover with a business’s existing workforce also gives you a great marketing edge. It will help you refine a crystal-clear sales message that will make sure you stand out amongst the competition, and allow you to target your prospects extremely accurately rather than blazing your message in all directions.

TIP 5 – COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!

However skilled you are at what you do, it always takes a little time to adjust to a new client’s corporate culture and needs. In the early stages it is important to communicate at every opportunity. Not only does this reinforce your relationship with the client, but it helps to avoid the need to redo work that didn’t quite align with their expectations.
Take every opportunity to clarify exactly what the client wants. It’s better to have too much information than too little when it comes to making that all-important first submission. You might even undertake a “test project” before committing to something more long-term. It’s a great way to get a feel for how the client likes to have things done, and to check that you really are a good fit for each other.

TIP 6 – AUDITION YOUR CLIENTS

One of the great benefits of freelancing is that you get to decide who you do and don’t work with. Remember that when you’re applying for a freelance opportunity, the interview process is a two-way street. You want to ensure that any potential client is a good match for your skills and portfolio, and that you’re going to have a positive working relationship going into the future. Don’t be afraid to eliminate bad matches!
Interviewing and auditioning your clients is as much about getting a feel for their personality is it is about checking they’re a good business match. Find out how they like to be billed, how they prefer work to be submitted, and what sort of deadlines they work to … but don’t forget to check that you get along, too!

Jeff Liebov Billwaze

Jeff Liebov is the CEO & Founder of BILLWAZE. Jeff envisioned a simpler way out of the complicated world of accounting apps and created BILLWAZE. As a tool, BILLWAZE makes things easy for those who want to get things done fast, without all the hassle. Jeff and the team are continuously improving the platform and are passionate about making the entire billing process simpler than ever.

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