Sale of Fail: The Freelancer’s Conundrum – Let’s face it, creatives aren’t salespeople. And there’s a good reason for that. But for budding freelancers, selling is part of the gig. Selling you—your skillset, your ideas, your work—that’s how you win new clients. So here are a few tips on bringing in clients without selling your soul.
More often than not, clients find freelancers through somebody who knows somebody. So make sure all the somebodies who know you know that you do freelance work. Whether through social media or emails or good old fashioned phone calls, tell the people in your network what you do. And emphasize when you’re looking for new clients!
Don’t lower your rate just to win over a job from a new client. Although this may seem like a solid strategy at first, it could actually hurt you in the long run. Not only will a client feel like you pulled a bait-and-switch when your rate goes up after the initial project, but it could also impact how he or she views your quality of work.
Building a strong portfolio of creative work is critical, but don’t rely on clients to flip through it all and understand how it relates to them. Select a few key pieces of creative that you think will resonate with new clients. Perhaps something from the same industry. Or maybe an example of the same type of project you’d be working on together. Explain why you picked those specific samples to show your thoughtfulness and highlight your expertise.
Avoid talking about rates or cost and instead focus on your experience or niche. Do you tend to get design right on the first try? Are you a wiz at punny headlines? Talk up what makes you unique as a creative rather than how much you charge. That’s how you start competing based on your brand rather than your price.
Last but not least, always be responsive and professional. A freelancer can quickly win his or her way into a potential new client’s heart by responding quickly and communicating clearly.
What do you look for when hiring a freelancer? Tell us in a comment below.