In America alone, over 53 million people have switched their careers to freelancing. That’s 34 percent of the entire workforce. And each day, these numbers are only going higher.
As a newcomer, you’ll have to work very hard to stand out of this massive crowd in order to progress through your freelancing career. I’ve experienced this struggle first hand when I started out freelancing a few years ago.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. Those mistakes helped me learn some valuable lessons and to become an exceptional freelancer. As of today, I’m the top ranking service provider at Envato Studio, receives at least 7 job proposals on Upwork every week, and also have several long-term partnerships with clients outside these networks as well.
So, how did I beat other freelancers to land these high-paying jobs? First of all, I changed my mindset and developed my own working habits to offer services that go beyond the client’s expectations. While other freelancers try to do as many jobs as possible every day, I accepted only one or two jobs and focused on delivering high value results. And it worked every time.
Here are a few of the things I do to stay on top of my game.
No Breaks on the Weekend
Most of the time I get contacted by either owners or superior officers working at online brands and companies. These clients are usually pretty busy during the weekdays and have no time to browse freelancing sites to place orders. They do that kind of secondary tasks during the weekends while they are relaxing at home.
Imagine how they would feel if they didn’t get an instant response from you when they contact you during the weekend. I know people generally like to take the weekend off no matter what kind of job they have. But, when you become a freelancer you have to let go of those conventional ways. Check out what this one client had to say about me in his review.
Work during the weekend and be ready to reply to your clients. Then again, taking a break is also important. So, take a day off during the week. Maybe Monday or Tuesday, two of the busiest days at the offices.
Improve Your Communication Skills
Great communication helps you to truly connect with your clients. Even though it’s difficult to express emotions through emails or text messages, you can personalize your emails to address your clients in a better way.
Don’t be too formal or too casual when writing your emails, but keep a balance in between. Address your client’s by their first name. People hate when you address them by “Sir” or “Madam”, those ways are good for 1990’s. Here’s an example email layout for sending emails to clients.
Always be nice to your clients. Different clients have different approaches for projects. Some might even request complete revisions and harshly criticize your work. It’s hard not to take these responses personally, but remember they are your clients. So, keep calm, offer your apologies, and correct your mistakes.
Don’t treat your gigs as a one time job. Keep in mind that your clients might come back to order more from you so give your best to provide them with a great result. This will help you build long-term relationships.
Most of my clients come back to order more jobs from me because I treat every job like it’s the first one I’ve ever got. I give it all I’ve got to satisfy my clients and I always get rewarded with more orders or great reviews.
The point I’m trying to make is you should always deliver your best no matter how small or easy a job sounds. Even if you’re getting underpaid, do your best for each job. There was a time when I earned $5 for writing a 1000-word article. Even though it was a low pay for my work, I kept a consistent quality in my work and gradually improved with experience. Now I get paid $45+ per article.
Go the Extra Mile
Offering something extra alongside your quality work is another great way to keep your clients hooked on your services. My writing service at Envato Studio mentions that each article is limited to 900 words, but most of the time I add an extra 100 words just as bonus for the clients. I also include a cool free custom image to go along with the article. You’ll be surprised to see how something that small can make the client feel so grateful.
If you’re a freelance graphic designer, create an additional free mockup. If you’re a web designer, offer to design an extra page for free. If you’re a programmer, offer free future updates and bug fixes. Find that extra something to set yourself apart from the rest of the freelancers.
When you first start out as a freelancer you will feel the urge to apply for every job you see on those freelancing sites. This happened to me in the early days and it degraded my services almost entirely.
Instead of bulk pitching to multiple jobs at once, look for the ideal job that falls under your unique set of skills. Then write a killer pitch to hypnotize your clients with your expertise. This approach will not only save your time but will give you a better success rate at landing jobs.
Don’t follow the same ways of other cheap freelancers. Be unique and learn something new every day. Build your own unique qualities and approach your client’s differently to avoid getting mixed in the crowd.
Create a set of standards for yourself and abide by them. Don’t lower your standards for anything. It took me 6 years to get to where I am today and to earn $5000+ a month. It takes a lot of time and effort. Just keep moving forward and you’ll get there eventually.