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December 15, 2017
 

14 Ways to Get More Work as a Professional Freelancer

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If you are a freelancer like me, then you are probably relishing working from home in your PJs nowadays and blaring your music so incredibly loud, you can't hear your neighbors complain anymore.

You probably also love your random breaks during the day and your random work schedule, in general - not to mention the two-hour lunch that you spend talking to your family members and friends on Skype and Facebook.

Meanwhile, however, various clients are looking for professional freelancers that can rely on - niche professionals who can deliver great results.

And as you chat on Skype or Facebook, they are probably visiting other freelancers' websites and hiring them for their projects. Bummer.

The Easy Ways to Score More Work

If you want to become a full-time freelancer, then you are probably good - if not great - at whatever you do.

But what do clients see when they see you?

If clients do not see you as an authority, then you might lose business to competitors who are actually less experienced than you, merely because they look more authoritative as a whole.

I was freelancing throughout my career until I decided to open a marketing company of my own seven years ago. This is when I learned that the simplest way to score more work was to out-class the competition, plain and simple.

Basically, you have to build a personal brand that showcases your work expertise and makes you look like an authority when it comes to your niche.

Every Little Detail Counts

If you want to out-class the competition with ease, then all you really have to do is pay more attention to the little details that other people tend to overlook.

Here are some things that you can focus on to outshine the competition, make yourself look like an expert freelancer, and get more work. These things may seem small, but they do make a difference when it comes to any freelance business - believe it.

1. Set Your Office Hours

That's right. You have to set certain office hours and actually stick to your schedule.

Accessibility happens to be vital to clients - especially if your goal is to attract more work. Face it: many freelancers mix their personal activities with their business activities on a daily basis (do you go grocery shopping at random times during the week?). This freedom might make freelancing more fun, but it won't help you get more work - that's for sure.

If you want to maintain a certain freedom while freelancing yet still be accessible for work, you need to establish certain "office hours" on your website that your clients know about.

You can set what time you can be contacted on the phone, for instance, like "1pm - 5pm from Monday to Friday".

Doing this will show potential clients how professional you are since it shows that you aren't available 24/7, but have set working hours; and that you have set this time aside during the day just to get in touch with them.

Naturally, you will have to stick to your set office hours in the end, otherwise you will no longer be seen as accessible in your clients' eyes.

2. Answer Their Calls

This might seem far too obvious, but a lot of small businesses actually send incoming calls to their voicemail.

A few years back, for instance, I was looking for a company of lawn maintenance and I called at least a dozen companies to ask about their services. Believe it or not, only one company answered their phone. And I didn't even call at odd hours. Of course, I ended up hiring the maintenance company that picked up the phone. Oh, and I never heard back from the companies that I left voicemails for, either.

Remember: when clients face problems, they will want instant solutions. They won't want to wait for a return call. So, if you set your office hours, make sure you answer every incoming call.

3. Deliver What You Promise

If you say you will send a client a proposal by the end of the day, do not rationalize that they will only check their inbox in the morning and send it at midnight. Send it on time. After all, they might work late, too.

In order to build a professional and reliable reputation, you have to keep your promises, no matter what.

I hired a freelancer to draft my sales letter a while ago and he promised that I would get the draft by Monday. An hour before business closed on Monday, however, I got a message from him that said he still needed to make some changes to the copy, so he might not get to send it to me until Wednesday. And since top quality was important to me then, I agreed.

I didn't hear from him on Wednesday, though, so I sent him a message at 7 pm on Wednesday night to ask about the project status. He claimed that he had finished the copy but still wanted to perfect some parts of it, so he would send it on Thursday. That was fine with me, but I insisted on getting it in the early morning since I was already behind schedule.

The exact same thing occurred on Thursday. I didn't hear from him, so at 9:30pm, I asked about the project again. He didn't respond.

The copy that I needed after the weekend finally arrived on Friday morning. Unfortunately, I completely missed my deadline, so I never used that copywriter again.

4. Go All Out with Your Website

A lot of freelancers tend to have pending websites with some kind of statement on it: "We don't have time to finish our website because of the massive amount of projects we have received as of late," for example.

Baloney.

Those statements should read something like this instead: "We can't be bothered to work on our website because we are working. If you need any information on our services, please email or call us instead. Sorry."

If you do not have a complete website or if your website is outdated or has a "pending status" on it, get it done now. If a potential client finds a blank website without work samples or contact information on it, they won't try to get in touch with the owner. They'll just search for another freelancer - end of story.

5. Create a Logo

Every brand needs a visual identifier, so people can recognize it right away. This is why logos are so important.

In order to stand out from the rest and show people how serious you are when it comes to your business, create a logo. You don't even have to create a complex piece of artwork, either. You just need an icon, an image, or a well-styled type - that's it. A logo simply refers to something that your business can always be identified with, whether online or in print.

6. Prepare a Promotional Kit

Whenever potential clients get in touch with you and ask you about your work, you should have something professional to show them. And I don't mean a plain and short typed-up email with several links on it, either.

