6 Easy Practices to outclass 90% of Freelancers 🦅
September 11, 2022
Freelancing, or the practice of working on a contract-to-contract basis with multiple clients instead of a single employer, has been growing in popularity in the past years.
Especially with the pandemic and the rise of WFH and quiet-quitting culture, people have been looking into ways to expand their income streams.
You may ask yourself:
Is this article for me if I am just an employee?
And the answer could be yes or no. I believe that most standard 9-to-5 jobs have some sort of alternative in the freelance sphere. We have seen professions such as physicians, lawyers, construction workers, etc., turn their face towards freelance. What freelance does is essentially remove the 9-to-5 boundaries, such as:
- Having to work a fixed schedule
- Having a single income stream
- Limited control over your work conditions
So with so many freelancers entering the career stage in 2022, you may ask yourself - how do I stand out?
Luckily, whenever there is a large group of people, there are usually ways to quickly accelerate and stand out from the other 90%. In this article, I will go into 6 easy practices that have helped me become a better freelancer and shine when compared to competition.
Starting off with…
1. It’s all about communication
This is the prime factor which will generally differentiate between good freelancers and bad ones.
You would honestly be surprised by how low the standard for communication and correspondence can get - missed deadlines, rude remarks, bad customer service, etc.
By simply following these few guidelines, you can outclass most freelancers in terms of good communication with your clients.
- Create an automatic email campaign to onboard them, giving them full and clear instructions and expectations from the get-go.
- Update them with progress regularly.
- Make them feel like their opinion is appreciated - ask for feedback at the end.
- Offer a refund - then make your best effort so they don’t need to ask for it.
- Keep them in the loop with regular emails.
2. Use the Full-time regime
The 8-hour workday is often bashed for its lack of flexibility.
However, when I first converted to freelance, I found it very helpful to still be able to adhere to the 8-hour workday for a few reasons:
- It helps you build a schedule
- It’s good in case you’re scatterbrained
- It usually intersects with the schedule of your clients which aids correspondence.
What is more, by working 8 hours a day even as a freelancer, you can apply a specific strategy, which I call the 2-by-4 method.
You will sometimes have yourself in the situation where you have not enough or entirely too many clients. In that case, I would recommend you spend 4h a day working on your already-assigned projects, and spend the remaining 4h a day working on marketing - seeking out new clients. This way, you will get yourself an exemplary portfolio of work while still managing to find new clients simultaneously.
3. Control your personal brand
When you think of a “personal brand”, your mind will likely wander off to brand accounts on social media, which honestly feel like poor attempts of an AI to sound human.
However, a real personal brand has more to do with your personality. It includes your presence on social media channels, the design and feel of your personal website, the authenticity you show.
Clients will find it much easier to relate to your message on a personal level if there is a person behind the brand. Also, credibility is more easily being provided - you are standing with your own face and name behind your services, so people will feel more secure that the work will be done responsibly.
4. Grow a newsletter
Ah, email newsletters.
It would seem like email marketing is a dying trend likely to be unpopular in 2022, but surprisingly, there are plenty of 100k+ following newsletters that make insane profits to this day.
Most of them aren’t even connected to particular businesses - they are the personal newsletters of public figures that attract a following through their message and regularly pitch their products and services.
For example, this blog is connected to a newsletter. So if you are subscribed, you will receive an education email and summary of my article of the week each Wednesday. When you provide value, you will later find it easier to attract clients through the very same audience you have been sending newsletters to.
5. Collect testimonials
Do you know why people would want a large social media following, apart from the purely vain aspects of it?
It’s due to the social proof.
A Twitter account with 100k followers can spread the same message as a 1k Twitter, but their message will be largely amplified. And the same goes for freelancers.
For me, it was much easier to get clients doing digital illustrations after my 100th client than before them. And much of it comes from the testimonials of said clients.
So, whenever you finish a job, and you believe you did it well, don’t be shy to ask for a review - and then publish it on your website. It will help your reputation in the long term.
6. Manage expectations
And for our last point, we want to relate back to the initial one with the importance of communication.
At the start of a project with a client, make sure you get these details straight with them and don’t deviate:
- What the deadline is
- How many corrections they get
- What is within your expertise
- What is outside of your abilities
- What they can get as bonuses