For all the freelancers reading this article right now, there are some steps to success you can take to create a profitable freelance company for yourself.
Being a freelancer comes with many perks. You get to enjoy the freedom of working from home all while setting your own schedule. You also get to pick your own clients and choose your desired rate of pay. Freelancing is a beautiful thing, especially when you’re the go-to expert in your industry.
While some freelancers can expect a feast or famine type of business model – where you’re making great money one month and not so great the next – there are certain tasks you should take upon yourself to ensure your success each month.
If you want to build your freelance business, these are the 5 commandments you should be focused on:
1. Acquire Testimonials After Every Job
What’s your most important job? It’s the one where your last customer was so happy they told people about you. Knowing this, each job should be equally important in your business. When you perform outstanding work for a client, don’t be shy, ask for a testimonial.
Have a page set up on your website where they can tell the world how great you are. If you don’t have a page specifically set up for this, you can grab these testimonials in different ways.
You already know testimonials are an important aspect of your business. However, what you may not know is how powerful word of mouth is for your company. A study done in 2014 revealed an astounding 75% of freelance jobs comes from word of mouth.
Your client has colleagues and friends they can share your greatness with. Every successful freelancer will glean these testimonials from their clients and make sure to refer their friends and co-workers back to their business.
2. Be Available As Much As Possible
You want to get the jobs you want? Be there when they come available. Aside from word of mouth and grabbing jobs from the people you know, you can also create expertise about yourself in freelance platforms like Upwork, oDesk, Freelancer, and others like this.
There are always places to go to find jobs online. Not only should you be available for more work to fill your time with, you should also remember the clients you still have and make yourself available for their needs as well. It’s important to keep your current clients happy and when they need you for a rush job, make sure you are there for them.
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael LeBoeuf
3. Be a Communication Machine
Not only should you make yourself available, you should also make yourself accessible. It’s no fun for your clients to have to track you down in order to get an update or ask for more work to be done.
Nathan Hirsch, co-founder and CEO of the FreeeUp freelancer hiring marketplace, says one of the reasons most freelancers lose jobs is because the freelancer was nowhere to be found. It’s important to remember to share every contact detail you have with your clients so you both can work well together.
Successful freelancers have these tools in their portfolio:
With a mix of communication tools at your disposal, even if you’re away from your desk, your client should still be able to get your attention within the span of 30 minutes or less.
4. Extend Your Expertise Through Others
While most freelancers are happy with keeping busy with the clients they have, freelancers who want to build their businesses will take advantage of every talent they come across.
For example, you may be an expert in the social marketing industry, but you keep getting stray clients from the search engine optimization industry. Just because you don’t have the expertise to complete the job doesn’t mean you have to send them away since you can use other freelancers. This is where contracting work comes into play and it can help your overall reach in your business.
Over time, you will come into contact with other freelancers who have multiple talents you do not have yourself. When a job comes your way in which you have no experience in, reach out to someone who does and split the profits.
While this is a whole different ball game for freelancers to pursue, it can become very lucrative if you understand what to do. First, build a community of freelance experts. You can do this easily by setting up a Facebook group. I personally set up a freelance writing group on Facebook and, in the span of 2 months, have added 3,000+ new writers into the space. Here we discuss best strategies, recommend our friends for freelance jobs, and make each other better through discussion.
5. Stay On Track With Taxes
I know this isn’t something you want to think about at the moment, but in April it will come up again. It’s relevant to have something in place to help you regulate the money which you have acquired over the past year with your freelance business.
99designs explains how the government will be taking a percentage of your income out in taxes. In order to prepare for this, they have wisely suggested putting back your governmental portion each month in a savings.
You have to run your freelance operations like a business. While taking care of taxes and fees aren’t something you dream of doing, it is something you need to adjust for because the time will come to pay the piper and you must be prepared.
Take some time and research other tax preparations for freelancers so you won’t be caught with any surprises at the end of the year. In fact, this part plays a huge role in building your freelance company. You want to be able to have a working budget after the government takes their part.
Are You Ready?
In order to create a profitable freelance business you need to be able to stand on the foundational principles of those freelancers who have gone before you and succeeded. This, and your own creativity and imagination can push you towards your goals of success. Don’t fall trap to the “always famine” idea of a freelancer by using these 5 commandments to nurture your business model.
What are some ways you have built your business? Let us know by commenting below!
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