Nowadays everyone and their mother is claiming to be a “consultant” – people left and right are dabbling in web design. So how do you stand out? How have I managed a steady flow of excellent clients? Here are four takeaways that you can start putting into action TODAY.
This post is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants – an epic two-month journey of over 50 guest posts. Want to learn more about Matt Cheuvront and see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed and keep in touch!
The past 12 months have been a period of self-realization for yours truly. In a very short period of time, I’ve started a blog, built a pretty amazing community, and have started turning the wheels in motion to propel my own freelance career – having a steady flow of design and consulting clients over the past several months.
Never underestimate the power of free
Full disclosure – I’ve done a considerable amount of WordPress web design – and as of today, I’ve managed to do what I need to do with no overhead program costs. No Photoshop, no Dreamweaver, nada. With a quick Google search – you can find virtually everything you need (legally) at no cost. If money is what’s holding you back – think outside the box and get creative with your tools.
Don’t worry (too much) about your rates
I’ve spoken to many of my fellow freelancers about their going rates. The truth of the matter is it’s entirely subjective. You have to answer to yourself when you ask the question “what am I worth”? But don’t dwell TOO much on price. Be realistic, don’t sell yourself short, but make sure you have something to show for your value. If you’re asking for $100/hour and have no references and nothing in your portfolio, I’m going to question your price-gauging. Think about what you NEED and price accordingly. Your value will increase with time and experience.
Ask for feedback
I may not charge an overly high premium for my services – but I more than make up for it in positive word of mouth from the clients I work with. If there’s one thing you should never be afraid of, it’s asking for feedback from your customers. Give them an opportunity to write you a recommendation and encourage them to spread the word of your good work to people they know. MAKE IT SIMPLE – use LinkedIn to ask for recommendations, or send out a “feedback” document once the job is done for your client to complete.
Sell yourself with honesty
Above all. BE HONEST. Don’t overcharge because you can – don’t tell people you can do things you really can’t – it might work here and there, but it will catch up with you. When I sit down with a client and go over their needs – I’m honest about what I can and can’t do – I make sure that all expectations are laid out before any commitment is made. Even if you can’t accommodate everything, focus on what you CAN do and be honest about your skills.
The world of freelancing is a rollercoaster of ups and downs – don’t discriminate when it comes to the projects you take on. Big or small, there is something to be learned from every experience.
What advice do you have for aspiring freelancers?