Let's face it, it can be hard to find those long-term paying clients.
I should know, it took me 6 months to find mine, and to this day, it can still be tough to find more long-term paying clients.
Breaking into the freelance business shouldn't have to be tough. There are ways to make freelancing fun, and even enjoyable all the meanwhile trying to make that FIRST paycheck!
Here are some things that I learned (I'm still learning), and have gotten me through some tough times.
1. There WILL be slow times.
First things first. I think it's safe to say that freelancers will go through tough times. There will be moments of doubt, pain, sleep deprivation and even failure. Freelancing is funny that way. While the thought of FINALLY being your own boss is exhilarating and contagious, it can also have its "seasons".
By seasons, I mean days, weeks or MONTHS of little to no business. I've had those. They are not fun. Too many people go into freelancing for the money. Not for the passion. It's something that I often wish people would reflect on when the hard times hit. Think about it, if you are not willing to stick it out through the slow months, even though you LOVE writing, freelancing may not be for you.
Few of the writers I've had the pleasure of meeting and talking to have often told me that if writing/blogging wasn't their passion, they would have given up a LONG time ago. I can't tell you just how honest that is.
And, it's true.
If writing/ blogging wasn't my passion, I would have gone into another career a long time ago, also. But it is. There is not a morning that I don't wake up looking to get my hands on my computer and start typing right away. This is also why I'm thankful for my freelance schedule (which I'll get to in a moment)/
So, think about that.
2. Not every client will pay you, your worth.. At first.
When I first started networking and marketing my "freelance business" and I say that loosely because now that I look back at it, it was basically this very blog with ONE page, and my contact information; I had to work hard, and I do mean HARD to get people to trust me with their work.
My very first job was less than $100, for over 20 articles *cringe!*
yup, I did not think I could charge more. Saddest part, I did not think I could raise my prices.
When I finally decided to raise my prices, I felt good. I was determined, I was ready and I took the plunge...
HAHA.. Can you guess what happened next?
If you guessed that I LOST a few clients, you would be correct! I lost 3 out of 5! YUP! That HURT!
People were so accustomed to paying me what THEY thought the work was worth, that they weren't think about what I was worth. So, I knew I had to change that, and quick!
I raised my prices, hit the payment HARD and found new clients, and right away, set my prices and STUCK to my decision. Out of 3 new clients that I had connected with ONE of them stayed long-term. At MY price!
It felt good.
There will always be clients who wont agree with your prices/ terms. However, when you know what you want to charge, and you work on your business seriously, the right clients WILL find you.
3. Set a Flexible Schedule that will Fit your Routine
As I explained earlier in the post about my freelance schedule, you should have one!
Setting a freelance schedule will basically help you tackle upfront a lot of headaches and pain.
It can be a bit hard starting a freelance business at first. I had trouble adjusting because I knew I no longer had a 9-5 schedule, but that also meant I had to worry about ALL of the other hours in the day..
Its true. If you are working with locals (people in your own town/ city/ state), it will be A LOT easier for you to stick to a schedule. But let me tell you, that schedule becomes a LOT harder to maintain when you start working with people outside of your state. People that have a different time zone.
My schedule basically revolves around two main things; my son, and school.
I'm pretty lucky that my son and I have the same school schedule the majority of the week.
When I set my freelance schedule, I made SURE to put that I work on Pacific time. This means, my clients can expect my work to be delivered in MY time zone.
Setting a specific time to work on your business can save you a lot of time and frustration in the near future.
While working around the clock seems like a great idea, or marketing your business because "the more you get out there, the more clients you can grab" is in fact a possibility, remember you are self-employed. You have to take care of yourself.
When I started working I worked 12-16 hour days, trying to do everything in a single day. I knew I HAD to make this work. I didn't have any other source of income other than two short-term clients, and I have a family to think about.
I knew I had to make money. But I didn't know I could break up all of the small tasks I had to do and work during the week. That though actually never crossed my mind.
In the beginning it may seem like time is going REALLY slow. You may need to really market your services in social networks, websites and in-person meetings. But remember, you don't necessarily have to do everything in one day. Don't be afraid to spread your work over a week, and give yourself a break.
While we get paid as much as we work, It will also do us no good, if we get sick and cant work.
I honestly didn't expect this post to be so long.. Because well, I didn't think that I would have so much to say... So, I'll leave this post like this, and post a Part-2 later.