There’s a certain degree of skill and attention required to land a client and even more skill and attention to keep that client long term. As a freelancer this is a skill you will have to learn and master in order to grow your portfolio and forge ahead a great career, not to mention keep food on the table.
It’s interesting to me how much emphasis is placed on learning your craft while in college, yet real world life experience gets no mention or very little. This is crucial and needs to be implemented as part of the curriculum in classes in order for students to learn how to navigate the often murky waters of business, sales and professionalism. Let’s get right to it.
Below we present five tips for web based freelancers on how best to land and keep clients.
1. Great pitch - one of the most important yet often overlooked pieces in landing a client is the pitch. Yes, the pitch. You do have one, right? Well, if not you’re already one step behind the other guy. Why should your prospective client choose you? Literally. What is about you that makes you unique, different, special or better than the other person vying for the same position as you. Coming up with the answer to this question requires thought, a bit of time and reflection. But it’s not that deep a question, it merely is asking – what did you study? what do you know? That’s it. One thing I see many college grads do (or even non college grads) is focus on what they have learned versus what they can do. These are two very different things. Your potential client is not interested in your GPA or how you know Calculus or Geometry – they are interested in how you can help them? What can you do? Tell them.
2. Samples of work – have you completed work for a relative or friend in your field of study or skill set? Then this my friend can (and should) be used as samples of your work. Clients like to see what you have done and how it was done. Show them. Literally. Give them past samples of your work. If you’re a freelance writer, then this would be articles you’ve written for yourself on your blog, articles you’ve written for others, etc. Create a simple portfolio of your work and have it ready to pull out when needed.
3. Testimonials/Social proof – social proof is HUGE today. What is social proof? It’s when someone who knows you and has worked with you – vouches for you. This can be in the form of a written testimonial, a video, eBay feedback, Twitter tweet, Facebook mention and so on. Most important is that it be honest and mention specifics of some sort. Best way to get them is to simply ask, preferably right after you’ve completed and done a good job on a task. Strike while the iron is hot.
4. Quick Delivery/Or Timely Progress Reports – nothing is more frustrating for a client than bad or lack of communication by a freelancer. Keep tabs whenever you can with your client to let him (or her) know what is going on and where you stand with their order. This could be a weekly email, a phone call, a text, tweet, etc. Establish from the beginning how (and when) you will communicate with each other to keep each other informed of said hired project. This is crucial in keeping a GOOD client.
5. Rates Commensurate With Experience/Skill Set – if you know what you’re worth, then don’t sell yourself short. However you must know what you’re worth in order to determine this. As a freelancer – the going rate for what you do and how you do it can vary by location, experience, skills, education, etc. Only you know these things and only you can determine accordingly. Once you’ve come up with the desired rate, set it but remember that if you’re a beginner in your field you might need (or want) to be flexible till you’ve garnered enough clients to name your price. Until then, keep an eye out for good opportunities that might await you in the form of steady work.
Written by Missy Diaz
Missy Diaz is an experienced and established web based freelancer who works for various clients including Gareth, a freelance link builder from the UK. When Missy is not writing for the web she loves to bike, hike, run and ride her horses.