10 Steps to a Client-Winning Mindset

We can read freelancing advice all day long, but the truth is that when you are a freelancer–your mindset is everything.

Your mindset determines the difference between reading advice and following advice. It’s the difference between doing a good job and doing a lousy job. And finally, your mindset can be the difference between quitting and persevering (and ultimately succeeding).

A bad attitude is a freelancer’s biggest obstacle and a good attitude is their biggest asset.

In this post, I’ll list ten steps to help you get a client-winning mindset for your freelancing business.

Get the Right Attitude

Did you ever wonder why some extremely talented freelancers fail while others, with just a moderate amount of talent, succeed?

The answer is that successful freelancers have the right mindset.

Here are some steps to take to make sure that you have the kind of mindset that wins clients rather than the mindset that drives them away.

  1. Care about your client. This is where a good, client-winning mindset starts. Your client is a real person and his or her business has real needs. Take the time to understand both your client and your client’s needs. Believe me, your client can tell when you don’t care and if your client knows that you don’t care they won’t be your client for long.
  2. Care about your work. This is a slight variation of caring about the client. You also need to care about your work. Whether you receive credit for your work or not, everything you do should be something that you would be proud to put your name on. If you’re not proud of your work, you’ve done something wrong. Successful freelancers don’t just “get by” with minimum effort.
  3. Do what you say you’re going to do. This sounds simple, but it’s not. There are so many freelancers (and others) who don’t live up to their promises. Being the reliable one will instantly set you apart. Of course, this also means that you should be careful what you promise. Never promise something if you know that you can’t deliver it.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Too many projects have sunk because the freelancer was afraid to ask a simple question. We think that asking a question will make us sound dumb, but making a mistake that could have been avoided by asking a question is even dumber. The best freelancers know what questions to ask and when to ask them.
  5. Keep up. As a successful freelancer, you need to keep up: both with your workload and with changes in your field. This is all part of caring about your work and caring about your clients. If you don’t keep up, you won’t be able to provide good service. Do what it takes. Take classes. Read books and blogs. Practice and study your profession.
  6. Stop apologizing. You’re not doing a favor by apologizing to your client for things that require no apology. Many freelancers (and I count myself among them sometimes) have a bad habit of saying “sorry” when no sorry is needed. Don’t apologize for your fees, for being too busy to take a rush job, or for needing more information from your client.
  7. Stop wasting time. There are a lot of fascinating things out there, and that’s especially true of online resources. It’s easy to justify doing things that are actually a waste of time. If you’re doing something for your freelancing business make sure that it will ultimately either improve your skills or bring you clients.
  8. Remember your profit margin. The reason that you’re in business is to earn a profit. To determine whether you’re earning a profit, you’re going to have to learn to manage your money well and keep good records. Know which clients have paid and which invoices are overdue. Keep an accurate record of business expenses and keep up with taxes.
  9. Promote your business. All businesses need to engage in marketing and your freelancing business is no different. Yet we freelancers slink around as though we are above marketing ourselves. We are not. Get in the habit of promoting your freelancing business. Pass out business cards. Get active in social media. Make sure that people know what you do.
  10. Encourage repeat business. Your best customers are the ones who keep coming back. You know that your customers are happy if they keep asking for more products and services. Find out what it is makes your customers happy and keep doing those things. Hint: this step is almost impossible to carry out unless you have excellent communication with your clients.

Your Turn

Now that we’ve shared some steps to help you find and maintain a professional attitude, it’s your turn.

How do you keep a business mindset?

Share your tips in the comments.

Image by candescent