The millennials and Gen Z population are drooling over freelance jobs while moonlighting are now much more visible than the past.
Almost half of them are already freelancing and if you are one of those full-time freelancing professionals, this article will make you fall head over heels for providing you with ten top-notch, solid and time-tested tips for bagging bigger paychecks to flaunt your bank account.
Of course, it will also help the newbies in making their side hustles turn into budding enterprises.
If you are wondering what a freelance job is anywhere simpler than a typical nine to five work profile in a corporation, just hold on to seer through the article as it discusses the pros and the plight of being one. It is no walk in the park as it involves much more than the skill you are trying to sell in a market flooded with all sorts of bidders.
However, we will also learn some dependable tactics to attract genuine clients for your next gig and convert little efforts into big earnings systematically.
So buckle up for your golden run in the lavish freelance economy.
Quick Market Stats
- 45% of freelancers admit to being financially more secure and 41% have been considering to continue doing it forever — (Slash Workers)
- Having a diversified portfolio of clientele is considered more stable than working for a single employer as per freelancers.— (Upwork)
- Hubstaff, Ghost, Zapier, Trello, Buffer and a lot more companies now work with 100% remote teams — (Zapier Blog)
- 92% of freelancing professionals work on their vacations — (CNBC
- 73% of millennials are going for freelance jobs straight away — (Forbes)
10 Tips for Freelancers to Earn More in 2020
1. Before You Begin Your Conquest: Focus on the Basics
Even though you are a full-time professional, the freelance marketplaces will rope you in with:
- All the people on the planet who would like to apply for those projects, including newbies (Yes, they will negotiate their bottom dollar often.
- The people who post jobs on such marketplaces while willing to save their money and they may or may not have worked with such professionals before. This leads to confused clients, unclear expectations, and most importantly, poor payments.
So, competition remains fierce and whether you are already drawing a handsome income or finding it difficult to maintain a stable pipeline of projects, sticking to the basics is undeniably essential.
Read the requirements thoroughly, note the red flags, and never bypass even the minutest of guidelines since they may hurt your clients due to experience. Ignoring them will make your money vanish in the thin air.
2. Focus on Your Branding and Spend Time in Curating It
Falling prey to hyper-saturated marketplaces is very common since everyone is open to earning a few bucks and disturb the market prices.
Interestingly, saving yourself could be easy if you have an insight into the right mindset of working with these platforms and the technicalities involved. Make sure that your profile is filled.
While this sounds too easy to be done, it is one of the areas where you leave the ‘rookie’ competition behind as they are less likely to enter all the information required. An SEO optimized profile will do wonders along with an ATS friendly resume. Most people don’t know a thing or two about SEO and you’re automatically ahead of them.
Personal branding has become more vital than ever before. Most of the people will google the products/services before making their minds whilst the average session lasting no more than one minute.
In essence, this situation poses a strong need to have your decent website where you can showcase your portfolio, demonstrate the clientele, and display the potential niches you want to target apart from your existing work.
Creating a persona with dependable traits is an important part of being a gig worker. I have seen tonnes of people uploading profile pictures that scream ‘unprofessional’ or lacking the ‘brand’ element. Creating a personal brand minus these turn downs will ensure you a commanding position beyond the rat race.
Pull Marketing is a breath of fresh air and go for it if you want to go big. Be active on platforms like LinkedIn and engage constructively with the audience there. Also, look out for the forums and write free guest posts on reputed websites.
Volunteering will also add value to your credibility as a bankable resource. Get people talking about you and hiring managers will come to you, and it will save you from negotiation dogfights and cold calling.
Devising a brand will negotiate on your behalf and set the records straight for the clients in terms of expecting the quality of your work. Hence, you can narrow down the interactions without missing out the attractive deals.
3. Become a Part of an Active Network of the Freelancing Community
Well, earning more requires to be in touch with the market. Hustling continuously doesn’t equal to slogging on particular clients or type of projects because stagnancy turns lethal in the longer horizon.
