Being a freelancer, especially a full-time freelancer, means embracing a life of uncertain job prospects and self-promotion. This is because the most attractive qualities of freelance work, flexibility, mobility, and self-determination, remove structure and predictability from your work flow. If you want to succeed in the freelance economy, one of the most important skills you must develop is the ability to cultivate a steady stream of clients. With that in mind, here are five tips that every freelancer needs to know about generating work flow.
Write Quality Proposals
One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to distance yourself from the competition is to write high-quality proposals. Good writing shows you have the intelligence and professionalism necessary to get the job done. Take the time to understand your client by doing research about its business and the posted task. Edit your proposal to remove grammar errors, missing punctuation, confusing sentences, and unnecessary information.
Know Where to Find Work in Your Industry
Go to where the jobs are at. The online freelance community has matured greatly over the past decade, and freelancers can visit a number of high-profile platforms that match workers with projects.
Some prominent freelance websites include:
There are literally millions of clients looking for work though these websites. If you still can’t find enough quality projects on which to bid, try generalist sites such as Craigslist or even traditional job sites such as Glassdoor or Indeed.
Be Comfortable With Cold Introductions
Cold email and telephone outreach is still highly relevant in the modern economy. Unfortunately, too many freelancers have either had poor experiences as cold-calling salesmen or are fearful of facing immediate rejection from cold outreach methods. Don’t let yourself fall into this mindset. If your pitches are confident, professional, and targeted, there is no reason to shy away from cold outreach. Remember, freelancers are often there to perform tasks that traditional companies are either unable or ill-equipped to handle flexibly. Let your potential clients see your work product and that you can perform excellent work on an ad hoc basis.
Value Your Work Correctly
“How much do I charge?”
This is a big question for a lot of new freelancers. If you bid too low, you may accept jobs that pay less than you could have gotten elsewhere. Charge too much and you’ll find opportunities dry up pretty quickly.
Make no mistake about it, the freelance market is full of haggling, undercutting, and price flexibility. Your job is to determine two things:
- What do other freelancers in my field charge?
- How much money do I need to cover my expenses?
Answer those questions, set a rate, and use the natural feedback of the market to determine if you can charge more or cut your rates.
- Present Yourself and Your Work Product Professionally
Freelance work attracts plenty of lazy people who can’t keep a good schedule. Set yourself above 80% of your competition by simply responding to clients on time, communicating professionally, and always hitting your deadlines.