Freelancing is hard work. Clients that take up ample amounts of your time for minor edits and changes. Invoices that days or weeks to get paid (or ignored altogether). The struggle to create a flow of new and recurring business asking for your services.
It’s not easy… But you can save time and headaches by learning from those who’ve already gone through the storm multiple times.
Below are what we suggest to freelancers looking to get the best use of their time.
The value you deliver must exceed the cost you charge
To make the relationship, or any business relationship, sustainable this must be true.
The higher the value, the more someone will feel like using your services over and over again. It’s easier to retain a customer than acquire a new one.
If too many are saying yes to your proposals, it means your prices are too low
Consider raising your prices by 20%.
40 hours at a $25 per-hour rate (we’ll get through hourly rates below) is the same thing as 50 hours at a $20 per-hour rate.
Of course, it also saves you 10 hours.
Don’t sell your services by the hour
The more efficient you get at doing a job, the less time it will take.
A flat project rate is better, as the faster you get, the more money you make in the same amount of time, which enables some level of scale.
If someone wants a lower price
Then you can ask to reduce the scope of what you’re doing or remove something from the project to meet that price.
Don’t do the same work for a lower price.
Do net 7-15 days on invoices
Send an invoice on the day you begin a project. Don’t delay doing it.
The longer you take to invoice a project, the longer it takes to get paid.
Don’t allow a client to get 2 invoices past due with you
Enabling overdue invoices can lead to many issues, such as:
- You’ll never get the money
- They’ll be late on every invoice, or
- They hold it over you and treat you poorly.
Invoicing is about finding the balance between protecting your own interests and being honest with your clients, and delivering the best work possible.
Make sure to be assertive and get paid (on time) for the value you’re providing.
Don’t rely on one client
It can be dangerous to have your income dependent on just one (or a small number) of clients. Diversify your freelance relationships as much as possible to ensure that if one is cut down or dries up you have other sources of revenue to rely on.
Keep a portfolio of past work
You never know when something you did in the past is the perfect example for a client to look at as a model for their own project.
Get a backup computer and always save and backup your work
Tech and IT issues happen, and seemingly at the worst times. Always have a backup computer so you can pick up projects without missing a beat and without missing deadlines.
Save your work to the cloud to crashing never causes you to lose work (which can be done within popular applications like Microsoft Word and Excel through OneDrive).
Keep track of your recurring payments and app/service subscriptions
Ensure that any services you use are helping make you more productive.
These apps and subscriptions can stack up. If you can save $100 somewhere, that’s the same as making $100, and arguably easier.