Very uplifting post for the weekend! Thanks for this! It’s nice to know we’re doing at least a few things right. :)
Ten Freelancing Tactics That You’ve Probably Gotten Right
Posted May 27, 2011 in Inspiration
With so much focus on mistakes that freelancers make, it’s easy to get discouraged. While it’s important to grow and learn from our mistakes, it’s also important to acknowledge when things are done right.
In this post, I’ll list ten freelancing strategies that you’re probably doing correctly with your freelancing business (especially if you’ve been in business for a while).
You may even be able to recognize most of these good business practices as part of your standard operating procedure.
Next, I’ll go even further by suggesting one or two ideas to help you take each tactic to the next level.
What You Are Already Doing Right (Probably)
Here are ten things that most successful freelancers already get right:
- You have a website. It’s crucial for a freelancer to have a website. Fortunately, most experienced freelancers know this and at least have a site that describes their services. If this is you, you can take your website to the next level by adding a blog and/or offering a free information product to grow your mailing list.
- You respond to your emails. You understand that it’s important to respond to client inquiries, so you respond to emails and phone calls as soon as you can. That’s one of the reasons why you are still in business. Take this to the next level by creating a monthly newsletter and asking your clients and prospects if they would like to receive it.
- You participate in social media. Most professional freelancers do already have some sort of social media presence already. You can take your social media presence to the next level by making sure that your profile information is consistent across platforms and by targeting potential clients to friend or follow.
- You meet your deadlines. If you’ve been in business for awhile and if you’ve got customers coming back to use your services again and again, you probably regularly meet your deadlines. You can stand out even more by challenging yourself to turn your work in early.
- You understand your specialty. Long-term freelancers have usually developed a proficiency in their field. They are known for their expertise and knowledge in their area. If this is you, then you can take things to the next level by partnering with another freelancer who has complementary skills and/or learning a new specialty.
- You say “no.” While new freelancers may have trouble saying no, experienced freelancers know that turning down the wrong opportunity is the right thing to do. However, what is wrong for you might be right for someone else. Take your business to the next level by arranging to refer projects that aren’t right for you to another freelancer if they’ll do the same for you.
- You use a contract or other written agreement. You know that it’s important to get an agreement in writing. Perhaps you’ve even been burnt a few times, but now you know better and you always use a written agreement. You can take things to the next level by working with your attorney to create a contract boilerplate that you will use over and over again.
- You value your work and charge accordingly. Plenty of new freelancers don’t charge enough to even cover their expenses, but those freelancers tend to go out of business. That’s not you. You know what you’re worth and aren’t afraid to ask for it. Take things to the next level by capitalizing on your experience and adding consulting services to your offerings.
- You double-check your work. Everyone makes a mistake occasionally, but you minimize the mistakes in your work by checking, double-checking, and re-checking everything that you do. Naturally your clients appreciate this. Why not go to the next level by hiring a second set of eyes to boost your quality even more? Depending on what you do a VA or a proofreader can help.
- You’re reading Freelance Folder. :) Reading and learning from online resources is a great way to get ahead. You won’t miss a single post if you subscribe. You can take this to the next level by commenting on blog posts and/or writing your own guest post.
If you’ve been able to look over this list and you agree that most of it applies to you–congratulations! You’re ready for the next level tips I’ve included with every list item.
However, if you found yourself lacking in a couple of these areas, don’t worry. Most freelancers make these mistakes early on and then overcome them. You can too.
I’ve listed those things that many experienced freelancers do right. I’ve also explained how to move to the next level even if you are getting most of these tactics right.
What tips have you used to take your freelancing business to the next level?
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May 27th, 2011 at 10:16 am
May 27th, 2011 at 10:25 am
Finally we get to see something positive :)
Thank You Laura!
May 27th, 2011 at 10:30 am
Very nice to read this today! I’m doing all of these.
I would add to this list “You take time off and away from the computer/smartphone/electronic devices.” I’m going to TRY to do it for three whole days in a row this weekend. If I do any work, it will be for myself.
I would also add, “You keep good records and pay taxes on time.” Well, sort of. I do keep good records and pay taxes, but entering everything into my tracking system on a regular basis? Not quite.
Thanks for the pat on the back!
May 27th, 2011 at 10:39 am
Thanks Morgan! Actually, I think most freelancers ARE in good shape and deserve this. Glad you enjoyed it. Have a wonderful weekend.
Rahul Banga–Yes, we need to be positive more often I think. We do want to help those who are making mistakes and struggling, but not forget those who are doing it right.
TLC, Great additions. :) Like I said, I think we forget about the majority who are doing it well. Hope you found this encouraging. Enjoy your weekend.
May 27th, 2011 at 4:45 pm
I think I meet all of your requirements for well behaved freelancers except for having clients sign a contract.
I have never done it and I wonder how many people are in the same boat.
Yesterday I accepted a job worth four to five thousand dollars. The lawyer who sent me the job asked me whether I wanted her to sign something and I said no.
I just looked at her firm’s website, I saw that she was who she said she was, that she is a partner and that she was an agent for a bunch of published patents, etc.
Plus she looks like an intelligent person on her picture. I’m not saying nice, you can’t really say something like that from a picture. But some people look intelligent and some put me off for some reason.
That is how I do due diligence.
Do you think that I am a fool? And if so, why.
May 27th, 2011 at 5:12 pm
Hooray! I’m able to tick everything off except number 7. My version of a written agreement are my emails, in which the conversations I’ve had with clients are archived and saved for future reference.
Thanks Laura and a happy weekend to all! :)
May 27th, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Hi Steve & Stephanie,
Many freelancers do not use contracts, but they are nice to have if you ever have to go to collections. I always recommend at least getting the terms of the agreement in writing. An email may be enough (which can sometimes qualify as a legal agreement).
It’s fine not to use a contract, but if you ever have a problem with a client you may wish that you had a contract in place. It’s up to you how much risk you want to take. For a very small gig, a contract might not make sense.
However, I would never call anyone a fool. :)
Steve BrunetMay 27th, 2011 at 7:59 pm
Great post! I really liked the “take this to the next level” and decided to leave a comment ;-) Have a great weekend everyone.
May 28th, 2011 at 6:55 am
Thank you Laura
May 28th, 2011 at 11:14 am
I’d say contracts are MORE important when you get a new client, as opposed to a client who’s referring business to you and is already an established partner. I’ve never had anyone sign a contract either, but I am getting work through friends so I’m not exactly working with strangers.
I do, however, have a set of terms that I layout and have the client read. One of them states either one of us can terminate the contract/terms if/when we so desire for any reason.
This list is nice, I agree with it. Especially with the new freelancers not charging enough.
There will always be people who can afford you and those who can’t. The only thing that changes is the ratio. They need meed to find their target market so they can properly market their services. Freelancing gives you the option to seek the people you want to work with, so take advantage of it. ;)
May 28th, 2011 at 2:41 pm
I do everything except #4 and #7 lol. I’m just starting out on freelancing, unofficially though.
May 28th, 2011 at 6:49 pm
Great article, thanks for the positivity! Plus some really useful tips in the “take it to the next level” parts.
May 29th, 2011 at 2:57 am
got almost half of the things going..
havin a blog is quite a maintenance though but i like the newsletters tip..
May 29th, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Great list, thank you Laura – saying ‘no’ is something I really need to consider, something I’ve never considered before as financially I think I must say yes…
May 31st, 2011 at 9:45 am
Nice list! Wasn’t expecting number ten, yet it is true that you get a lot of tips from your site and I find them to be quite helpful. Keep up the good work! ;-)
June 4th, 2011 at 3:09 pm
Good list! Another great blog post!
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