How about I start this post with defining what Freelancing actually means, so we can get on the same page. A Freelancer is a self-employed individual with a valuable skill who doesn’t have to commit to a single or long-term employer. They work independently for several different companies or clients from the comfort their home or any place of their choosing and mostly from their computer! Notice the part where I said with a “Valuable Skill” ? it is very important to have a skill first before thinking of freelancing, if you don’t have a skill that is valuable and you know people are making money with, you cannot be a freelancer! (what would you offer people as your service?)
A little background about me and my freelance journey. I started very young – at the age of 19 – immediately I was done with Uni, I chose Web and Graphics design as my preferred field, I have worked with a bunch load of clients (both good and bad), I have been able to build my freelance business that was started on my Grand-Mother’s dining table into a Sought-after Creative design agency in London (I’ll give you the link to my agency’s website at the end of the post), I currently mentor, coach and guide other freelancers (and newbies) on how to become more effective, get the right skills and charge what they deserve. A freelancer is a self-employed individual with a valuable skill who doesn’t have to commit to a single, long-term employer.
Pros of Freelancing.
These are some of the advantages of being a Freelancer:
- You’re the Boss! As a Freelancer, you answer only to yourself and you basically decide when, how and what you want to work on!
- You can Make More Money. Someone asked me once; “How much you make?” I answered; My earnings doesn’t have limit! I can earn peanuts and I can earn Big bucks! Unlike people with a fixed salary job, as a freelancer (if you play your cards right), there’s no limit to how much you can make per month!
- Lower Taxes (if you pay taxes). Am going to skip this one! (Please don’t laugh)
- Work-life Balance. Unlike people with regular jobs, you don’t have to wake up so early in the morning to hop on a bus, train or car and face traffic to go to a job you don’t like and you get to have more time with family and people who matter to you! (This is a lie though, I work almost every hour of the day and don’t have time for family and friends, thats not because I cannot make time but I enjoy what I do so much that it takes all my day and it doesn’t feel like it, but I can make time if I want. I hope you get the gist)
- Happier and Healthier. I was about to make food one night and my flatmate asked “You are always in a good mood, why is that”?. She had just come back from work and saw me singing and moon walking as I was about to make some delicious Noodles with egg and fried plantain! (I hope you are not getting hungry now), So I said “Because I do what I love and I make a living without having to leave my living room”
Find a way to make a living without having to leave your living room! – Daniel Damilola Nejo
Cons of Freelancing.
These are some of the dis-advantages of being a Freelancer, don’t get scared though!
- No Job Security: This is huge and this is why 99% of most people have a full time job. People spend the early hours of the day going to jobs they don’t like or don’t enjoy just so they can get a salary at the end of the month to pay their bills and feed themselves or their loved ones. As a freelancer, you dont get a salary – you get clients, jobs, projects and when there is no “project” or “client” – you don’t get paid! (That’s scary right? I know )
- Inconsistent Work: One of the interesting things about having a full-time job is that; whether the company is profitable or not in a particular month – you get your salary regardless. One of the challenges new freelancers face is the “inconsistent work syndrome” a.k.a “No Job Season”
- There Are No Benefits: Because you are you own boss, you are not entitled to some things people with full-time jobs get such as Car allowance, Health Insurance and all those things employees get (i don’t know them since have never had a full-time job)
- You Risk Not Getting Paid: Freelancers almost always have to chase down payments from clients, I literarily just disolved a relationship with a client I do consistent monthly work for because even though I always deliver and handle everything on my end, I always have to remind and send emails to this guy to pay the monthly retainer EVERY MONTH!
- You Have To Handle EVERYTHING: You are the sales person, accountant, designer, writer, hype man and everything for your business.
- You Must Be Able To Motivate Yourself: Nobody will tap you on the shoulder to say “Good work” , you need to be the person who wakes up every morning motivated like a motherf*cker!
Setting Up Your Workplace.
You could sit down on your dining table (just like me when I started way back) , you can sit down in the kitchen, convert a spare room into your work place, work from your room or even work from an eatery or a local coffee shop. Wherever you decide to work from, make sure its free from distraction and it fits your need.
Have a name for your freelance service business and create a brand identity for yourself, have a Logo and also have a website with information that introduces you to prospective clients. Explain the services you offer, show examples of your work, add contact details like address, phone number and email addresses. (You can take a look at an example here; Presidential Ideas
Creating Your Portfolio.
As a Freelancer, your portfolio is what sets you apart! Its going to bring in clients and also make clients run away from you, if you fuck it up! So, in your portfolio show diversity in your work, include testimonials from clients (you can get this easily from past clients or colleagues), include your contact information so it’s easier for clients to get in touch with you, and ONLY show the projects that you’re most proud of, and if you are new with no work to show? Create imaginary client works and place them in your portfolio, the aim of a portfolio is to show “what you have done” and “what you can do”
If you are new with no or very few work to show, create projects for IMAGINARY CLIENTS and place them in your portfolio! The aim is to show “what you have done” and “what you can do”
How To Determine The Price for Your Service.
I hope you read the part above where I talked about the Cons of Freelancing, if you did – you will know that ensuring you make money with your skill, service and time is very important. There are 3 main strategies in determining the price of your service, its very important to get your pricing right!
