10 Freelancing Tips You Must Know
If you’ve read: Things to Consider When Freelancing or Freelancing: 10 things you can do to get business you know that Getting started in the freelance design business isn’t an easy task. For one thing, it doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years to learn the business on your own, and it can take just as long to become established. Whether you’ve been in the business for a while, or you are just starting out, here are 10 freelancing tips you must know.
Freelancing Tips 1 – Contracts
Always make sure to get a contract!- Never agree to do work via a verbal agreement. Always get your terms in writing. This protects both parties. As long as you are honest with your client and up front with them, you should have no problems. Make sure to keep track of payments and invoices.
Freelancing Tips 2 – No Spec!
Do absolutely no spec work!- Spec work is speculative design work done in the hopes to get work. This is terrible, because if they are not satisfied, you walk away with nothing and you wasted your time. None of us can afford to work for free. It degrades the quality and worth of every serious designer’s work.
Freelancing Tips 3 – Portray Confidence (Humbly)
Be firm, but flexible. Always be confident in your abilities and your knowledge of the field. They are paying you for your abilities, talents, and expertise. Do not back-peddle when they question your work. With this in mind, always listen to your clients and their needs, and if you need to adapt your ideas or compromise part of your design to fit their business better, then do so. You can be firm, but you have to remember to give in a little. You can advise your client against using a certain color or style, but be ready to back it up with professional reasoning. Don’t get defensive, just listen and talk to your client and explain things calmly and intelligently.
Freelancing Tips 4 – Update Your Portfolio Often
Always keep an up-to-date portfolio. You always want to showcase your best work. You want to show your new pieces to show how you have evolved and grown as a designer. If your designs are part of a niche market, such as you specialize in three-dimensional work, your portfolio should be roughly 90% of that. If you are a jack of all trades and have a wide variety of projects, market yourself as a well rounded designer. There are always clients that fit your market.
You work will always improve. Work that you considered to be excellent a year or two ago won’t hold a candle to the work that you are doing now. Keeping your portfolio updated will ensure that your clients see that as well.
Freelancing Tips 5 – Grin and Bear it!
This brings me to the next point. When you first start out, you need any project you can get your hands on. Later, as you become more refined and experienced, you can begin to take on projects that best suit what you do. Sometimes you will have those clients that you just don’t mesh well with. You won’t love every project. That just isn’t possible. Even if freelancing is your dream job, it is still work. You’ll be working with all types of clients who are young and old, and have different religious and political views from you. The best thing to do is to complete the project to the best of your ability, get paid, and move on.
Freelancing Tips 6 – Recognize Great Clients and Give them 110%
When you have a great returning customer, be sure to go the extra mile. When you go the extra mile for a regular customer, let them know that you gave them a little extra something because they are a valued customer. Be sure to let them know that you do not normally do this, and explain that you do this from time to time for your good customers to show your appreciation. A small give away every once in a while means a lot to companies, especially when you do a good job on their projects in the first place.
Freelancing Tips 7 – Honesty is Always the Best Policy
Be honest! Never claim to be able to do something that you aren’t capable of. It makes you look bad and that customer will not come back. Word of mouth travels fast, and a bad reputation grows much quicker than a good one. People will tell a minimum of 9 people when they have a bad experience, but may only mention it to 3 people when they have a good one. Companies will appreciate it much more if you simply say ” I don’t know how to do that.” You may lose the project, but they may come back to you when they need something that you can do, all because you were honest with them. In the best case scenario, a client will sometimes outsource just the part that you can’t do, and keep you for the main portion of the project.
Freelancing Tips 8 – Following up is 40% of Your Business
Follow up with your customers. When you have a good client who pays you well for a project, it is always a nice gesture to send a thank you card, and even a little something around the holidays. It puts your company name in their head, as well as your image. You want the company to remember you, and these are great times to do so. It also lets the company know that you appreciate their business.
Freelancing Tips 9 – Be Positive, It’s Good Karma!
Never tear down other designers. If your work is better than your competitors, let your work show that. Mention what you have done and can do, but never make derogatory marks about anyone else. people simply don’t like that. Also, you never know when you are going to have to partner up with someone else for a big project. Working as a part of a team is not uncommon for really big projects that have a rush status on them. Never make remarks about the quality of their work, simply show the points where your work excels above the competition.
Freelancing Tips 10 – Forethought Governs All That You Do
Think before you act. This applies not only to the professional world, but life itself. You never know how your actions are going to affect tomorrow. If you make rude remarks to someone on the street, they may end up being a potential client tomorrow. They will remember your previous actions and you will lose work. Set goals and determine a strategy in order to reach them. Don’t make rash decisions, and handle every situation as if your career depends on it – because it does!
These freelancing tips will help you to get clients and keep them. If you always present yourself a professional manner, take your work seriously, and are honest and sincere about what you do, people will see that. Building a circle of clientele can take years, but it will be much easier if you conduct yourself with a solid code of ethics. Set fair prices, do good work and be honest and upfront with people and you can do nothing but succeed!
Do you have any freelancing tips you want to share? What works for you? Share your tips in the comments section below!