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Freelancers say we want to grow our business, earn more income, and get better clients.
And yet, most of the time, we ourselves keep our freelancing business small.
Don’t believe me? Read on. Here are the different ways we sabotage our freelance businesses, or keep it from growing.
Charging Small Fees
When you’re just starting out, have no experience or track record in the freelancing niche you’ve chosen, it makes sense to charge on the low end of the spectrum.
I myself did this to build up my portfolio and get testimonials.
However, you shouldn’t be the budget option forever. After all, the more freelance projects you get, the better your skills get, too.
Increase your rates at least every year. Maybe even every six months.
Is this scary? Heck ya! Will you lose clients? You may lose some of them. But you’ll be surprised how the best clients recognize what you’re really worth and are willing to pay your new rates.
Check out an earlier post I wrote about raising your fees and, more importantly, read the discussion in the comments, where other freelancers shared their experiences. (But please pardon the video; I was clearly having a bad hair day when I made it but refused to let that stop me).
I assure you, raising your fees will wake up that voice inside you. The one that demands, “Who the heck are you anyway?”
That’s only your self-doubt rearing its ugly head and trying to keep you safe, protected — and small. Pay no heed. If you don’t feel deserving to charge higher fees, do what you have to do to be worth what you’re charging. Improve or add to your skills. Get more experience. But make sure this is not your way of making excuses so you can stay in your warm and cushy comfort zone.
Strive to be the premium choice in your niche, instead of being the budget option.
Targeting “Small” Clients
I don’t mean to sound like a snob. But the fact is, if you want to charge premium fees you have to be choosy with the clients you work with.
When I was starting out, my target clients were home-based Moms who were getting started with their online businesses. But that was ok, because I was charging on the low end of the scale while getting experience, building up my portfolio, and collecting testimonials.
When I wanted to charge more, I began targeting female entrepreneurs who were earning at least $100,000 a year. Soon, this market became too “small” for me. How much does it take to earn 100k a year — only $8,333.33 a month. If I want to charge monthly retainers of $2000 or more, obviously this was not the right market for me.
So I decided to go for bigger fish: corporate clients. More specifically, B2B companies with an annual income of at least $500,000. In the same way, if you want to charge bigger fees, you need to go after “bigger” clients.
(Incidentally, when I shifted to B2B copywriting, I found AWAI’s B2B copywriting course helpful. Not only did it help me transition from B2C to B2B copywriting. It also taught me how to actually get B2B clients and how much to charge for my services.)
Doing Everything Yourself
When you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you’ll probably do everything yourself, from marketing your services, to completing projects, and invoicing your clients.
But if you want to grow your freelancing business, you need to build a team. You simply cannot get everything done yourself and do everything well. There are several ways to do this, including partnering with other freelancers and outsourcing some of aspects of your freelance business.
Here’s one guideline I learned from a very wise businessman: Don’t strengthen your weakness; outsource it.
For example, I’m good at math, but hate to do my own bookkeeping and accounting (if you’ve ever tried to fill up the Canadian income tax return for businesses, you’ll understand why). So instead of forcing the issue, I’ve hired an accountant. Bonus: She’s a self-employed freelance accountant, so I get to support a fellow freelancing Mom 😀
Are you doing any of the above to keep your freelance business small? What do you want to overcome? What kind of help do you think you need to keep growing your freelance business?
Are you staying small or are you “doing it?”
PS: Jill Konrath’s “Selling to Big Companies” is another resource for you if/when you want to go for bigger, corporate clients. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my Amazon wishlist.