When you are struggling to find freelance clients, it can be a stressful experience. It happens to most freelancers at some point, so do not despair.
Having been a freelancer for a couple of years, it’s tough when work isn’t coming in, and money is tight because clients are slow at paying invoices. It’s important to know this from the outset, so you are prepared.
Are you struggling to find clients and make these mistakes?
FOCUSING ON ONE CLIENT
We’re all guilty. One client is continuously giving you work, and the money is flowing into your freelance business. New clients are getting in touch, but you do not have the time to take on any more work.
Then, one day, the client notifies you they are selling the business, or, taking it in another direction and no longer needs your services. You are left with no clients, and it’s a constant battle to find freelance work.
Never focus on one client – split your time on a balance of clients who regularly hire you for new projects. When you’re too busy, think about hiring a trusted freelancer to complete the work.
Then, you do not lose the client, and they continue to come to your business.
NOT SPENDING TIME MARKETING YOUR SERVICES
Within the working week, you need to designate a few hours to work on marketing your services. This includes networking with potential clients and creating content to showcase your skills and experience – be it on your website or social media.
While you are working with one client, you should spend time searching for the next project you can work on. This leads me on to the next mistake.
NOT ASKING FOR REFERRALS
So many freelancers wait for clients to come to them instead of asking previous and current clients for referrals. World of mouth is still a powerful way to market a business, so ask people to refer you to other business owners.
Speak with family and friends and ask them if they know anyone who could be a potential client. Make sure you reach out to businesses that need your services and inform them you are available for future projects.
YOU DO NOT CHARGE ENOUGH
Quote a potential client at a low rate, and you are likely to send alarm bells. One skill many freelancers lack is evaluating how much time and effort it’s going to take to complete a piece of freelance work.
Under-estimating the time it’s going to take will result in you having to do more work for a much lower rate of pay.
When you are communicating the expectations with the client, try and judge what type of person they are. Lots of questions and changes to the work, while evaluating the quote for the project are red warning signs.
BAD MONEY MANAGEMENT
In all honesty, this is why most freelancers fail. Most clients are going to take at least a month to process your invoice, so being able to manage your money is essential. While invoices are waiting to be paid, you still have bills to pay.
Take time each week to chase up clients who are not processing invoices. Seriously think if you want to work for large companies or governments because they take longer to pay.
Make sure you take at least 50% upfront.
If a client is not prepared to pay upfront, then you should not work for them. Of course, if a client continuously gives you freelance work and pays you on time, then you can be a little more flexible.
NOT FOCUSING ON A NICHE OR INDUSTRY
When you’re focusing on clients within every industry, you are up against thousands of freelancers bidding for projects. Instead, be the go-to person, the expert within a specific industry or even better, a niche.
You are a copywriter or writer, or designer. One of your passions is playing golf, so focus on working for companies within the niche.
Reach out to golf courses, golfing equipment shops. Chat with editors of golfing magazines and websites. Why? You have to wake up each day and be motivated to work, so, combining a passion alongside your freelance work is a smart move.
NOT THINKING LIKE A BUSINESS
Freelancers make the big mistake of not thinking like a business.
What is your end goal? Do you want to become an agency and have a team of freelancers working for you? Or, are you freelancing to save enough money to quit your office-based job?
You will not just be spending your time working for clients. You will have to split up your time with marketing, chasing client invoices, networking to find new work. You will need to continuously showcase your skills and experience by creating content.
So, if you are struggling to find freelance clients, these are the common mistakes you need to be avoiding as a freelancer.