In freelancing, as in life, there are a lot of little things that might seem nitpicky but make a huge difference in the long run! You think you’re doing well – and maybe you are so far- but these common mistakes could be the tipping point between making it or breaking it. How many of these are you doing?
A lot of new freelancers tend to feel uneasy discussing money, work details, or even fear asking questions just in case you might look “dumb.” All this to say, what you’re feeling IS normal, but it’s important to jump out of your comfort zone and move past it. You will have a better relationship with your clients if you can be open and honest (but also while maintaining a healthy professional boundary, of course). Building trust with your client starts with being transparent about your process and business. If you can manage this, you’ll find the rebooking you over and over again!
Having a base price is good but you should always do a little bit of investigating before presenting your price to a potential client. First, ask your client what their budget is. Define your scope and calculate the cost of the project but take time to research how much similar competitors, with the same expertise and years of experience are charging for similar projects. Then decide your price and stay firm. This way you know you’re billing for what your time and expertise are worth.
Simply emailing a proposal and asking if they have any questions can often result in potential clients reading the proposal, making assumptions, and not bothering to ask for clarification which can easily cost you the job. Your closing rate will skyrocket if you present each proposal live, where you can address each objection on the spot, start developing a rapport with your client and show them the value that you bring them. This can not be demonstrated via a PDF. Quit being lazy, and start taking control of your future work.
It can be tempting to take on every client that comes your way, especially early on so take the time to vet a potential client before saying yes. Know your client red flags and stick to them, you don’t need to take on bad clients.
Doing any work without a written agreement leaves you at risk of working outside the project scope, being overworked, getting underpaid, or not being paid at all! It’s ideal to have a signed contract for each client, but in a pinch, an email with everything written out will do. Things like project deliverables, timelines, copyrights, payment terms, etc will be your saving grace. As long as you have a document to refer to if things go awry both parties will be much better off.
This one is quick and simple: if you’re doing more work than initially agreed upon, your client needs to be billed for it. If you quote on a project one way, and it becomes another, don’t be afraid to tell them that it will result in a change of price. Be upfront before you start any new changes, and tell them that this will result in added charges at the end. They may decide to scratch the idea, or be open to the option. The last invoice should never be a big shock to the client. Show them that you care about their business as much as your own and again, and tell them that it is beyond the project budget. Build trust and transparency with your client and you will have a client for life.
This is one of the most self-sabotaging mistakes you can make. To run a successful business you need to know key analytics to make informed decisions and plan for the future. The bare minimum is: money in, money out. This means the revenue your bring in per month, expenses incurred per month, number of proposals presented per month, and the number of proposals won per month. Cash flow is key to keeping you afloat.
Your clients came to you because they needed you to solve a problem they were facing, and they’ve come to trust your judgment and the quality of your work. It’s okay to suggest additional services to your clients that will benefit their business. Identify other needs they may have or services that might complement the ones you do for them currently and present a proposal! Remember the 80/20 rule–80% of your business will come from 20% of your clients. Give them the opportunity to experience your other rock-star design qualities and help them grow as your business will as well.
It may not seem like much but, these mistakes, while minor on their own, can add up to big problems in the future! Fix them now and watch your success grow faster than you thought possible before.
You think you’re doing well and maybe you are so far–but these common mistakes could be the tipping point between making it or breaking it. How many of these are you doing?