One online service that has become a ubiquitous business tool is Skype.
Skype is a web-based service, which allows users to communicate with each other through voice or video calls. With Skype, you can also call landline and cell phones, but it will cost you.
Skype is free to use if you’re contacting another person through Skype, however, no matter where in the world they happen to be. This makes it an excellent tool for freelancers to use to get clients and grow their freelancing business.
Ways to Use Skype for Your Freelancing Business
Here are a few ways that freelancers can use Skype:
- Free consultation with prospects–Offering free consultations can be an effective way to win prospective clients. With Skype, you can “talk” to your prospect either through voice only or, even better, through video calling.
I prefer video calling myself, because it allows me to learn more about my prospect: what he or she is like, including mannerisms, environment, and personality. I find that being able to see the other person helps me decide whether it’s someone that I’d like to work with.
- Consultation/planning meetings with clients–Skype is also a great tool to use with existing clients. It’s definitely much faster than sending emails back and forth. What’s more, you can share your screen and send files to each other on Skype.
- Collaboration with team members–If you work with other freelancers, Skype’s group video conferencing feature can be very helpful when collaborating. And remember, you can send files of any size for free.
- Market research–Aside from using consultations to turn prospects into clients, I also consider them a form of market research. Even if the prospect doesn’t end up hiring me, the consolation call helps me learn what prospects are looking for, what their biggest problems are, and even how much they’re willing to pay to solve those problems.
Your free consultations will also help you determine how to improve your services, or come up with new ones to offer.
- Passive income–Information marketers have long discovered the usefulness of Skype as a product creation tool. Interview a few experts on Skype, record those interviews, and sell them as information products.
You could do the same, or use what you learn from your free consultations to create information products to sell.
Passive income is extremely important for freelancers to have. You don’t want to always be working to earn money.
Tools to Make the Most of Skype
Skype itself is free to download, and works on Mac, Windows and Linux computers. You can do pretty much everything with a free account. However, if you want to call landline phones and cell phones, you’ll need a paid subscription.
I do highly recommend getting software to record your Skype calls. If you’re techie, you can figure out how to do this using existing software in a Mac. However, if you’re like me and don’t want to mess with so many settings every time I’m recording a call, you’ll want either one of these:
- Pamela for Skype – for Windows users. The basic license will allow you to record up to 15 minutes. Paid licenses start at E14.95.
- Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype- for Mac users. You can try it for free for 7 days. If you decide to buy it, the cost is $19.95.
Skype will never replace a regular phone call or face-to-face meeting. However, it comes pretty close. It’s particularly useful for reaching prospects, clients and collaborators who live far away.
With the right strategies and tools, you can use Skype to land more clients, work better with your existing clients and collaborators, improve your freelancing services, and even get passive income.
What’s not to like about Skype?
What about you? Have you been using Skype? How? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Image by Jeff Keen