The very thing that draws many of us into a freelancing career is the very thing that we struggle with the most—the want of freedom and being our own boss. We became freelancers to enjoy life on our own terms. We want to set our own schedule and do work when it works for us, right?
To make a successful freelancing career, you first need to create a structure that works for you. For example, it might be that you work in the mornings early while your kids are asleep and then get back to work later when the kids are at school. The important thing here is to be consistent and give your work the respect and time it needs to flourish. Once you’ve created this workstyle structure, the following strategies will help you keep and grow your freelance client base.
Strategies to Grow Your Freelance Client Base:
- Treat your clients well. Current clients are the very foundation of your future business. In freelancing, making clients happy creates ongoing and future business for you. The relationships and trust you build with your freelance clients will not only pay you now, but also in the future when they continually come back to you for your services AND (this is the big one) refer business to you.
- Create a polished ONLINE brand. Develop a professional website that highlights your work experience and all of the services you offer. Be sure to have a contact form on your website so that visitors have a way of reaching out to you. Create social media accounts that link back to your website. Pay special attention to LinkedIn, growing your network and fleshing out your profile. If you need to get a professional photo headshot done, then do so. You are much more likely to get the project if they can connect your name with a face. It makes you much more approachable.
- Create a polished OFFLINE brand. Have a physical business card on hand. You never know when you are going to run into someone who may need your services. Also, have talking points that answer, “What do you do?” You want this to be succinct, but also powerful. Include examples of measurable outcomes from one or more of your projects. For example, I could say, “I create social media campaigns. One such campaign recently generated a 30% increase in website visitors to my client’s website when compared to the same timeframe just before the campaign.”
- Develop your network. As freelancers, your network is your tribe. These are the individuals you’ve come to rely on as a source of moral support and knowledge. Where people in a traditional workplace have co-workers, you have your network. Sometimes these are individuals that you just call up for a social chat; other times, these individuals help you with a project as your subcontractor. You need to keep these relationships strong and mutually beneficial and above all – genuine. The odds are good that when you run into a roadblock, if you have a robust network to call on, you will find a solution in no time at all.
By implementing the above strategies into your freelancing business, you will continue to cultivate and grow your freelance client base. This not only ensures a steady income but also helps you to stay true to why you become a freelancer in the first place—to enjoy life on your own terms!