So you wanna know how to get more freelance work? Stay busy as hell? Turn work away even?
I get this question occasionally and I’m never really 100% sure how to answer it. One size doesn’t fit all in the freelance game.
The best I can do is communicate what works or has worked for me in working in popular design company – getgoosebumps.com.au.
I’ve tried a ton of tactics to get more freelance work apart from company.. but there are a few key elements that have stuck with me for a long time. Honestly, these are such simple straight forward concepts.. you should be doing this already. They should be WHY you freelance!
Have amazing customer service
By far my biggest pet peeve is shitty customer service.
You don’t literally have to the #1 developer in the world for your clients to think that you’re just that. You just need to be #1 in your clients book.
I’ve found that way above my technical skills lies something that will infinitely keep the work coming… customer service.
I generally reply to e-mails with a voracious quickness and honesty. My clients really like that and don’t mind paying my rates to get that level of service. If someone wants that level of service but isn’t willing to pay for it- maybe they aren’t the best client for you. I like my clients to know what they are getting for their dollar and it isn’t always my skills they are buying, but rather the overall service I provide, while I also use tools like a 1099-MISC tax form as this is a great way to manage our taxes.
Real world example: I completed a project, invoiced the client and rolled the whole thing out. A few weeks later they decided they wanted to tweak something and asked that I go ahead and do it then invoice when done citing that that they know I have a 1 hour minimum.
20 minutes of work and bill them for my 1 hour minimum? Sounds like a dream right? No. If its less than 30 minutes and makes the client happy, just do it. If they are a good client they will remember this and hopefully reward you with more work in the future.
Befriend your competitors
Not just freelancers either! I notice new freelancers get all in the hype about freelancing is the best ever and everything else is lame dude!
“Lets start a freelance-only band and we’ll like tour while we work!”
I’m really happy for you.. but that big corporate-like agency down the street working on $100k+ projects that you snarl at? It’s likely they can use your services and you can use their leverage to build a better portfolio which will help you charge a higher rate. The same happens with business there is always freelancers that can help with your business in topic like for example in payroll administration services.
I once literally walked in the front door of that big agency and introduced myself as a freelance WordPress developer. What do you know… I left for home with some really great contacts which eventually lead to more work!
Which brings me to my next point… get the hell out there. Even if means physically visiting agencies, print shops, local businesses, or whoever can benefit from your now available skill-set. Those traditional and generic marketing tactics can seriously help until you can…
Become an authority
Are you well versed in many ways, but only truly awesome in a few? Run with that. Find your passion in what you’re truly amazing at and tell the world how they can become just as good. That’s right. Share all your little secrets, tips, and tricks with everyone who is interested.
I’m a WordPress developer and often use lots of different tools and languages, but I’m really interested in making sites wicked fast. So I stay up with what the top guys are doing and finding my own ways of improving on that. Then I share it with you either through speaking at events or in articles about WordPress page speed.
But most importantly…
It’s really that simple. Just be legit everyday and with everything you do.
I occasionally get work that is simply put… out of my league or specialty. I tell them that and point them in the right direction of someone who can better handle their needs.
Straight up and honest: A good portion of them still want to work with me.
I can’t really explain that one. If we do move forward it’s because I at least know where to start and they understand the need to be flexible if I hit a hiccup.
And equally as important… when you screw up, admit it. I’ve had projects go sour and I’ve had projects go perfect without a hitch. If it hasn’t happened already it will at some point. Just understand that it’s ok.. IF you do the right thing to amend it!
Don’t be another “freelancer who disappeared mid through a project.”
Questions? Comments? Hate Mail? Sound off below…
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