Top Trick for Getting New Clients as a Freelancer

If you’re wanting to start a freelance business, the most pressing challenges typically revolve around getting new clients. When I initially launched my freelance business, I struggled to acquire any customers. However, after a few months of trudging through the traditional channels, I discovered a great solution that resulted in generating over $290,000 last year, and it’s what I want to discuss today.

Let’s begin by reviewing the list of options for where you can find new clients as a freelancer. I’ve read countless blog posts and a number of books on this subject, and the following were the most popular recommendations. First and foremost are friends and family. This may seem like a natural place to start. However, it’s been my experience that friends and family typically expect you to work for free or incredibly cheap. This channel can be good if you’re just starting out and you need to build a portfolio. However, it’s not too scalable and usually not very profitable.

Next would be networking events. For networking, you can join your local chamber of commerce, or find networking groups where you can promote your business. This approach can work well in some cases. However, each time I’ve tried it, I’ve discovered that there are already several other developers attending, working on getting new clients for their own freelance businesses. I wouldn’t let my experience with this option stop you from trying it, but make sure that you’re prepared to compete with others. I remember attending a chamber of commerce meet and greet a few years ago. When everyone around the room introduced themselves and their business, there were over half a dozen freelance developers who were all offering pretty much identical services.

Third, are outsourcing services. This is the option that I want to focus on today. Interestingly enough, I was told by a number of freelance experts that this avenue was too difficult. However, I found a great way to use it for getting new clients as a freelancer. Like I already mentioned, I had a difficult time in the beginning getting new customers. Using services such as oDesk and Elance, which now merged and are now Upwork, were especially challenging. Even though I had a solid portfolio and a decade of experience, I couldn’t get a single client.

Some of the challenges were the following. First, I didn’t have any ratings or reviews. Not many clients are willing to take a risk on a developer without some type of recommendation from others. Second, I was priced much higher than the majority of the other freelancers. Most of the freelance teams marketing on services on outsourcing sites or offshore. This meant that I was having to compete against developers offering to work for, at times, 90% cheaper than my rate. I charge $100 per hour while the majority of the offshore teams are charging 10 to $20 per hour. And lastly, I didn’t have the time to pitch potential clients consistently. In regard to marketing my freelance services, I was very streaky. I would get motivated for a few days, send out a large number of pitches, and then I’d get depressed that I wasn’t getting any replies, and I wouldn’t send proposals out for weeks.

After struggling for a few months, I knew I didn’t have any control over challenges one or two. However, I could do something about number three. I was working a full-time job at the time while also attending grad school, so my time was very limited. With that in mind, I came up with a marketing system and it actually worked. Since I’m a little bit on the stubborn side, it took me a while to admit it, but I finally came to terms with the fact that I wasn’t getting new clients, especially with the methods I had been trying up to that time.

So I put a plan into action that involved hiring some freelancers of my own. I assembled a team that helped fill in my weak areas. In order to start getting new clients, I knew that I had to have clearly written proposals that described my services, and I also knew that the proposals would have to be sent out 24/7. With that in mind, I researched sales copywriters on Upwork and hired a talented marketer who created three different proposals that I could use. This included sales copy that advertised my experience, portfolio, and expertise as a developer.

I had three versions created because I wanted each one to be targeted to a specific type of project. For example, one of the proposals focused on enterprise projects, another proposal was targeted at building APIs, while the third had content geared toward startups. With a full set of professional proposals, I was ready to implement the second step of my plan, which is to consistently send out proposals.

For this, I hired a detail-oriented and fluent virtual assistant from the Philippines, named Sy. I was able to hire Sy for $6.50 an hour and he paid for himself in the first week. I walked him through the proposals and described the types of projects that I wanted to get hired for. After I was confident that Sy clearly understood my goals, I let him loose on Elance. He reviewed the full set of potential projects on the marketplace and sent my targeted proposals to each project that fit my criteria. Within a week, I was getting responses back from clients, and within two weeks I’d been hired for multiple projects. Three months later, I had to hire my own developers because I was getting so many clients that were hiring me to build applications.

So how did my strategy work out? Last year, my freelance business generated over $295,000 in revenue, with one month hitting over $40,000. I’m not going to pretend like this is easy. This is pretty much the opposite of a get-rich-quick kind of scheme. However, by implementing this strategy, I was able to cost-efficiently outsource the marketing for my freelance business so that I could focus on actual development.

