Freelancing is perceived as an easy way to make money. This is not the reality. Within the inner circles of experienced web design freelancers, it is not as cozy as it looks. Much preparation and planning is needed to beat the stiff competition and succeed in freelancing. In this article we have gathered 13 rules and principles all freelancers should live by. These are important guidelines for anyone interested in web freelance.
#1 Always have a plan
At the beginning, it’s always tempting to run for every job you can land your hands on. This, unfortunately only leaves you overwhelmed with some jobs you have no clue about. It is important to plan before you recruit potential clients. Determine the specific kind of work you will do and the category of your prospective clients. Planning increases your focus and priority, resulting in increased your productivity.
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#2 Start with the people you Know
After defining your plan and the kind of work you want to do, start your marketing journey from within your inner circles. Talk about your business to the people you already know. If you are part of any groups let them know of your business. In as much as you tell your friends and relatives about your business, be clear that you will charge them for any service they need. Be careful not to be exploited by those you know.
#3 Separate business from friendship
Doing business with friends is a great obstacle to success. As a freelancer, it is important to be strict with business. Learn to separate friendship from business if you wish to make it through. There should be no compromise based on how you relate with anyone. Always remember, your business is an independent entity from your personal relations. Let your friends know that you will charge them for any services you give.
#4 Build on your passion
Hobbies and passions have proven to be a grand resource for business. This is not different in web freelance. If you are passionate about a specific subject, working on it will be much easier for you. For instance, if you love photography, you can start off by serving photo galleries or designing websites for photographers. This builds you confidence and credibility and keeps you creative and happy as you venture into other areas.
#5 Understand what your client needs
Before you start working on any new project, understand and get verification on what exactly the client wants you to do. If you are unsure seek clarification before you start working. It can be discouraging when you get half way a project only for the client to say it’s wrong. To avoid losing your clientele, only work on a project you understand 100%.
#6 Always ask for a deposit
asking for a deposit can be quite tricky in freelance, but you need to be insured of full payment. Always ask your clients to pay upfront; this could be anything between 25% and 50% of the total price. To gain the confidence of your clients, assure them you will be there and do the work as per their expectations. Give them a refund option if necessary.
#7 Update your clients on progress
Keeping your clients notified on the progress of the project helps you maintain professionalism. Clients will always want to know generally what’s going on with their project. Notifying them of progress also makes them know your speed. Always keep the communication channels between you two open.
#8 Give incentives to regular clients
Rewarding a regular client makes them feel special. Always give your regular clients incentives, make them feel appreciated to work with you. This is a great way to keep clients.U
#9 Use social networks for marketing
Getting new clients is every freelancer’s dream. Social media networks offer a great avenue for you to promote your freelance work. Consider using these networks to market and promote your work. Since you are specialized in web design, it’s more rewarding to promote yourself on sites that are specific to design. This increases your chances of getting prospective clients.
#10 Set timelines
Setting a completion date is as good for you as it is for the client. It helps you organize your work schedules well. Since clients get excited to see their new websites, always let them know when to expect their work done. Setting timelines sells you as a very organized person.
#11 Ask for referrals
When clients appreciate your good work, you can always ask them to refer their colleague’s or friends to you. This increases your scope of prospective clients. When you don’t ask for referrals from some customers, they may think you are not interested in further engagements. being recommended by a satisfied client increases the chances of you being given a new job. Don’t miss out on this.
#12 Showcase your previous successes
It is wise to always have with you samples of your previous work ready to display. Some clients can only give you a job after seeing a sample of your work. Carefully select a few of the best works you have ever done and have it ready to show when you go pitching. It increases your credibility and client confidence.
#13 Always say NO when necessary
Work schedules for freelancers may be quite unpredictable. At some point, you may have a lot on your desk and friends call you for a movie or an evening drink. No matter how tempting this may be you must learn to say no if you want to meet submission deadlines. You might have a website to submit in two hours or client meeting in a couple of minutes. Always avoid engagements that will distract you from work. Having your priorities set increases your professionalism.
With increased competition today, web freelancing can prove a tricky affair for new people. It is important to set your own rules and principles if you want to succeed in this venture. In addition to the 13 rules and principles above, always go an extra mile to offer your customer top notch work and be flexible enough to accommodate different kinds of clients. Most importantly, have your prices already set for any kind of jobs and subsequent requests. When these guidelines are adhered to, web freelance can be a great business for you.
What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comment section below.