Ideally, you should prepare a professional promotional "kit" that you can send out right away. Create something that can describe your freelance services, provide them with your personal information, highlight your best qualities and showcase your work samples.

A PDF version of this would be ideal to send to potential clients.

7. Be Confident

Clients can tell when somebody is confident in their abilities and their work. To be deemed as professional, you have to be confident in your manner of speaking, your body language, and your word choice.

This would be all the more important when you are talking to a potential client on the phone since he won't able to see your face or your body language. Your voice has to showcase your confidence here and show him that you can help him out if he chooses to hire you.

8. Create Personal Policies

To improve your image even more, you should set personal business policies, as well.

If a new client is interested in hiring you, for instance, will you ask for a deposit before working for him? How many revisions is the client entitled to with their price range?

What happens if the project doesn't push through? Will you get paid after the project has been delivered or do you provide net-30 terms?

If you have personal business policies set up and tell your clients about them and actually stick to them, they will end up respecting you and your business more. Plus, this will show your clients just how serious you are when it comes to business, and that you aren't just freelancing for fun.

9. Set Expectations Early On

Clients usually don't know which steps are needed to finish a project or what your workflow, working style, and inner processes are like.

So, if you want to make everybody's life easier and put everybody's minds at ease, you should set your expectations and deadlines early on.

If you are being hired to build a website, for instance, you can tell them what the next step is after you get the deposit.

Inform them of when they will see the first proof and what you will do after that.

If your clients know what is coming, they won't be scared of what's ahead. Doing this will also prevent any possible misunderstandings in the future that might come about because of unrealistic expectations.

10. Get Professional Estimates Ready

Another easy way to get more work would be to get professional proposals ready. Make sure they include several things, too - not just prices.

Take time off to build proposal templates with elements out of your professional promotional kit, such as your expertise, references, testimonials, samples, policies and terms.

Putting in some extra effort will help your clients find out why you should be hired. And because you will be working with a template, you will have an easier time creating proposals for various clients, as well. All you will have to do is enter new prices and change several words as needed.

11. Ask for Work

If you are extremely interested in the business of a client, you shouldn't just send in a proposal and answer his questions, with hopes of going to meetings with him in the future.

You need to ask for a sale and show clients how confident you are.

Don't be scared to ask for a job. In fact, you should assume that the client will give it to you and start asking about any future steps right away. Be specific when you do this, too, and mention certain things like what the contract will be like, what the deposit payment will be like and when the first proof will be ready.

12. Don't Overdo It

Now, you have to be careful about your eagerness when talking to and following up with possible clients. Replying to emails right away and calling repeatedly about proposal follow-ups might make you look desperate - and this could scare potential clients away.

Keep in mind that most people like to work with successful people. So, if you seem like the type of person who doesn't have anything better to do but sit around and wait for emails, they might wonder whether anyone has ever bothered to hire you at all.

13. Be Consistent

In order to appear like a professional freelancer, you need to be consistent when it comes to your branding, too. Clients need to see things that can be recognized as yours right away, and all of your interactions need to make them feel like they are working with a real professional.

14. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

When you are talking to a client over the phone, keep in mind that various noises can easily ruin your professional image, such as barking dogs, washing machines, running water, screaming kids and dirty channels on TV.

Yes, you might be working at home, but your client doesn't have to hear all of those things.

When you answer the phone, assume it could be a client and immediately look for a professional and quite atmosphere to take the call in.

I have actually gone outside to sit in my car when I was expecting an important call once because I knew that the house would be too noisy at the time.

Conclusion

Being an authority within your freelance niche is no longer enough. You have to look like you fit the part now, too.

So, present yourself professionally and confidently to ensure that you get more work and prevent the less-experienced competition from taking all of the work that you deserve from under your hair.

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Comments
 
Neeraj Sachdeva
October 2, 2011 - 6:33 am
"Don't be scared to ask for a job. In fact, you should assume that the client will give it to you and start asking about any future steps right away." I think this is essential. Most freelancers are worried if/if not they will get a job, but I think if you believe enough that you can, then you will. Freelancers have to be more confident than 9-5 employees as they face more rejection every month than their counterparts.
 
Tayten
June 8, 2011 - 6:05 am
Hahahaha. I'm not too birhgt today. Great post!
 
csaba fikker
May 22, 2011 - 11:50 pm
I have just wrote an article on Freelance-Lifestyle Blog about a successful marketing campaign strategy for photographers but it can be applied to other fields as well I know this only cover one of your points but I think this is a major element of any start-up success. http://freelance-lifestyle.blogspot.com/2011/05/10-things-to-do-4-photographers.html
 
adele
May 18, 2011 - 10:56 pm
I agree with ensuring you take phone call in general and when you do make sure the environment is serene. I advise highly getting a logo as thats what helps me distinguish the different companies I am interested in getting work from. In this economy people are comparing more an if you don't stand out you will not get my work.
 
 
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