How to Succeed as a Freelancer Part 3 | Self Employment for Beginners
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Running Time: 10 minutes
This video is part 3 in the series of How To Succeed as a Freelancer. If you take the time to watch them all, I will have given you every freelancer trick that I can think of to help you thrive. From finding Clients, to keeping them coming back. Success truly is within your reach.
Limit information intake
I have a client that loves to plan for everything. He often wants to talk about a task for 30 minutes on the phone. I do it, because it makes him feel like we accomplished something. However, my usual take-away is that he could have condensed the key elements and sent me a text message.
I often say “Make a plan. Execute the plan. The plan goes off the rails. Make a new plan.”, but this can be difficult with clients that like to micro-manage, and plan for so long, you eventually just forget to actually do anything about it. Basically, discussing it long enough, so that it’s no longer relevant. This is the “Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim” mentality, and it’s the exact opposite of how I work, which is closer to “Ready, Fire, Aim”, and simply adjust course as we go.
I prefer to limit the amount of distractions. I can’t be producing work (and getting paid) if I spend all my time planning for it. I often tell my clients, especially when there’s something they need as soon as possible, that I can’t work if I’m on the phone talking about what needs to get done. Send me an email.
Practice Saying No
I say no to clients all the time. There is no point to taking on new work, if you don’t have time to do the old work. For those clients that get a bit more demanding, explain that you can only take on new work starting a week or two from now. This can be a good way of working anyway. It sets you up for future work, and helps manage your time today without them asking “Is it done yet?” for the next week.
If you ARE in the market for new clients, make sure you don’t spend all of your energy and time wooing them. Potential clients are exactly that—potential. They’re not real clients just yet, so try your best to set an automatic workflow during that initial stage of seeing whether or not you’re both a good fit to work together.
The reason this is important is because as a freelancer, your time is everything. Think about it: you’re already dedicating hours upon hours of your day working for your existing clients. You definitely don’t want to give up your free time for those who are just not worth it.
Set aside “work time” for running your business
As a business owner, you are not only responsible for the actual work, but also all the administrative, financial, research, development, sales, and marketing tasks.
Be sure that you schedule time in your work day to seek out future job opportunities, maintain client relationships, manage the finances, schedule social media posts, maintain your website, and all those other tasks that are now yours to deal with. Schedule time for all these activities during the hours you want to be working, not during your “off-hours.”
People Pay for Your Results
Clients will not be interested in what it takes to do what you do. They will only be interested in the results you give them. Was it worth their money? You better make sure that it is, or they will hire someone else next time. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you can succeed.
It’s also important to manage expectations early on before you even begin working for that client, just so you can avoid any finger-pointing when something doesn’t go as planned. People love to play the Blame Game, and no matter how nice and cooperative a client may seem at first glance, they can do a complete one-eighty when things go horribly wrong.
From the get-go, make sure that you set clear deliverables and deadlines so that you’re both well aware of what’s happening throughout the whole process. If you’re going to be taking on a huge project, try to break it up in chunks so that your client can check to see if you’re on the right track every so often. Plenty of mistakes can be easily avoided if you keep the communication lines open between yourself and your client at all times.
Everyone Hates Excuses
It’s natural to mess up—nobody is perfect. Your clients will understand if you own up to your mistakes and do your best to redeem yourself. What they will not understand is you making excuses. Don’t waste your time explaining to your client why it’s not quite right.. Just admit it, learn from it, and fix it. Your time and energy should be spent on trying to correct your mistake rather than on coming up with lame reasons why something didn’t turn out the way you meant it to.
Here’s a quick story: [Hey John, my husband is an architect and he once questioned a contractor as to why they didn’t include the roof as part of their quotation. I mean, they submitted a quotation for a whole house, but sneakily didn’t include the costs for the roof. When confronted about the oversight, the contractor stared at his own quotation, scratched his head, and told my husband it was his fault for asking them to submit the quotation on Valentine’s Day. LOL the excuses people will come up with]
This is also where good communication comes in handy. When you hit a bump in the road that you feel your client should know about, alert them about the issue right away before things get out of hand. Don’t just shrug and hope for the best.
Quality not Quantity
It’s all about quality. Your priority should be to produce the best output for your client so that he will keep hiring you or even recommend you to someone else. This will eventually provide you with a steady circle of clients who love what you do, and if you keep providing them with top-notch work, more and more clients will be clamoring for your expertise. Who wouldn’t want that?
I should also mention that quality is better than quantity when it comes to your clients, too. A handful of really good ones who provide you with a steady stream of income and whom you’re comfortable working with is way better than tons and tons of crappy ones. Besides, not all of them will fall absolutely in love with your work and your style, so don’t stress yourself out trying to please everyone.
Treat freelancing as a job
In this “always connected” world we live in, maintaining a work-life balance has become increasingly more difficult. When working from home, the lines between work and life are even more blurred. While the freelance lifestyle affords you the freedom to work for yourself, anytime and from anywhere you choose, this lack of boundaries can quickly make freelance work an overwhelming presence in your life.
One of the most difficult things a freelancer often struggles with is to keep that work-life balance, well, balanced. Because you’re not bound by a regular time clock where you log in and log out at the end of each day, your schedule tends to spiral out of control, and days and nights can bleed into each other without you realizing it.
My family life has suffered at times because I had a really hard time “leaving” work. Because I work from home, my clients often think their hours are my hours. Additionally, I find that I’m always on call, day and night. A better way of working is to set up office hours with your clients, and stick with it.
Personally, I don’t schedule any work for Fridays. Ever. That’s more of a catch-up day for me. Business, personal, or just bike riding. I’ll schedule some work during the weekends, but Fridays for me are no commitments.
If you keep working like a dog day in and day out, with no regard for personal time and weekends with your loved ones, you might just wake up one day and realize you’ve overworked yourself, taken the fun out of freelancing, and forgotten why you’re even doing what you’re doing in the first place.
A good client will know how to respect your boundaries and requirements just as they expect you to respect theirs. Again, this is one of the important things you ought to look for when you’re building that coveted circle of trusted clients—pick the ones you really want to work with, and those who really want to work with you. Then, once you’ve got that relationship built, maintain it and give it the TLC it deserves.
Don’t Screw Up Relationships
I had a great client, and he gave me a ton of work. So much, that I had to hire not one, but two retouching assistants. At some point, he started complaining about the color. I kept saying it was fine, and he kept saying everything is orange. After a ton of back and forth for 2 months, I ended up losing 100% of that work.
It wasn’t until the very end that I finally drove for hours to his location to see what he was complaining about. Sure enough, everyone looked bright yellow and nuclear orange. It made no sense.
Eventually, I figured out that my high-end monitor was failing, and no longer showing me anything even close to true color. I bought a new monitor, and was back in business.
Unfortunately, his partners said I couldn’t do any more retouching work for them.
This is when I lost A LOT in my personal life. You can go to my other YouTube Channel Finance on a Budget to learn more about what happened in my life at this point.
I had to wait a year, doing smaller projects, but eventually I gained that trust back. But if I was diligent, I should have stopped, and addressed the issue LONG before I actually did. I really could have lost my biggest client. Dont let that happen to you.
Be sure to give this video a like, subscribe, and ring the bell notification. If you did like this video, please go to www.the artofretouching.com for more tips and tricks, to make you a better photo retoucher.