If the freedom and flexibility of freelancing sound like a dream, you’re not alone. In fact, 25% of the freelancers in the world are from India. But like with any career, becoming a successful independent contractor requires hard work and a bit of strategy. When you lay a solid foundation, you can build a freelance business that keeps clients coming back.
Create a Brand
As a freelancer, you’re essentially a one-person business. To give yourself an advantage from the beginning, consider creating a brand. A logo, a simple website, and business cards make you look professional and put-together. That’s a big deal, especially when you’re asking clients to spend money on your services. You don’t need to spend much. Companies like Logo Design India make it easy to get a logo, and you can use WordPress and PrintStop for budget-friendly websites and business cards.
Figure Out How to Get Paid
In one study, Indian freelancers reported that a big challenge is getting paid for their work. It’s not uncommon to send multiple invoices or wait a month or more for payments to come through. You can avoid some of these hassles by adjusting your payment terms. One option is to require clients to put down a deposit before you start work. This helps you maintain cash flow, even when clients are late with the remainder. You might also bill weekly or require payment in full when you deliver the project. Make sure these terms are clearly spelled out in each contract.
One of the easiest ways to get paid is to make it as easy as possible for your clients. Programs like QuickBooks Online allow you to send invoices quickly, and online payment services help eliminate paperwork. Keep in mind that different companies have different accounting systems, so it’s helpful if you can accept multiple forms of payment.
Go Above and Beyond
If there’s one thing that can take your freelancing business to the next level, it’s personal referrals. When businesses are looking for freelancers, they want to choose someone who does great work and delivers on time. That’s hard to determine from a website, so they often ask their professional contacts for recommendations.
How do you get your clients to refer you? Go above and beyond for them. Do fantastic work, and try to give a few extras. If you’re a graphic designer, you might write up a quick style guide to help your clients remember what fonts and colours to use. Whenever possible, deliver your projects a few days earlier than expected. These small touches leave a big impression on your clients, so they’re more likely to recommend you to other business owners.
Know When to Outsource
As a freelancer, your time is your most valuable asset. The more efficiently you work, the higher your profit margins. This is where it’s important to work to your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. If you struggle with HTML, there’s no point in wasting three hours trying to format a blog post. Instead, you can pay another freelancer to do the task. They’ll get it done faster, and you can spend those three hours on higher-paying client work.
As more of India moves toward freelancing, the gig economy is likely to grow. With an efficient, professional process, you can take advantage of new opportunities and maintain a successful freelance career.