If you’re brand new to the business, these 12 freelancer tips will help you avoid some of the biggest mistakes so that you don’t have to learn the hard way. Even veterans will find a nugget of wisdom or two you may have never considered.
#1 Know How Much You Are Worth
Too many freelancers fail to make their business profitable because they think they can get by on meager wages. They think they have to be the cheapest deal on the block or no one will order from them.
But you’re worth more than five dollars.
Certainly, you might not be able to start out at the same prices as your competitors with hundreds of reviews. But don’t get stuck in a rut for your entire freelance career.
Check out our guide on Your Freelance Fee And You for tips on how to charge what your time is actually worth.
#2 Make Sure You Get Paid
Especially when you are working with brand new clients, it makes sense to get paid upfront. Even for regular clients that you have come to know well, it’s just a safe practice.
After all, what if you spend hours and hours on a project, but they end up in the hospital for a month? Or a natural disaster cuts off their power for weeks?
Trouble getting paid is a common issue among independent contractors, especially ones who work remotely. That’s why many freelancers choose to use a platform like Legiit, which ensures that clients get what they paid for and freelancers who deliver always get paid.
#3 Beware of Client Red Flags
One of the joys of freelancing is the opportunity to pick and choose who you work for. Unfortunately, many new freelancers are so excited to land a sale that they fall for scams or end up being used.
There are three kinds of clients that you need to be wary about working with:
- Clients who haggle your fee.
- Clients who treat you like their employee.
- Clients who demand more for less (known as scope creep).
#4 Know When To Ask For Help
As one of Legiit’s skilled freelance writers noted in a post recently, even Clark Kent needs help sometimes.
Whether you are struggling with getting sales, staying motivated, or keeping up with your orders, everyone needs a hand from time to time. Why continue to suffer through the same issues for weeks or months when there are so many people in your life who can help you out.
So be aware of your mental state and your workload. When you feel like you can barely keep your head above water, it’s long overdue for you to reach out for help.
#5 Actually Ask For Help
This should go without saying, but it doesn’t.
Knowing when to ask for help won’t get you anywhere if you don’t actually do it. So instead of wallowing in your issues, find a mentor or someone else who can help you out.
A good place to start is the Legiit Official Facebook Group. We bet someone there can lend a hand or even just some moral support.
#6 Take Time With Your Sales Pages
If you are offering your services on a marketplace like Legiit, or even out of your own website, don’t neglect your sales copy. It’s not enough to throw up a bullet list of what you do.
You have to sell yourself. You have to overcome buyer objections. You have to make them choose you.
We have heard of people struggling with this so much, in fact, that we’ve put together a conversion checklist for freelancers. It offers a step-by-step guide of what you need to do to convince customers to buy.
#7 Understand Customer Pain Points
Try to focus less on “offering a service” and more on “solving a problem”.
Clients don’t want service. They want to have their problems solved.
In marketing terms, we call this strategy appealing to customer pain points, and we have written a whole guide on it here. The more aware you are of what pains your customers, the more you will be able to offer them exactly the cure they need.
#8 Don’t Expect Work To Come To You
The best sales copy in the world isn’t going to do a thing for you if no one is reading it. And you can’t just twiddle your thumbs and hope customers find you.
You might get a stray sale here or there. But if you are serious about making this a business for yourself, then you have to take your marketing efforts seriously.
Share your stuff on your social channels.
Write a guest post on the Legiit Blog.
Or do any of the many strategies we outline in our Complete Guide to Get More Orders on Legiit.
#9 Don’t Beg For Work
Whatever you do, don’t beg people to order your services.
Nobody owes you anything. And you don’t get a trophy just for showing up.
Remember when we said that customers want their problems solved? Well there is about a zero percent chance of them thinking you are the person who can solve them if you are begging for work.
It’s just unprofessional.
#10 Brand Yourself
One of the many reasons to not beg for work is that you don’t want to brand yourself as desperate. Believe it or not, branding isn’t just for big businesses.
In fact, since freelancers often deal in small, niche communities, some could argue that their branding is even more important.
Word spreads, and a little bit of good (or bad) reputation goes a long way. Decide what you want to be known for, and take actions in every public communication to associate your name with your brand.
Related: 5 Strategies to Build Your Brand
#11 Build Discipline
Discipline trumps motivation every time.
When you aren’t motivated to answer emails…
When you aren’t motivated to fulfill those orders…
When you aren’t motivated to market yourself…
Discipline will get the job done. Even when you don’t feel like it.
Motivation is a feeling, but discipline is a habit. It’s something you can develop in yourself.
If you’re looking for practical ways to become a more disciplined freelancer, check out our guide on How To Build Discipline.
#12 Bounce Back From Failure
Eventually, you’ll fail in some way.
You’ll suffer setbacks. You won’t meet your earning goals. Or even if it’s not your fault, you’ll have unhappy customers.
The most important thing is to not let these little stumbling blocks grow into major holdups. The more you can see every failure as an opportunity for growth, the easier it will be to bounce back and hit the ground running.
Related: How To Handle Loss in Business
Take Action Today
It would be really easy to read these freelancer tips, say “yeah, yeah”, and then go back to what you’ve always been doing.
But if you can find even one useful piece of advice in this post that you aren’t already doing, take action on it today.