There will exist projects which you have never done before, the clients you have never dealt before, taxation norms you just don’t get straight with. Even small details could surface to be major setbacks on odd days.
Being an active member of the community will provide you with the much-required ‘cushioning’ in times of such problems and save your back.
For a pro, it is essential to be acknowledged by existing clients. Take constant reviews on all your projects and don’t hesitate to ask for referrals. This goes the extra mile in building trust. Add as many testimonials from within the community as you can for the ready reference of the prospects.
One thing that must be a complete no is losing the sense of exclusivity. Be unique in terms of defining yourself as those shoes are crafted only for you. To be trusted upon, ensure you create a respectable presence on community engagements including Facebook pages.
Giving something back, appreciating the work of your fellow acquaintances, and mentoring each other along with networking helps build a healthy relationship in the freelancing community and staying active will help sort out problems with lesser complications to soak in your payments.
4. Have Smart Pitching Tactics
Never forget the primary reason behind hiring managers looking up to you- saving time. From their viewpoint, the work needs to be done quickly and the time spent on each hiring is expected to be shortened to the optimal levels.
Stay on the same page when considering the idea of pitching the services. Write only the relevant and necessary information as the other person is less likely to entertain a bid with lengthy descriptions. Keeping things simple and easily manageable is extremely vital to produce higher conversion ratios.
Speed is going to play a game-changer and you will have to rev up to fetch the best jobs out. The marketplaces are booming with a large number of people offering work and their varying degree of willingness to pay will make things clumsy. You should increase the pace at which you filter jobs, make bids, and shuffle through the correspondences quickly.
5. Refine Your Logistics Before Accepting Work
Full time freelancing is much more specialized than the niche you are good at. As I said earlier, earning more requires you to approach the situations in a systematic manner that is predictable to both you and your clients.
Why I emphasize on these aspects is the widespread problem of crunch time upon projects. Most ventures in this field do not succumb to starvation in the case of full-time professionals, they die of poorly managed over-expansion. Loosely coupled logistics are responsible for hunting down many folks right in their heyday.
Keep an eye on the working patterns and define the amount of time you are going to spend on each stage of the process. Keep a log of each assignment and don’t forget to sign legally backed contracts, which we will discuss separately in the later portions.
Being effective is more important than being good because you have limited time for working and mismanaging time will end up in a premature doom of your gig career.
A clear vision of what, when, where, why, who, and how will mend stable income streams and envision the sense of sustainability in your earning patterns.
6. Make a Pricing Plan to Bring in Gauged Clientele
Well, pricing confuses most of us at times. Imagine that you are working for a long time now and you have old regular clients who still pay you the older, amateur rates. Even if that is a couple of hundred bucks less every week, that will add up to be a large dent of over 10k at the year-end.
Moreover, you will have to track your financial liabilities distributed over the course of time, the number of hours you can work regularly, and the efforts required to get things done. Sound market research will help in refining prices from time to time, but having a personalized touch is essential.
A smart way to insure yourself is to create detailed breakdowns for your work that reflect the technicalities. For instance, if you are a content writer, the pricing plan shall include market research, keyword analysis, targeted website analysis, content structure, supporting literature, images, and other non-textual content, along with word count. Also, have separate pricing for different types of word counts. Such bills leverage your field-expertise to create trust.
However, I strongly recommend avoiding the hourly billing. Doing so will shift the control towards clients in terms of project management and squeeze your productive time with the same expected results.
Project-based pricing is always more fruitful, but one of the areas where hourly rates help is post-completion. When you are approached by an old client for minor revisions, this method makes sense to both of you. Also, you can earn some extra money out of it without spending more time.
Revise your rates from time to time and make sure that you steadily increase the pricing in small steps. Abrupt changes will catch the unwanted attention of all clients as people don’t expect a 50% hike suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
The pricing plans with both brief and detailed offerings will act as a filter to distinguish genuine parties. Wasting your time in irrelevant negotiations is the last thing you would like to do as they keep you away from ‘paying clients.’