- Cost Plus Pricing. You determine the expenses involved then add a little something to that amount so that you can turn a profit.
- Market Rate Pricing. Explore how much other freelancers are charging to give you a rough estimate of what, and how to charge clients.
- Value Driven Pricing. The client pays you what they believe the service is worth. You must also make sure that you live up to expectations. (I love this pricing model, it sets you aside from other freelancers. For example; If I will design a website that will bring in an extra $10,000 / month revenue for the company, you bet your ass am going to charge well!
Marketing, Promotion and Getting Clients.
As a freelancer, its very important that you have clients in the pipeline always! One of the first things to do is have a website where you should list your best works and what you can do and another good way to get clients that has been working for me is to create valuable content. (This is very under-utilized by freelancers. The aim of creating valuable content is to show “thought leadership” in your field, your posts or videos will always get shared when people find it valuable and this right here is FREE promotion because it costs you close to nothing to create content but its a sure way of letting people know that you know your sh*t and are willing to help).
Below are some more ways to get your name out there:
- Create case studies of clients or projects you’ve worked on! People love to see what the ROI is for the project you worked on.
- Ask past clients to provide a testimonial
- Network in-person at events where prospects might be at
- Educate others in your industry by teaching a workshop, course or writing an eBook
- Get listed in local and online business directories for what you do
- Use social media to promote your good work not for posting memes and funny videos (also, the idea is to promote NOT to sell your service everyday on social media – its meant to be social)
- Offer a free or low cost product / service and then UPSELL your main gig
- Do a little cold e-mailing. There are so many businesses that need your service but you cannot find each other. Search for the names and businesses of potential clients and reach out to them. (Hint: always send your emails from your website’s email. e.g Daniel@Presidentialideas.co.uk) On my course Successful Freelancer Blueprint I showed you how to get 30 solid new clients who NEED your services for just $4.99
- Inform your friends, family and colleagues what you’re up to – hopefully they’ll spread the word for you.
Where To Find Work.
There are so many ways and places to find jobs and clients who are actually in NEED of your service.
- Job boards and Freelance Websites
- Checking online directories with business listings (you will see loads of businesses with NO or DEAD websites or branding that will NEED your service)
- Work for a Non-Profit (Non-profits are always believed not to have money to spend but the truth is they do!!! I remember re-designing a website for a non-profit – they paid their last web company £4,000!!!!! for the design of the website and it looked like shit! What did I charge them? I charged them £500 because I felt they were “non-profit” and I wanted to do them a favour! Damn Dammy, you played yourself!
- Remember…Stick to Existing Contacts, Networking Opportunities and Promotions
Working With Clients.
Working with a new client is always fun, you are excited (hopefully) about the amount of value you are about to add to the client’s business and the client is also excited to see the magic you come up with.
- Be on the Same Page
- Have a contract
- Get up to 50% upfront
- Communicate Frequently
- Be Flexible, But Not Too Much
- Deliver when you say you will!
Clients That Wave Red Flags.
- Concern with protecting themselves “legally”
- Ask the question, “If I don’t like this, do I still have to pay for it?
- Claims that they have a terrible experience with a freelancer in your field in the past.
- Asks for loooooow price because “they will bring more jobs to you” (its not always true)
I talked more on clients to work with and stay away from in this article Make More Money in 2018 by Staying Away From These 8 Types of Clients
How To Get Paid.
- Be a Professional (freelancing isn’t a hobby)
- Be Flexible with rates and payment options! (always have at least two means by which clients can pay you)
- Bill Up Front (I would advice not to start a project without billing the client upfront, you don’t want to assume the client knows what the work is worth
- Send out your invoice Promptly and Frequently!
- Never work Until You’re Paid (at least some percentage; your time and skill is valuable)
Final Words Of Advice.
- Get a valuable skill, improve the skill you have, learn other skills related to your main skill so you can UP-SELL and CROSS-SELL your services.
- Don’t sleep the day away
- You have to pay your own bills
- Save your receipts
- Have emergency funds
- You’re not open 24/7 (You have a life too)
- Its alright to outsource (This is huge! Most freelancers always think they have to do everything themselves. That’s the recipe for killing yourself, you do not need to actually do everything yourself, you can outsource it! For example, when I get a Logo design request; I do not spend my time doing it most of the time – I give it to someone else so I can focus on other things that brings in the right “bread”)
- Get comfortable
- Take care of yourself
- YOU DON’T HAVE TO ACCEPT EVERY JOB!
I hope you found some value in this post, to be honest, this post is just a tip of the iceberg! I just released an Online course called Successful Freelancer Blueprint with over 33 high quality videos where I have spent my time going into more depth on how to STAND OUT FROM OTHER FREELANCERS, Avoid Mistakes Almost Every Freelancer Makes, Problems Every Freelancer Face and How To Handle Them in a Breeze, Ninja Ways Of Getting Clients With Money To Spend & How To Survive The “No Job Season”, Exact Steps To Becoming More Productive, Branding Yourself and Business and Creating Multiple Streams of Income and more!!! Its a crazy course, spent close to a month creating and shooting the videos for the course! How much is the course? Less than the price of a pair of Jeans! All the information you need to know about what the course entails can be found here Succesful Freelancer Blueprint