The aim of this report is
simple - to give you free information which you
can use immediately to improve the results you get from
your freelancing. It shows you how it is possible to
increase your earnings and find work with better
customers and clients.
With more and more
freelancers coming into the market - either through
choice or redundancy there has never been a greater need
for freelancers to more fully understand the marketing
options available to them. The best paid freelancers are
NOT necessarily the best at their job. Highly paid
freelancers are almost without exception better
organised, better marketers and better sales people. They
have a realistic and workable plan - they simply refuse
to accept that they have to muddle through and hope for
Many self-employed people
needlessly lead a hand-to-mouth existence:
- the money they
earn is less than they deserve,
- the hours are
longer than they might choose to work,
- they don't
receive any perks such as company pensions,
holidays or health insurance.
- they are
constantly scrambling around for work and
- some are willing
to accept almost any assignment - at almost
any fee just so long as they are kept busy.
The following have been
identified as the most common mistakes made by most
freelancers. Just by avoiding these mistakes you will
improve your results as a freelancer.
past customers will automatically book you again without
any help or encouragement from you.
A writer/director who
attended our seminar wrote shortly afterwards to say that
this idea generated "a level of work Ive never
known before" All he did was get in touch with every
previous employer (this must be done systematically for
it to have the best effect) who you would want to work
with again - assuming you did a competent job - you are
practically guaranteed to end up with new work. Why?
Because previous happy customers are always the easiest
people to sell yourself to. It costs money to attract a
new client - sometimes it can cost quite a lot in terms
of money and a sizeable investment of time. Working again
for past clients is more profitable than constantly
spending money and time to find new ones. Forgetting
about clients you have worked with in the past is a
costly mistake to any freelancer.
Maintain your relationship
with all past clients and customers - if there are past
clients you haven't spoken to in a while - get in touch
again - reawaken the relationship - assume the
responsibility of contacting them - it's known as 'top of
the mind' marketing - you will find that a significant
amount of repeat business will come your way.
#2: Not Marketing
If you continue with the
same behaviour - you are GUARANTEED to get the same
result. Failing to actively market yourself effectively
is the most expensive mistake you can make. Many
freelancers believe they don't have the time - this is
usually an excuse because they don't really understand
what they need to do, what it entails and where they
start - so they convince themselves that it is better or
OK to do nothing.
"WHERE DO I
START?" is a common question.
The biggest obstacle to
success for many freelancers is that so many look upon
themselves as crafts people first and business people
last - They mistakenly believe that the high quality of
their work should be enough to sell them. It SHOULD be
enough - but it isn't - nor will it ever be - and less so
in the future. They like to think that a professional
doesn't need to resort to the dirty world of marketing or
But you cannot NOT market
yourself - if you don't market yourself actively, by
definition you market yourself passively - most passive
marketing is poor, needlessly costing you money and lost
business. An effective personal marketer makes sure that
their customers and potential clients perceive them in
the best or most appropriate way - rather than allowing
them to make up their own minds about you. Look to see
precisely who needs your service. Brainstorm with others
if possible - preferably people in different industries.
Your customers are not always who you think they are.
Think about your business
or what you do from the employers perspective. Ask
yourself how you can satisfy THEIR needs - for the time
being forget about your own. How can you help your
clients to make more money or save money?
By really understanding
what happens before a freelancer is hired you can
dramatically improve your chances of being given the
business. They want a result. People hire you
because of the result you can provide them-the better the
result, or the quicker you can produce that result - the
more appealing you will be to any employer. How can you
give your prospective clients a better result than your
The secret is taking a
systematic approach - most people don't do this - they
look for work in a very adhoc way - failing to go through
every resource, skill and option open to them - relying
This is a simple process
for finding new clients - the more potential new clients
you have the more choices you have in your life and this
will help you become more confident about your
freelancing. Prepare 3 separate lists of people: Your
first list should include every person and organisation
you know who is personally capable of offering work.
Include everyone you have ever worked for in the past.
This list represents your hottest prospects.
Your second list should
comprise everybody you know who might know someone else
who might be able to offer you work.There are lots of
'coulds' associated with this list. Dismiss no one -
include people you haven't spoken to in months or even
years - go through your old address books - don't
deselect anyone at this stage.
Your third list should
comprise the most detailed list of people or
organisations who you do not know personally but you
would want to work with or work for- they might include
the leading companies in your industry - or if your
clients are members of the public - they could be the
rich, famous or the most powerful and influential people
either in your industry, your locality or your city. This
third list is a wish list of possible clients. Go through
the telephone book, Yellow Pages, the Thomson directory,
and the Business Pages in the localities you are
interested in. Go to your local reference library. Treat
your visit as though it were a day at the office - it
could easily represent the most productive marketing days
you spend. You will find a variety of trade and
association directories - these can be a goldmine for
prospective clients - look for associations which use
your products or services - try to think laterally.
