After writing for others for the last 4 years as a freelancer I thought I would share a few tips with you. These tips will help you keep your clients for a longer period of time as well as helping you get good referrals. What I enjoyed about being a freelancer was that after a while I never had to advertise for new clients. I always had referrals from my current clients.
Running Your Business as a Freelancer
The best tip I can give you is to set up your freelancer business in a professional way. This way you can easily respond to questions and requests for samples in a timely fashion.
This is what I put in place:
Rate sheet – I didn’t publish this but had it in an easy to access place. This way every enquiry got the same rate quoted per job. You may want to put in place an hourly or per job rate. With freelance writing I found a per job or per word rate seemed to work the best. Don’t forget to add in research time – otherwise a project that you thought would only take a few hours can linger into a day or more.
Contract – I used this for longer contracts and it worked well for both parties involved. Set out the terms of what you as the freelancer are going to deliver and when the client can expect the work to be completed. For example I had one client that I would deliver 40 articles to each month. It didn’t matter when in the month they were delivered. By setting out any terms and conditions neither of you can come back nor say this was not expected or agreed upon.
Dropbox – If your client doesn’t have a project management system in place then I suggest you set up a Dropbox folder for them. This way they can add any notes or research items. Plus you can easily deliver large files without having to attach them to an email.
Payment System – I used Paypal for taking payments. I found that agreeing on a 50% deposit and the remaining 50% upon completion worked well. After a few months I had some clients that would pay be totally upfront each month, even though it wasn’t required.
Freelancer Work Ethics
This is an area that you really want to pay attention to, and it can apply to both the freelancer and the client.
- Ensure that you know and understand the project in question. If you are not totally certain of what the client wants, ask them for clarification. This way you won’t get the “this wasn’t what I had in mind” reply after you deliver your work.
- Always leave enough time to get the project done.
- Deliver early if possible.
- Never, ever deliver late or simply ignore a deadline or agreed upon delivery date. This is the fastest way to lose a client. Emergencies do happen and cannot always be avoided. If something comes up then advise your client and let them know. Not hearing from someone can leave your client wondering if you are going to deliver at all.
- Don’t accept an assignment if it is something that you don’t enjoy working on. If you take it because you want the money more than anything else, you may find that your quality suffers. For example I never enjoyed writing about dating topics. I did try once but it wasn’t my thing so I declined those jobs.
- Always be in communication. Ensure that you know how to contact your client and they you. Provide each other with your email, home phone for emergencies, Skype ID and Facebook or Smartphone information – so at least you can send a text if necessary.
By taking the time to set up your freelancer business professionally you will find that you attract clients that are willing to pay your rates. If you are just starting out I found that offering a discount on the first order was a great way to secure a contract or gig. Explain that this discount only applies on the first order and let the perspective client know what your rates will be afterwards.
Several people have asked me about discounts for bulk orders. While I can see their point of view for that you are not going to really benefit if you offer a huge discount. Each article or item is still going to take the same amount of time, so you could find yourself actually working for less money per hour in the end. A better option could be to offer to add one extra article for example for every 20 ordered, or even offer to upload them into the client’s blog for publishing. I did the last one for several clients and scheduled blog posts out over an entire year.
Anyway I hope these freelancer tips have helped you when it comes to setting up and running your own business.
The site has lots of training on it, and it also offers a job board from customers looking to hire writers.
Thanks for reading.