I hope that this has been a helpful guide for getting new clients as a freelancer, and has also given you some ideas on how you can build your own business.

6 Steps Science of Branding

In this blog post, we’re going to talk about the six steps of the science of branding.

There’s a misconception that branding is basically an aesthetic exercise, that it’s based on the emotional, the qualitative, and that it’s an inexact process. When actually, branding really sits at the intersection of science and art. The art of it is in design, it’s emotional and the feelings, the gut, the variable, the qualitative. The science is the practical part, the cerebral, the static, the consistent, or the quantitative. Successful branding really combines these two. So let’s look at how strategic branding uses scientific methodology. There are essentially six steps in any scientific project, and those six steps can also be used to describe any kind of branding project. So let’s take a look at the steps.

In science there’s, the first step is asking a question. The second is doing research. And then you hypothesize. Number four is your experiment. Five, you analyze. And then six, you make your conclusion.

In branding, you start off with a brief, a creative brief. Then you do an audit of your brand and other brands. You strategize, you explore, you test, and then you implement. Six steps in science and six steps in branding.

1: Ask a question: In branding, you have a brief or creative brief. That is, what is the project? What’s the problem? What needs to be solved? Do you want X or do you want Y?

2: Research: In branding, you do an audit. So what is your own brand doing? So auditing your own brand, auditing the brands of the competition, gathering market inspiration and information.

3: Hypothesize or in branding to strategize: What is the brand’s direction? What are the market solutions? What are the product solutions? What if we tried this? What if we tried that?

4: Experiment: In branding it explores. So you iterate, you develop solutions, you design variations, you try different approaches.

5: Analyze: In branding, you critique a design. You do qualitative and quantitative testing. You do SurveyMonkey, you do focus groups, you get input. You do use case scenarios. So you refine and you change and evolve your solution.

6: Conclude: In branding you implement. So you evaluate that solution, you finalize it, and then you create the output or you implement it in the market.

5 Reasons Why You Need To Publish Content!

Today I’m going to share with you five reasons why you need to start developing content. Now, for any personal brand, small business, entrepreneur, the most important thing is attraction. How are you going to get clients, customers, and a tribe to you? How are you going to attract them to your goods and services and what you have to offer them?

After that, how are you going to retain them? How are you going to make sure that they return and use you again and again? How do you become their favorite? How do you build that level of credibility that creates a belief in you? How you do that is by developing content. So, let’s dive right into it. Here are five reasons why you need to start developing content.

1: Professional independence.

It’s estimated that 34% of American workers today are freelancers, and by 2020, 50% of the American workforce is going to be independent contractors. That means there’s a lot of people out there who are going to have to start developing marketing messages to bring their customers and their clients to them. They won’t have a job or a business that they work within to do that for them. So, developing a level of independence is really developing a level of job security for yourself. So, developing content is one of those things that makes you more of an individual and creates that level of independence.

2: Content will help you establish credibility.

It will help you develop a presence for yourself in the marketplace, a presence that people can believe in that shows that you know your stuff. And by offering up content for free to draw people to you and add value for them, you’re establishing a level of credibility that can’t be bought.

3: Creativity muscles.

Developing content is going to help you develop a muscle, a creativity muscle. Any kind of artist, singer, painter, musician, they know that by practicing their craft they develop a muscle of creativity that keeps this level of flow happening. And if they stopped doing what they do for any period of time, they get rusty and it takes them a while to get back into that flow. By developing content, you’re developing a creativity muscle and idea-generation machine that’s going to serve you in your professional career. And so, by developing content, you’re starting to use that muscle and that muscle is going to get stronger and it’s going to get easier over time.

4: Improves your confidence.

Developing content is a great way to feel great about yourself. You’re going to show yourself how much it is that you know, you’re going to be showing other people how much it is that you know, and you’re going to be providing value to them. And that will make you feel good. It’s great to share, it’s great to help people, and it’s great to really get a handle on what your offer is in the world. So, developing content gives you an opportunity to really shine and to really show that.

5: Grows your business.

Developing content is good for business. It’s called inbound marketing. By developing content that’s valuable to the people who you want to be your customers, clients or your tribe, you’re creating that level of attraction by giving things away for free and getting them to come to you and hopefully come to you over and over again so you become their favorite. This means they’ll bring their business to you or they refer business to you, and your business will profit from it.