Today’s article is a guest post by Sam Poyan, a freelance writer who has written for some of my content websites over the past year.
In this article, he’s going to share some of his best freelancing tips with you…
I have been freelancing for about a year now. The bad news is that I’ve made a few costly mistakes. Some of them cost me time, others money — and some even clients.
The good news is that I have learned many valuable lessons from them.
I’ve taken these lessons and packed them into this article on 11 essential freelancing tips to help you avoid the mistakes I made.
Also: A lot of these tips also apply to other businesses like affiliate marketing… So even if you’re not a freelancer, you should find some value.
Here's what we'll cover...
1. Optimize For Recurring Revenue
My first tip is to optimize for recurring revenue, i.e., customers who purchase again/monthly. As you can imagine, this can help you build a more predictable freelance income.
Even if you don’t charge clients per month, you can make offers that your clients will likely need again.
For example: If you’re a graphic designer and only sell logos, each business/client will only purchase one, and that’s it. However, if you branch out a little and design social media images, blog graphics, ad creatives, or emails… Your customers will need them more often, weekly or even daily.
And if they’re purchasing more often = you make more money.
So, look at your skill/services and think about what you can offer that your clients would purchase more frequently.
My next tip is to diversify as much as possible. What do I mean by this?
- Your clients
- The platforms you freelance on
- The platforms you market yourself on
If you only have one client, and he leaves, then your entire revenue is gone. However, if you are working for, let’s say, 6+ different clients, then one leaving will hardly do any harm at all.
The same goes for the platforms that you use as a freelancer. If you’re using something like Fiverr and your account gets restricted, then your entire business is gone – meaning you probably have to start from the beginning again.
That’s one of the reasons why I prefer using Legiit, another freelancing marketplace that lets you build a business, not just a profile. But I’ll talk about that in more detail later on.
Back to diversifying, this can even go as far as your income streams. For example, you could run a Twitter or Facebook account and monetize it with affiliate marketing too.
There are endless ways you could diversify, and all of them keep your business safe.
3. Specialize And Be Specific.
My next tip is to specialize not only in your skill but also in your ideal client. This is something that I was doing wrong for a long time. I’m a freelance writer, and when I started, I was targeting every business I could think of. Local agencies, affiliate websites, e-commerce stores… Literally any business.
However, if you focus on helping a particular type of business and market yourself to them, they’re going to choose you over your competition.
For example: If you own a personal development business looking to hire a copywriter for a product launch, who would you pick?
A) The random copywriter
B) The copywriter who specializes in writing sales pages for personal development businesses.
I’ll let you decide that one.
Besides, it will also help you become more knowledgeable in that niche, which will help you complete projects faster. If you’re completing tasks more quickly, your hourly rate increases, and you’re ultimately making more money.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still accept projects outside of that niche, but targeting it specifically will help you market yourself more effectively. This is something loads of people told me early on, but I, for whatever reason, ignored the advice.
4. Market Yourself
This next point goes hand in hand with the previous. You can’t just throw up a website or service on a marketplace and expect the clients to come falling from the sky.
Instead, you should be proactive and find clients in whatever way. You don’t have to market yourself on every single platform there is, but I would recommend finding 2 or 3 that suit you.
For example, you could find relevant Facebook groups, run a YouTube channel, and maybe do some prospecting on LinkedIn.
Facebook groups are my favorite methods. I didn’t use them as much before Dylan actually suggested them to me. But ever since, they’ve been a complete goldmine for finding work.
Obviously, you can pick the channels yourself. That being said, I suggest you ensure that not only you like the platform but that your target clients do too. Because you’re obviously marketing to them, so they need to be there too.
Just do a little research, and if you find that there’s search volume or active communities, it should be suited.
5. Learn Something That Your Competition Isn’t
When I first started marketplace freelancing on Legiit, I saw that almost every freelancer writer was priced in the 2.5-3 cent range.
Naturally, that’s also where I priced my services. However, later on, it occurred to me that most writers don’t learn the marketing side of content writing beyond SEO basics.
So, I started taking various courses on affiliate marketing, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and similar topics. One of them being Matt Diggity’s affiliate lab, which gave me a little introduction to CRO.
