According to a study commissioned by the Freelancers Union, the number of freelancers in the Americas is expected to top 50% of the total population by 2020. As the on-demand economy picks up, more and more people in the working age have started picking freelance gigs over a steady paycheck.
There are a few reasons to this. Freelancing allows workers to choose their work timings. Also, freelance workers tend to diversify their income sources and this can very well make up for the uncertainty that comes with the absence of a salaried job.
But getting into freelancing is not always easy. This is especially true if you offer online services where you compete with workers from all over the world. Workers from countries such as India and the Philippines often succeed in undercutting your prices. The challenge as a new entrant to the industry is thus not only about winning customers, but also making sufficient income through freelancing.
One of the best ways to make money as a freelancer is by increasing productivity. It is a good idea to use tools and software applications that can make your job easier and more valuable. With this strategy, you could reduce the time you spend working on each project. This allows you to take up more projects and thus make up for your low hourly fee.
Let us take the example of a freelance graphic designer who designs logos for her clients. In a typical logo design project, the service provider is expected to understand the client’s brand concept and come up with at least half a dozen logo options. The client then picks their favorite from this list. It can take at least a day for a logo designer to work on even the simpler projects.
Such a freelancer may instead make use of online logo makers like this one from Designhill. This AI tool accepts user inputs related to the client’s brand name, design styles, brand colors and industry to deliver a variety of high quality logos within minutes. In essence, a freelancer may bring down the time it takes to create an assorted list of high quality logos from several hours to minutes.
Using such productivity tools also help with converting more clients. On freelance marketplaces like Freelancer, Designhill and Elance, logo design projects invite hundreds of workers to bid on each project. You may stand out from the crowd of competitors by submitting a bid that includes a sample of such high quality logos. Clients are more interested to work with your business when they have an idea of what to expect.
Target Premium Clients
It can be extremely challenging for a new freelancer to make a mark for themselves. Most freelancers choose to overcome this challenge by competing on price. The trouble with this strategy is that undercutting your competitors on price only gets you low quality clients. In addition to paying less for your time, such clients are also routinely demanding and this makes your job even harder. Such projects suck up time and leave you with fewer resources to go seeking for better projects.
A better way to deal with this challenge is by targeting high value clients. Premium clients expect their service providers to have adequate experience in their industry. This is a luxury for someone new to the industry. You may however overcome this challenge by offering a ‘pay for performance’ deal. This is how it works – freelancers quote high for their client projects but however provide the client with the freedom to not pay if they are not satisfied.
This offers your clients with an irresistible deal which overrides any concerns they may have about your lack of experience. Although such campaigns run the risk of not being paid for, it is worth noting that clients love to work with high quality freelancers. So as long as you provide great service, you should not have any trouble getting paid for your projects. Once you have gathered sufficient experience, you may seek new clients on the basis of this portfolio.
Winning projects as a new freelancer is not easy. However, the tips provided above should help you kick-start your venture and build a brand and portfolio for your business.