Becoming a better freelancer involves improving your core skillset and then being able to communicate that to a client or lead. While core skillset is different for everyone, there are soft skills that are applicable to all kinds of freelancers that will help your win and retain more clients.
1. A portfolio with “branded” clients to showcase.
Whatever industry you want to serve, try working for the leader in that industry, even if you have to do it for free. Even if that work is small. Having an endorsement from them will get you more work. People will feel “secure” about approaching you for their work. That “branded” client’s brand equity will rub on you. You can create a rich “client verified portfolio” on Refrens, irrespective of your industry.
2.Punctuality and discipline
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. It is OK to miss deadline sometimes but communicate about it well in advance. Most freelancers go silent for long period of time after taking work. The anxiety for the client rises in such cases. Also in initial days, it is important to keep showing your progress to keep the client on the same page. Don’t comeback after half the work is done only to learn that you misunderstood the requirements. Don’t throw surprises, don’t get surprised.
3.Use less Jargon
When you are selling design, don’t assume that the other person is a designer. When you are selling software, don’t assume that the other person is a programmer. Their knowledge about your field is lesser than you think. They are not dumb fools so stop cursing them. They are good at their own work. Explain things to them in their words. Use less jargon. Don’t go deep into details until asked for.
4.Provide holistic solutions
The client is interested in solving his problem, not interested in your product. When selling a software, you might also need to sell the hardware. When selling a logo design, you might need to design the stationary and help them co-ordinate with the printer. Become that 1 stop shop for the client. Become dependable. It will also help you expand your work domain and revenue. Most full service agency actually started as a freelancer who cared more for the client. Initially, start by collaborating with other service providers. You can then start keeping full time employees if it makes economic sense.
5.Keep the pricing predictable
In India people are used to calculating services in hourly pricing. Even when hourly pricing is discussed, it is difficult for a client to guess how many hours it will take you to finish the work and then calculate the final expected amount. Communicate the pricing upfront without leaving any ambiguity. Do this in writing before starting the work. Don’t throw surprises at your clients after the work is done. They might pay you once, but might may never comeback or refer another client to you. And you will never know why. People are shy to talk about money upfront but it is your job to keep them informed. Checkout how to price your service for first time customers to know more about getting pricing right.
Keeping your profile on a platform, like Refrens, helps you set expectations with the client on pricing, and showcase your past clients.