7. Keep Your Taxation Game Clear as Well as Financial Goals While Invoicing
Have an accounting software and register yourself as an LLC (Limited Liability Company) if you want to keep your money safe. Paypal also provides free invoicing service.
Firstly, accounting software will help in managing your finances and streamline the invoicing process. Taxes are often skipped by a majority of people as the payroll software takes care of it in the case of full-time jobs and they end up facing troubles at the year-end.
Accounting software will take care of the taxation and ensure that you are left with a clear understanding of your on-hand income. On the contrary, these net figures also help with budgeting and pricing apart from personal finance.
LLCs are extremely helpful as you can get eligible for some tax rebates for the office/utilities in your house office and equipment. But, the principal reason is to safeguard your assets in case you get sued upon.
While I do know that getting sued is super rare, but having an LLC will protect you by limiting your liability of the legal entity of your business.
8. Maintain a Professional Demeanor
What value would the client look forward to if they hire your services? Well, the answer to this question that shapes your rapport. Setting your priorities is the key to projecting a professional demeanour.
Notably, you are the boss and the front-line sales executive along with the back office! Getting things messed up is more common on a large scale which eventually hurt client sentiments.
Start right from the initial phases of pitching to attract attention. Being aware of the job is extremely important and even if you are not, make sure to clear the fog before concluding a bid.
SLAs (Service Level Agreements) is a good way of managing all constraints on a mutually agreeable basis, including the overall budget, expected work in breakdowns, and delivery deadlines.
Putting things in black and white will require you to mention these things without fail:
- Name of the stakeholder parties.
- The location at which the agreement is subject to the jurisdiction.
- Title of the project.
- Delivery milestones.
- Payment clauses including mode, frequency, amount, and nature of the payment.
- Special cases and kill fees.
- Authorized signatures of the concerned parties.
Being supportive is another dimension of professionalism that requires proper communication, availability and a bit of flexibility.
Don’t forget to use office tools that can facilitate correspondence, such as Google Apps, Skype, Mail Chimp, Team Viewer, and Git Hub. They add much value to your professional credibility.
9. Stay Technically Sound in Project Management
As a full-time freelancer, you are much likely to experience surges in demand and dry spells over and again. Without proper project management, you could end up on a candlelight dinner date with a forgotten deadline to take care of.
Using project management tools and pinning important events will help you manage both the workload and spare personal time.
Marketing activities often take a back seat at work flooded situations, so don’t forget to promote your brand and networking.
10. Keep Old Clients in Touch and Play the Consultant
Having old clients is no lesser than a boon. Once you have dealt with them, their expectations and working processes are familiar to you. This cuts down your research time and improves your chances to hit on all the right areas without fail. Recurring revenues and referral business are two major perks of being in the good books of people.
To stand out from the crowd, take charge of situations. Understand the course of action and profess changes whenever required. People buy solutions, and if you can’t help them, please don’t confuse them either. Focus on maintaining a healthy mix of existing and new clients to diversify your portfolio.
Value your time just as theirs and share insights into the subjects to testify your work. Maintain a record of generic issues and their solutions for your clients which they can use in the future. These little tricks will surely pay many folds and nurture loyalty.
Using Mail Chimp to send the weekly newsletter is very useful for this purpose while having occasional informal meetups will go the extra mile in establishing long term relationships.
As more and more professionals will turn towards moonlighting, the number of full-time freelancers will increase. We are in the final month of 2019 and the year 2020 will offer bigger opportunities for all full-time freelancers.
All of us have limited resources and time. The only way to beat the competition in the freelancing landscape and earn big bucks is to outperform your competition strategically. Don’t fancy your efforts in over executing everything, as even staying one lap ahead is always safer than burning out.
If you play your cards well with these ten tips, handsome earnings are on the way! They will build newer dimensions of working independently, opportunities to grow yourself as an established subject matter expert instead of a mere freelancer while working for yourself.