Working as a solo business owner can be very challenging. You will have to deal with some complex technical issues while managing clients and keeping up-to-date with rapidly advancing technologies.
Freelancers also have to spend a lot of time sending invoices, promoting services and ensuring other aspects of the business is running smoothly. It can be overwhelming at times! With so many important responsibilities, it is easy for a freelance service provider to miss an opportunity or neglect an important aspect of their business.
To help you improve your business, here are the 3 most common ways that freelance service providers limit themselves. By being aware of these common mistakes, you can ensure the long-term success of your business.
Mistake #1 —Targeting the wrong type of client
One of the key challenges faced by freelancers is trying to perform many different types of tasks on a daily basis. You might be asked to do everything from designing a brochure for a large company, through to creating a blog for a local bakery.
Being a “jack of all trades” means that you can take on most kinds of jobs. However, there are certain downsides to this approach. You will find yourself competing again many other freelancers who offer general services and it will be harder to stand out from the crowd.
If you market yourself as a “freelance web designer” you will also attract clients who aren’t a good match for your freelancing services. They may have very low budgets or be looking for freelancers with a different skill set.
To avoid this issue, you should actively look for clients who are appropriate for your skillset, price point, and goals. If you have experience with certain types of projects, look for clients who need freelancers with that type of experience. Try to find clients who have the right budget and goals to make the most of your services. Here are a few easy ways to target the perfect client:
- Create narrowly focussed advertising campaigns
If you use advertising to attract clients, make sure it is narrowly focussed. Instead of advertising your services as “Freelance web design” specify the types of platforms you work with or the types of projects you work on. If you have experience creating logos for schools, target your advertisements to reach those clients specifically.
- Create landing pages that focus on targeted services
Add pages to your website that focus on very specific services that are offered to specific clients. If you want to attract schools looking for content management systems, create a page that discusses your CMS services and how you can help schools. Write blog posts and case studies discussing how your services help certain types of clients reach their goals. These pages will rank in search engines and make your business more attractive to your ideal client.
- Contact prospects directly
Consider reaching out to businesses and individuals who are the ideal client. Explain what you have to offer and how you can help them save money or become more successful.
Mistake #2 — Thinking like an employee instead of a trusted advisor and expert
Another common mistake made by freelancers is “thinking like an employee”:
- They wait for the client to tell them what to do and how they should achieve project goals.
- They spend time trying to answer the client’s questions instead of asking the client important questions.
- They constantly wait for approval from the client. They have no control over how work is delivered and approved.
Having this mindset will cause your client to treat you like an employee. They will drive the entire project, demanding you perform tasks in a certain way — even if it is the wrong way.
Freelancers should take on the role of trusted advisor and expert. After all, you know more about the client when it comes to your craft. You should provide advice to them throughout the process and instruct them on the most efficient way to complete the project.
When it comes to deliverables, you should work in conjunction with the client to create a timeline. You should create a schedule for deliverables that works for you and make sure the client understands their role in approving or rejecting each deliverable.
Mistake #3 — Not delegating or outsourcing
Freelancers often suffer from a “me vs the world” mentality. They believe that all of the work that comes into their business must be performed by them and only them.
Unfortunately, this can be a problem when multiple clients request work simultaneously. If a freelancer doesn’t complete the projects in a timely fashion, it can result in a loss of income and damage to their reputation.
This mistake can be addressed by delegating or outsourcing work to other freelancers or employees. Outsourcing is particularly effective because there are many high-quality freelancers available online at an affordable cost. Your freelance business can take on more clients and complete more projects — improving its reputation and ensuring long-term success.