We’ve all heard the disheartening comments about the financial aspect of freelancing. Chances are that you’ve unfortunately been on the receiving end of these statements.
If you’re feeling discouraged, don’t! Freelancing can be very lucrative if you play your cards right.
Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the industry for a while, if you’re looking to up your freelancing game, then check out this list of the six factors of future freelance success.
1. Pick a niche
This should be the first thing to think about if you’re a beginner.
And if you’re a freelancer who hasn’t stuck with a niche yet, then take a break from reading this article and go find that niche, ASAP!
Specializing in a specific niche will help attract the attention of recruiters looking for people in your niche.
A common mistake many freelancers make is marketing themselves as freelancers who can “write about anything” or can “design anything” and solely rely on their skills to get them gigs.
Imagine you were a recruiter at a B2B tech company looking for a copywriter. You come across two writer profiles on LinkedIn; one of them tags themselves as a “B2B freelance writer” and another one adopts the headline “B2B Freelance Tech Copywriter”
Which one would you choose? Of course you would choose the second freelancer, because they’re marketing themselves to recruiters who are looking for someone just like you.
So, it isn’t enough to market yourself as just a “freelance writer.” Pick a topic or specialization that you find enjoyable to write about (some high-paying examples are Health and Lifestyle, B2B SaaS, and Finance), choose a target audience (B2B, B2C, startups, etc.), and then the type of freelance writing you do (copywriting, eBook writing, grant writing, etc.)
2. Use different avenues to find clients
We all know how hard it is to land clients sometimes, so if you want to succeed as a freelancer, you’ll have to use more than one medium to bring clients to you.
That’s right, your LinkedIn profile just isn’t enough to land clients!
Setting up an account on a freelance marketplace like Ureed.com will give you another way to get you high-paying gigs and big-shot clients.
Another way to go is by creating a website that flaunts your portfolio and tells your potential clients everything about you. The website will show clients that you’re serious about your work and will give off a generally good impression of you as a professional.
Make sure you cater your website to your niche and target clients. You’re not a mere freelancer, you’re a business owner. You’re essentially marketing a product (your writing skills, for example!), so you’re going to have to start thinking like a businessperson.
Your website isn’t a place for you to just dump all your experiences and credentials in. It’s a place for you to prove your worth and market your skills to your future clients.
As soon as your client lands on your website, it should immediately answer the question most recruiters have, and that is, “what value will this person bring to my team/ company?”
3. Cold emailing
The first thing most freelance writers turn to for gigs is job boards.
Job boards are definitely great resources, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on to get money.
Ever thought about cold emailing or pitching?
It’s when you actively search for clients in your niche and then offer your services to them directly via email.
This is a more aggressive approach to marketing your skills than coming across a job post, and it’s also a great way to land long-term, high-paying clients.
You can start by creating a spreadsheet of businesses you want to work with.
Websites like AngelList can help you find companies and businesses in your chosen niche. LinkedIn can also be a useful tool to help easily find recruiters or content managers at the companies of your choosing (it’s also great networking!)
Fair warning, this will require a lot of patience and practice on your part. Don’t expect to land a client from the very first cold email.
This is why you should aim to pitch to a lot of companies on a daily basis; the more companies you contact, the better your chances are in winning their attention.
We’re talking no less than 100 clients a day. Yes, a hundred. Don’t hold back, get crazy!
As a side note, make sure you add a link to your professional website and LinkedIn profile under your email sign-off.
Oh, and don’t forget to follow up if you don’t get a response within a week or two. Be persistent! Clients like it when you are.
4. Be personal in your pitches
Speaking of cold emailing, how are your pitching skills?
Creating the perfect pitch takes time and practice. There’s a lot of trial and error involved here.
But the surest way to get positive feedback from a pitch is to personalize them.
By personalize, we mean researching the company or client you’re emailing beforehand, instead of just blindly sending emails left and right.
It goes without saying that you should NOT put clients in bcc to make the process faster. Clients will pick up on this very easily, and it also means that your email will come off as generic and spammy.
Check out the articles on the website of the company you’re pitching to; what do you think needs improvement? Briefly address these issues in your email and then offer solutions.
This is what it means to be personal in your emails and it’s also how you build trust with a client before you even start working with them.
5. Up your rates, and fast!
The most dreaded topic for any freelancer; money and assessing your worth.
Many freelancers unfortunately sell themselves short and end up being underpaid because of the extremely low rates they set for themselves.
If you’re a beginner, your goal is to first get as many clients as you can to build that portfolio of yours. In this stage, you’ll want to become a yes-(wo)man and grab every opportunity you can get, regardless of pay.
Don’t linger there for too long, though! You’ll want to quickly – and steadily – increase your rates after the first few gigs.
If you started out at USD 30$ an article, go up to 35, then 40, then 45, then 50. Don’t wait too long, make it a rule to get your rates up with every two clients you work with.
One of the reasons why so many freelancers struggle to boost their rates, is that they linger in the beginner-intermediate phase for too long!
With every client you successfully work with, you’re gaining experience, and that’s a good enough reason to charge more.
Ask yourself this, if you have never missed a single deadline, are a great person to work with, and have the skills to get results for your client, then who’s to say you don’t deserve better pay?
Up those rates!
6. Last but not least, don’t give up trying
When it comes to making a decent income, it’s an uphill struggle for freelancers.
What’s important is that you be diligent enough to wake up every morning and reassess your work strategy.
Work is work; no one likes it, but when you have a “why,” work becomes bearable.
Always keep your “why” in mind whenever you feel like you’re going nowhere with your freelancing career. You’ve chosen this career path for a reason, remember that!
Do it right, and you’ll soon find yourself making more money than you would ever imagine.
Ready to connect with top employers in your niche and boost your income? Reach out to Ureed.com, the GCC’s largest freelance marketplace.