Freelancing for Beginners: How to get Consistent Clients
One of the biggest nightmares for most freelancers starting out in the venture, is usually finding not only jobs, but most importantly well paying and consistent clients. For most people, this is as a result of poor or non-existent planning and strategy on how to take on freelancing. The misconception they go by is that all you need is the requisite skills, proper working equipment, and to sign up to as many freelance sites as will accommodate you.
If you have at any moment fallen prey to this subscription of thought, then this article is definitely for you. As we discovered in an earlier article, freelancing should be treated as a serious business venture, and as such, the only way to be successful at it is by being smart and strategic. As opposed to the assumption that being a rookie freelancer means working 5 times as hard to get clients, we will share tips on how to help you find more clients with less effort.
1. Define your client
This is the first and most important step. Most people focus too much on ‘How to get clients’, when they barely understand who their client is.
How this works, is first by identifying a need in the market that you can use your skills and passion to help fulfil. Next you identify the people who are most affected by this need gap; for a start, you can use a general assumption. Now the work really begins when you do a comprehensive customer profile research. The ultimate goal here, is to establish a buyer persona. Who is your client, how old are they? Where do they hang out/live? What are their interests and hobbies? What are their biggest frustrations, and where do they go to try and alleviate their biggest pain points.
Learn your ideal client inside and out and be as specific as possible. This will help you to fully understand their needs so that you can craft a solution for them that helps them to solve their problem and of course ensures that they keep coming back for more.
The most important aspect of an ideal client however, is that, just as you are passionate about helping them, that they also see value in your product / service and pay you accordingly. This means that they do not make too many unnecessary demands, their payment process is transparent and efficient, and they do not feel entitled to boss you around just because they are offering you business.
Unless your goal is just to make money no matter what, the kind of client who does any or all of the above, will only frustrate you as you work together, which shifts your focus from solving their actual problem, to trying to prove that you are worthy of their business. Which in the end helps neither of you to achieve your goals. This is why finding the right client fit for you is super important. It is definitely as much about you as it is about them, so find a good steady balance.
2. Come up with a unique value proposition
Once you have tackled the enormous giant that is figuring out who your client is, you can start working on how to make them an offer they cannot refuse. How can you differentiate yourself from everyone else who is trying to get your potential client’s attention? Be creative and innovative with it. Offer something that is unique to you, that will set you apart. Make sure that you make it clear and highlight it consistently so customers know and appreciate exactly what to expect when they work with you.
However, do not be pressured into thinking that it has to be an extra service, although that is the most ideal situation. It could be your values, or your story. When people identify something about you that also resonates with them, they tend to trust you more because they feel a sense of kinship. So if you can, do not be afraid of showing these. You can use this in the meantime, as you learn more about your industry so that you can be able to craft packages that will be more attractive to your potential clients.
3. Show up, be seen, be heard
Traditionally, this would mean that you need to market yourself efficiently and effectively. This is obviously the most important aspect of any business, since how else would people get to know that you are available or know what exactly you can do for them, if they do not even know that you exist?
This means that you will need to sign up to job platforms like our very own Ajobintime, and establish your skill-set so that you can reach clients that you normally cannot attain on your own. Also ask yourself whether you need a portfolio, or a fully customized / optimized website. Although it is uncommon for freelancers to own this, it helps to set you apart as it shows potential clients that you are seriously invested in your business and will put the same kind of effort and investment into their work as well.
The problem comes in when trying to figure out where and how to get one within your limited budget. For this one, we definitely have you sorted! Simply reach out to us and we will help you set up your website at a very affordable rate so that you can gain more visibility online. A website is like online real estate, I.e establishing your space in the market, you cannot miss the opportunity to get yourself one.
The next most efficient way to be seen or heard is by serious networking. You need a large variety of networks in order to succeed in the freelance business. You need your personal network, which is made up of your family and friends; a professional network, which comprises of peers and other experts in your field of work as well as others who do not necessarily belong to the same field, but could also be very helpful; your actual client network; and lastly an online network.
These are the people who will help you get referrals and grow your client reach. More than a smart and fancy display / pitch of every awesome thing you can do for a client, many often trust other people’s experience working with you in order to trust you enough to also work with you. Therefore, building tangible relationships is the most important way to establish your brand as trustworthy and reliable. The secret is to be helpful in all your interactions, whether online or offline. Offer your help or expert advice for free whenever you can and establish yourself as an expert so people can also learn to depend on you, because they know that you’re the right person for the job. Don’t always sell sell sell. Give value, build trust. Moreover, this gives you an opportunity to connect with your client more so that you can understand their needs best. Humans are social creatures, and as such, it is their innate nature to depend on this aspect of their nature to make important decisions in their lives.