Are you just starting off in the freelance business, or do you have a drought of clients approaching you for work? Even if you aren’t struggling or in a bad spell, and your just looking to grow a healthy client base. There are a few areas that you should review and question within your process, your pricing, professionalism, selectivity, portfolio items and so on.
You can get clients any way you wish, anywhere you wish. But you will only find the best clients by practicing selectivity.
“So how do I know who are the best clients? How do I select them?” you say. Well, firstly, you need to be good. Your work needs to be so good that clients want to hire you to solve their problems. And you do this by displaying your best work, and describing your process for that work. Be conscious of what a client wants to see in your work, what problems you’re solving, how you’re solving them, why you choose one thing over another. You need to display your decision-making ability for potential clients to see.
Ask yourself, “Would you hire you?”.
Practice. It’ the only way to get better. Take classes, do online courses, read books and broaden your knowledge of your subject field. There are a multitude of different ways to improve. But you’re only going to get better by taking action.You don’t become good at something over night, at some point, sometime, you are going to have to put in a lot of hard work.
When a client approaches you about hiring you to do work for them. Position yourself as an investment. Don’t start the conversation off around money. This is a sure-fire way for the client to see you as an expense, not someone who is going to provide a wealth of value to their brand and business in the long-term. Establish the relationship as professional and as someone who is going to be of value and provide solutions to the client. Ask questions about the reasoning behind why they are hiring you and what they wish to achieve through hiring you. Consult with them. Ask about the perceived value of the project to them and what kind of impact revenue or profit-wise this will have on their business.
Asking the right kind of questions and how you ask them is key to bolstering the relationship and closing the deal.
Construct a questionnaire to send to clients when they are looking to work with you. But you need to ask the right type of questions at the beginning in order to filter the right type of client. “But what is the right type of client?” you ask.
The right type of client is one that understands your process and is onboard with your values. They see you as a professional in every sense of the matter and can identify the value that you have to offer them.
It’s your responsibility to ask they correct questions and screen your clients so you may select the best ones for you. Use the questionnaire to practice selectivity. The questions you ask should be able to pick out clients who are really onboard with your value and ones who are just bad clients, who won’t respect our time, see you as an investment, try to undercut your rates. The list is endless. But one this is for sure;
Never bring your price down arbitrarily if a client can’t afford you.
After having the initial email conversation with the client, having sent them your questionnaire and identifying that they are onboard with you and understand your process. You have found the right type of client for you. You need to set the expectations of the project. What is going to be delivered by you, when is it going to be delivered, what is your goal, what is the clients goal with the project, why are they hiring you, The assets that are going to be sent to you, how much your pricing the project? etc.
You’re the professional, it’s your responsibility to ask the right questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask them questions either. Find out why they want your services, what are the profits going towards, what is the products target audience, what’s their long-term and short-term goal with your work.
This can be overwhelming for someone new to client work. How to have the initial email conversations and ask the correct questions is vital to the project going ahead at all, and can take practice before getting it right.
To sum up some of these steps;
- You need to be good. Practice your skill, make sacrifices, become a recluse and deliberately aim to get better at your work.
- Discover your personal values. Identify what you stand for, your virtues about your work, your views as to what the best client for you would be like. Know who you are and what you are about, and what kind of person you would like to work with.
- Craft your questionnaire around these values. By asking the right questions, you filter out people you don’t wish to work with. It will only lead to heartache and a waste of your time and resources down the line.
- Know your value. Know what your worth, how to price your products or services (or both), what your time means to you, what else you could be doing. More than likely, you’re not charging enough.
- Set expectations. When the project is due, what deliverables are due, the licensing rights, what the project is being used for, what is your goal etc.
- Position yourself as an investment. Don’t open the conversation with a money figure, ask the client their purpose for hiring you, what do they wish to achieve by coming to you. What problems can you solve for them. They know you can solve problems because they seen it from case studies you displayed in your portfolio.
- Establish yourself as a professional. Be confident in your ability and how you handle yourself. There is a reason why the client came to you in the first place. you’re good at what you do.