Posts tagged freelancing
Freelance writers are slowly becoming solution providers. They are participating in promotional strategies of businesses – offering complete solutions for marketing, search engine optimization, website content structuring, designing and writing, online/social media marketing, blogging and what not. This plethora of experience in multiple marketing techniques has given us the power to grow stronger with each additional client – gain even more experience and offer greater insights to the next one.
Why do we still struggle to acquire new clients?
We have the knowledge and we have seen it work for many of our clients too, but we never take out time to implement the same techniques to build our own brand. How many of us have a website registered in our own name/brand name? Ok, many of us do; but how many of us have spent some dedicated hours on thinking about branding our website, designing it, updating it frequently, optimizing it for the search engines, advertising it, and so on?
Marketing their own services online and offline is essential for freelancers. Utilize the tricks that you have put to use for many of your clients, for yourself. Show the same level of dedication while you work for creating a name. Many of us don’t get the time to invest in our own brand building as we are already occupied with work. But we must take out at least a few hours per week to grow.
Help your prospective clients to find you easily online. Make sure that if people are searching for writers in the domain of your expertise – then they must be able to locate you and feel the urge to contact you based on your credentials.
This can only happen if you come out of your shell and market yourself.
If you do so, you will never feel the need to hunt for jobs on the online job boards and low-paying bidding sites. And if you cannot do so, then it would be better to stick to your current job and wait till you gather some more experience before jumping into freelancing.
We all start the same way – work in a regular job for a few years, get tired of the monotony, or a creativity-crushing boss, or a pay package that could be compared to peanuts for the amount of skills we have. But we finally take that step to become free. Working for multiple clients, handling a variety of jobs, getting paid for what we are worth, and of course, the satisfaction of ownership and being our own boss. All of these give a different kind of mental high.
I have been freelancing for a long time now and have had the good fortune to come across lots of fellow freelancers: beginners as well as experts. Based on my experience, here are the top five things that really annoy clients, more than you can imagine. Sit back and think – are you doing any of these career-damaging actions:
1. Not replying back to client’s mails/phone calls and not following up:
If you were working in a company, a boss would always be sitting on your head and monitoring your actions. You have a higher level of accountability and responsibility there. When you are freelancing, you have to maintain that same level of accountability. Nothing delights clients more than prompt replies to their emails. You don’t have to wait for your clients to revert; when you think it’s time to hear from them, it’s best to send a gentle reminder. Many companies fear hiring freelancers because of the mindset that they are irresponsible and might vanish any day, which brings me to the next point.
2. Taking uninformed offs:
Freelancing offers you tremendous scope of working anytime from anywhere. But that doesn’t mean that you switch off your mail box in the middle of the week and take off for the weekend to a place where it’s hard to catch mobile signals. Most freelancers get the maximum work and the major part of their income from long-standing clients. It takes time and effort to build that reputation. Even if you are going out for a day, you must inform your client about it – in advance.
3. Not delivering the work on time:
If you promise something, you must deliver. I have a hard time understanding why some freelancers commit to deadlines that they cannot follow. If you cannot get something done in a day then don’t say that you can. Most often than not, if you explain your workload to your clients, they will understand. When you are giving your work timelines to your client, add an extra day if you think that you might not be able to complete the work in time. If in case, you get delayed, inform your clients yourself – don’t wait for them to come to you.
4. Not maintaining a work sheet:
I always encourage fellow freelancers to maintain an Excel sheet or online worksheet to update the status of the tasks that they are doing. If you manage your work well, you can get it done in time and plan out like professionals. You can have several columns in your worksheet: client name, job, status, author, payment received, payment pending, internal deadline, client deadline, remarks. In the status you can put – to write/design, to edit, to do final review, to send to client, sent to client for approval, waiting for approval, to be uploaded, to be tracked, done, and so on. Highlight the tasks in different colors based on priority. When you have multiple jobs going on simultaneously, it gets hard to track them in your brain so it’s best to use Excel as your pensieve.
5. Not practicing what you are preaching:
You are a writer but you don’t have a blog/website; you are a designer but you don’t have an online portfolio; you are an SEO specialist but people can’t find you on Google; you call yourself a social media specialist and you have just tweeted thrice in your own name – these are things that you should take care of. If you are writer, take out time to maintain your own blog. Do for yourself what you are doing for your clients. This shows your authority and grasp of the work that you are doing.
Veteran freelancers might not be doing any of the above and that’s why they have reached where they are. This article is meant for beginners who don’t pay attention to such nuances and as a result are unable to sustain clients for long and return to normal jobs after a short stint as freelancers.