5 Steps to Becoming a Better Freelancer

man dressed in shirt drawing letters on a sketchpad with camera positioned in front of him, filming
  • Automate your Admin tasks with tools like Clientjoy
  • Get your clients to find you more clients
  • Start with the end in mind
  • Convert your portfolio into an argument
  • Become a Generalist

So, you have a couple of clients. They are happy with your work and had a positive experience of working with you but on your end, you still do not have a steady stream of work. Or, maybe you have more work than you can handle and are completely tangled up in just offering updates over calls.

If this sound like you, you have come to the right place – read on…

Automate your Admin Tasks

It is normal to find yourself continuously doing admin and related tasks that neither helps you become better at your craft nor help you grow. Raising invoices, following up for payments, offering updates to clients, tracking your leads, updating your proposals; all of these things are necessary evils of the freelancing business.

But, they don’t have to be.

Platforms like Clientjoy can help you automate most of these things. With Clientjoy, you can:

  • Integrate the CRM to your lead gen engine
  • Visualize your sales pipeline
  • Templatize your proposals so you can send new ones in minutes
  • Automate recurring invoices
  • Get paid with integrated payment gateways
  • And offer a Client Portal where your clients can get onboarded, sign proposals, pay invoices, share files and get updates.

It is a comprehensive CRM designed specifically for creative professionals and freelancers. Over 6K+ freelancers and 1900+ Agencies in 30+ countries are already using it. Click here to see what they have to say.

You can sign up to check it out for free or use code: Twine20 to get a 20% discount lifetime on any of their plans.

Build a Referral Engine

No – the work will not come to you by itself. You will have to work for getting more work. And you will have to work hard.

However, there might be an existing channel that you could have missed out on: Existing Clients

You can potentially get over 70% of new work if you activate your existing client network to find your new work. There are a couple of things you can do.

  • At the time of delivery, ask them to rate their experience. If they rate higher than 8 on 10, ask them if they know someone who is looking for similar services. If nothing comes time mind immediately, ask them a week later and then a month later. Stay in front of them with small updates.
  • Any time during the project, if there is any positive reaction from the client, mention that you’d be happy to offer a 20% discount on the agreed-upon price if they could find another customer.
  • Any time during the project, have conversations with the client about the state of their industry. Try and understand how their peers/colleagues procure services like yours and start targetting them.

Start with your ‘end’ in mind

Why are you doing what you are doing? To make a dent in the universe? To change the world? What is your ‘reason’ that gives you constant motivation to deliver exceptional work?

Think about it and think hard. A good way to start with the end in mind is to have a clear goal with a clear timeline.

Something like 20 clients by end of 3 years or 1500 graphics in 12 months.

Make this end goal specific. The trick is NOT to keep it vague. If it is vague, like, ‘Change the world’, it offers a lot of escape routes that your brain will trick you into.

Once you have your end goal, work your way backwards. Identify what needs to be done 6 months from now and then 3 months from now and then next week and then tomorrow.

A Portfolio is not just a collection of your work

The biggest mistake I see most freelancers making is that they make their portfolio as sum total of their past work. It is NOT. It is so NOT!

Your portfolio has to essentially be a compelling argument. It has to be a compelling argument as to why should a potential client who is looking at your portfolio book a meeting with you or try to know more about you.

It needs to consist of facts, figures and results you have delivered previously along with some trust-building element like reviews, ratings etc. It needs to show a very clear before/after picture of your past clients.

And the biggest thing of all, it has to be relatable. Your portfolio has to speak their language. We have consistently seen freelancers who implement these things get a lot more business and enquiries than their peers who have similar rates and quality of work.

Become a Generalist

Frankly, being good at your craft is not enough. It is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one. You have to be better at positioning, branding, fulfilment, finances and everything else in between.

If you are still updating your clients with poorly written emails, upgrade yourself to platforms like Clientjoy who will offer them a client portal to sign proposals, pay invoices, share files and send updates.

If you have questions on how to get there, we have also made a list of resources that will help you upskill and connect with your peers quickly so you can become a generalist faster. Here’s the link.

Bonus Step: Have Outcome lead conversations

Since you read the full article, I couldn’t let you go without offering a bonus step. And that is to change all of your client conversations from effort lead conversations to outcome lead conversations.

Identify what your client really values in the work that you are doing and make that the central point of your offering.

If you are a content writer, don’t have conversations around per word pricing. Talk to your client about your content strategy and what larger goal will this accomplish for them.

If you are a graphic designer, don’t have conversations around graphic pricing. Talk to them about the increase in conversions they will see with better graphics in place.

This will put you in a new light in front of your clients. Remember that the world does not reward you for your efforts but it rewards you for outcomes and results.

In summary

Hope this article was helpful for you. If you believe it will be helpful to your peers, do consider sharing it on your channels and relevant groups.

Yash Shah

Yash is Co-founder & Chief Executive at Clientjoy. A couple of years ago, he was running an IT Agency with 2 of his friends and 48 team members when he realized that Client Agency relationships are broken and so they built a platform to fix that.

Clientjoy is the most Comprehensive CRM built for Creative Professionals. Currently, Clientjoy is used by 1900+ Agency Owners and 6000+ Freelancers in 30+ countries to manage their Leads, Proposals, Clients, Invoicing and Payments.