As I could write content that would convert better, I had a unique selling point compared to most other writers. Doing this will give you the confidence to charge higher prices. Since taking all of those courses, I charge more than double what I did 7 months ago.
For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you could learn about branding and marketing. Doing so will allow you to market your services better and offer more value to your clients. And if you offer more value, you can obviously charge higher prices.
You May Also Like: 9 Best Affiliate Marketing Courses
6. Understand Freelancers Pricing
Something that I wasn’t aware of was how freelancing pricing works. As a freelancer, you have to pay taxes, calculate your taxes, and if you’re in the US, pay for your healthcare too. Depending on your skill, you may even need to get some insurance for it.
And of course, that includes marketing yourself too. On the other hand, if you have a job, you have it continuously and don’t need to worry about marketing.
All of this money/time comes is included freelancing rate, and that’s something to be aware of. Because when you’re just starting, it’s easy to forget, so you often end up with a lot less money than you think.
Note: Some of this applies to your affiliate marketing income too!
7. Choose The Right Freelancing Platform(s)
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a big fan of Fiverr. That is mainly because you can’t make connections with people there and meet more off the platform.
Of course, you may choose not to freelance on marketplaces at all. And that’s fine. I prefer doing a bit of both because it’s another way of diversifying.
If you would like to marketplace freelance, though, I would suggest going for a platform like Legiit.
The reason is that Legiit lets you add links to external platforms, while Fiverr bans anyone who speaks to their clients off the platform.
So with Legiit, you can send your customers to your Facebook group, email opt-in, or wherever you like after — and build an actual business. Most importantly, you’re making real connections.
They also have a Facebook group where you can network and make meaningful connections.
With Fiverr and most other freelancing marketplaces, the most you can build is a profile, and you don’t even own it.
8. DON’T Just Build a Portfolio
One of the first things that come to mind when talking about freelancing is a portfolio. And there are endless websites that let you build one easily.
However, in my opinion, building a website or YouTube channel for your skill is much better. Why?
Because you can generate traffic, a.k.a clients through them either by SEO or YouTube. Of course, you can have a little portfolio section on your website where you show off case studies.
But I still recommend having either a YouTube channel or a website because it’s also diversifying how you get your clients.
9. Ask For Testimonials
Just like any other business, social proof is effective. So ask the clients who you have worked for to give you a testimonial if the project was a success.
You can display these on your website, service pages, and wherever and it will help prospects trust you more. I must admit I hate asking for testimonials too, but if you’ve delivered good work for your clients – there’s no reason not to ask.
10. Only Work For Free IF…
I often hear people that you should never work for free. And I kind of agree.
If you’re working for free and getting some long-term value for it, then it’s worth it.
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about by long-term value:
- You get a testimonial from a known influencer
- You write a guest post and get traffic/ a backlink
- You provide a service and can use it as a “sample” to future clients
Basically, anything that can help you grow your business in some way. That value will then make up for not being paid in the short term.
Of course, some of you might say that the value you’re getting means you’re not working for free… But I don’t think everyone interprets it that way, so I thought it’s worth clarifying.
11. Underpromise and Overdeliver
Underpromise and overdeliver. This is so effective because it will help you wow your clients. If they’re over the moon with what you do, they:
- They are much more likely to purchase again.
- They are much more likely to give you a testimonial/review
- Are much more likely to be satisfied with the work
Of course, you don’t have to deliver double whatever you offer, but I suggest throwing in something extra. For example, I try to write 10%-20% extra on all my clients’ articles unless it took much longer than expected.
This could be for you to potentially throw in some free advice for clients, free bonuses (e-book, courses, etc.), or whatever you can think of.
If your marketplace freelancing, this will also stop people a lot of people from leaving bad reviews. It’s a bit of a sneaky trick, but on most marketplaces, reviews are key… so doing this can be extremely helpful to your profile/reputation.
That’s it! I hope you have enjoyed this list of my essential freelancing tips. My final advice would be to keep learning and also building around your skill. For example, you can build an email list, a website, a YouTube channel, or even just your social media profiles.
This will allow you to become big in your space, get more projects, and grow your business even further!