One marketing consultant shares what he’s learned about getting business in his first three years of freelancing.
There is a huge difference between other people making money as a freelancer and me making money as a freelancer. When I first started, I never realized how lucrative freelancing could be. I was a student of marketing and had heard the poignant successes that others had, but me making money online was a completely different story. I have learned more about myself and business in the past three years than I ever learned in school.
Never compete on price.
In the beginning, I didn’t have the confidence to ask for the high dollars. Asking for $800 a month was unthinkable. I saw the seasoned professionals working for around minimum wage, just to get the jobs. I never thought that I could make money on Elance or Odesk, but I overcame my fears and gave it a shot.
When I began, it was all about making money. I didn’t want to work for anyone else. One day, I would find myself writing articles, the next I would be doing telemarketing. There were no typical days. It was a hectic life, one that I knew that I could improve. I learned two things early on: over deliver and never quit learning.
How does a strong work ethic translate to making more money? I was building a stunning resume that nobody could ignore. There are rating systems on these freelance bidding sites. People can find their contractors on ratings alone! I would ask my clients for a stellar review. If they couldn’t give me a top notch rating, I would give them a full refund.
Word got out that I was willing to turn down money based on my integrity. The resume improved, the number of jobs grew, as did the number of interview requests I received. In the beginning, I had to apply for ten jobs to get one, but because of my standards, the tides were turning. There came a point where I
couldn’t take on any more clients. Rather than turn down those clients, I had an epiphany.
Don’t turn clients away because of workload. Raise your prices.
I hated turning business away, and so I tested out a theory. If I raised my prices, people would be more hesitant to ask for my services. Thankfully, it turned out that I was wrong. Raising my rates kept the clients looking for the cheap deals away, but it brought in the higher quality clients. Once you have a proven track record, you can charge higher prices and people will accept you as the expert. As the expert, people listen to what you have to say.
The best advice I can give someone who is worried about competing on price, don’t. Someone can always be cheaper than you. Make yourself more valuable.
About the Author: Matt MacLeod is an online marketing consultant working for such clients as NSW Compensation Lawyers.
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