Today, many people take to the idea of freelancing. On the surface, it appears to be an attractive career prospect. From working flexible hours to deciding your own salary to a host of other factors that contribute to “being your own boss,” it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many are detracting from their nine-to-five jobs to jump the freelance bandwagon. But these perks present an incomplete picture.
On the other side, freelancing involves hunting down prospective clients, working through weekends, not being able to take paid vacations, paying your own insurance and taxes and breathing down your clients’ necks for pending payments. So, the logical first step to freelancing is to find clients who are willing to pay you for your time and skills.
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Let’s take a quick walk through this step.
What can you offer?
Websites like WorknHire or Freelancer.com offer a host of projects to choose from, and it all boils down to securing the best deal. Consider what you have for a minute. What are your unique strengths? What is it about your performance and work that your friends and co-workers like? If you have trouble identifying these, try these:
- Ask your friends and colleagues about your strengths.
- Browse some freelancing sites and look at the profile of the highest paid freelancers in your domain to figure out the required competencies.
Once you have arrived at your strengths, ask yourself what need they can fulfil or what problem they can solve. You may be exceptionally talented, but you need to utilise these talents to give solutions in order for someone to pay you.
Target the right market
Once you have your USP ready, the next step is to find your client base. Spend some time figuring out who your ideal client is. Two questions are important at this point. Is your potential client willing to pay you for your service? And, are they willing to pay your price for those services? Try to come up with a client profile. A client profile describes your ideal client, their needs, domain, presence, how they make their decisions and their willingness to pay.
Connect with potential clients
So what’s the best way to reach out to them? You might need a website in case you are a web designer, architect, a blogger or a social influencer. Your first clients will always be special. They will push you and give you the much-needed confidence, so focus on building a good relationship with them.
Apart from listing yourself on freelance websites and other job portals, make cold calls and try meeting your potential clients at their hangouts. Approach them and it might just work out. Once you meet them, ask for a quick interview or meeting. If you see they are too busy, just hand in your business card or take theirs.
Make them an offer they can’t refuse!
Once you secure your ideal client, it’s time to pitch your idea perfectly, and this is where most people fail. Your client is not interested in knowing your skills and your experience. So be precise with your pitch. Here’s how you can do it:
- The problem statement: What issue is the client facing, and what are their needs and objectives?
- The solution: Provide your potential client with a strategy. Outline the plan and how you can help solve it.
- The timeline: Always provide a timeline with milestone and deadlines.
It will take lot of meetings and negotiations to land your first clients. Keep trying! In case a pitch fails to work out, go back, ask for suggestions and rethink your approach. Once you have got your first few clients right, the rest should be a smooth ride.