Contact clubs and offer a
special deal to their members if appropriate - the club
is seen to offer extra value to their members while you
get new business at little or no cost to you.
Once you've identified all
these people you need to contact them but DON'T ask for
any business! Instead, do the following; ask them for
some advice and feedback. There are two reasons -
firstly, it takes the pressure off them if they are not
in a position to offer any work and secondly, you will be
seen as someone who cares about what they think and have
to say - everybody likes to be asked for advice.
By talking with a number
of existing and potential customers you will get a clear
idea of what motivates people to employ freelancers in
your industry. Go through your notes and extract the most
insightful comments from this research.
Think deeply about the
information you have been given and start to write down
how you can address those concerns, how you can
and will solve their problems. This approach is the
opposite way most freelancers operate - the only time
they ever make contact with someone is to ask for work -
if you think about what you can do to help an employer to
solve their problems and allay their fears or anxieties -
a letter or brochure which addresses and answers those
concerns and is conveyed in a sincere but professional
manner will gain you more business.
#3: Asking For
This is the biggest
freelancer sin. A successful freelancer NEVER has to ask
for work - instead they make a prospective employer an
offer or a series of offers so powerful - they will ask
the freelancer to work for them. Don't be one of those
freelancers who only ever contacts a client if they want
work. Yes, you want work but prospective clients don't
care about you - they care about themselves - so help
them - develop a habit of offering something to them
every time you contact them. This is very important. You
can even send a newspaper cutting which you think is
relevant to their job/interests. If you can't think what
you have to offer - you simply cannot expect a client to.
say they don't maintain contact because they think they
will be seen as a nuisance - they don't want to pester -
only freelancers who fail to think of themselves as
people who provide solutions to clients' problems think
in this way.
The Money You Earn Represents
"Take Home" Pay.
It costs money to earn
money. Many freelancers mistakenly think spending money
on promoting themselves or attracting new customers comes
out of their pay packet - so they tend not to do it. This
means that attracting new clients is perceived as being a
cost and is therefore probably not worth
doing. Afterall, why spend money you've worked so hard to
earn and risk losing it if it doesn't succeed at
producing more business? Such an attitude is guaranteed
to cost more money than it saves. It is a fact of
freelancing that if you are not confident about exactly
how to promote yourself - it is most likely
that you will not do it. Depending on how much you earn
annually it can cost anything from 10-35% of your income
to earn your salary. And of course, any freelancer who
does not put away up to 25-30% of all their income into a
high interest 60 day account for their income tax
liability is headed for trouble!
#5: Not Charging
An obvious mistake perhaps,
(no one does it unless they feel they have to), but look
at why so many freelancers don't charge enough. Fear and
lack of self-confidence are almost certainly the biggest
culprits, followed closely behind by a lack of information
either about their own finances or the industry they are
working in. Too many freelancers are afraid that they
won't get a job if they charge too much. This fear is
very real if they aren't earning enough from the jobs
they are doing already. This in turn forces them into
accepting more poorly paid work which in turn means they
need the money so much they can't afford to risk missing
out on future work so they keep their fees low. If you
do this - this fear is slowly strangling you. It will
never improve unless you do something about it.
#6: Not invoicing
a client on a "contract for services" basis.
This is crucially
important for all freelancers in Britain but more so if
you have a small number of clients to whom you provide
most of your services. The consequences to British
freelancers are dire - the Inland Revenue will try to
claim that you are employed and
employers will insist on deducting tax and
National Insurance at source - which means you will not
be able to claim legitimate expenses against your tax.
There is a big distinction between offering a
contract for services and working with a
contract of employment. The latter is to be
avoided at all costs.
This report has been
compiled to provide you with a number of tried and tested
ways to increase your freelance earnings. We hope you
have found it thought provoking and of practical value.
If you would like more ideas on how to
become more effective as a freelancer we can send you
a copy of the six part audio
Secrets of Successful Freelancing". Freelancers from
many different industries in countries all over the world
have benefitted from it. It is packed with profit generating
ideas and techniques of specific relevance to self-employed
freelancers and consultants.
Simply print out this order form, fill
in your details and fax it back to us and we will send
it to you by return of post. Alternatively you can mail
it back to us. Order
Tel: +(44) 171 820 8511
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Visit our website; www.freelancecentre.com
© Roy Sheppard 1999