You did it. You took the plunge. It wasn’t easy… but you did it. You shook off the shackles of the 9 to 5 and vowed to go into business for yourself. You believed in yourself and your abilities and decided that your employer was never going to reward your hard work in the way they promised you they would.
You realized that if you wanted to succeed, you’d have to create your opportunities. So you set out to make a living by doing what you loved and plan to land high-paying clients.
You started a brand new career as a freelancer from scratch. Yes, there were some scary times. More than once, you wondered if you were doing the right thing. Nonetheless, you secured a faithful handful of clients, and now, years later, they’re giving you enough work to pay the bills. And that’s great. But now you’re starting to wonder… where do I go from here? Freelancers don’t benefit from traditional career progression in the same way their salaried counterparts do. They need to take charge of their career development.
That means finding your learning opportunities and finding new ways to develop your abilities- consolidating and broadening your skillset. It also means landing higher-paying prestige clients. As grateful as you are for the clients you have at the moment, you know that the effort: reward ratio is tipping too far in the wrong direction.
Yet, while you’re reaching out to higher-paying clients, your communications are always either ignored or met with a polite “no thank you.”Here’s why you’re struggling to engage high-paying clients and improve your fortunes as a freelancer…
Land High-Paying Clients: Your Online Image Makes you Look Like an Amateur
How to land high-paying clients? You may expect the quality of your work to speak for itself. However, the unfortunate truth is that if your online presence sends all the wrong messages, higher-paying clients won’t even take the time to check out the quality of your work before issuing yet another polite “no thanks”.
No matter how good your work is, your online presence might be making you look like an amateur. For instance, if your contact details consist of a residential address, a Gmail address, and a mobile phone number, they may dismiss you as small-fry and not capable of meeting their needs. Without seeing a single sample of your work!
So make sure you invest in a worthy online presence that makes you look as professionally formidable as you are! Invest in a professionally designed website (it costs less than you might think) loaded with samples of your best work.
Ideally, your website will also contain a blog which can be a useful mouthpiece and a showcase for your skills and talents. Even if you don’t make a living as a copywriter, it’s useful for freelancers to have a blog. It can also give your SEO an organic boost! You should pay for a professional email address (enquiries@yourname, for instance).
It may even be worth checking out the virtual receptionists and answering services at www.virtualheadquarters.com.au/ to give your operation a greater sense of scope. These might represent some negligible overhead expenses. But the opportunity loss you’ll experience from looking like a minor player could far eclipse this modest expense.
They have no idea whom you’ve worked for previously (or how happy they are)
Referrals make the world go around for many freelancers. It’s easy to become so focused on the work that you forget about the client. Business rarely operates within a vacuum, and will often have contacts in other companies or agencies that may be able to send some good work your way.
However, you can improve your chances of engaging new clients by incentivizing your existing clients to leave testimonials from your website. New clients might just see a name that they recognize, and this can give them a greater sense of faith in their ability to meet their needs.
You’re talking about you, not them!
Of course, you have to sell yourself. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to be able to sell your ability to meet their needs. And before you can do this, you need to show that you understand their needs.
When engaging new prospects, don’t launch in with a long polemic about how awesome you are. Instead, talk about how you’ve identified potential pain points to which you can find solutions.
Explain how you’ve helped clients with similar needs and establish your value proposition. Clients may be much more receptive when they see how they can help you, rather than vice versa.
You’re not networking, so nobody knows your name
Finding the time for the network can be challenging. But in the COVID era, there are actually more network opportunities, most of which actually occur remotely. So you don’t have to worry about the costs and logistics of getting to a physical location.
If you’re not networking, key players won’t know your name or your face. Would you entrust an essential project to someone you don’t know?
You’re networking badly… and nobody has time to listen to your pitch
Speaking of networking, there’s a right and a wrong way to go about it. Don’t make the mistake of treating networking events as pitching opportunities. Most of the people you want to impress do not wish to encounter pitches at networking events.
Treat the occasion as a meet and greet, and pick up some contact details from people you get along with. Follow up later, and (if they express an interest in you) then you can think about pitching.
Land High-Paying Clients: You’re Trying to Undercut Competitors on Price… and that sends the wrong message!
Remember, clients, aren’t paying you out of their own pockets. They’re using their departmental budgets. And they’re prepared to invest in quality. If being cheap is your USP, you’ll always be on the back foot (and there’s still someone, somewhere who can do what you do for less). Furthermore, some clients will associate “cheap” with low quality and may view your low-low rates as a red flag rather than a selling point.