My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is definitely the best book on freelancing I’ve read so far! Many freelancers assume that they must choose between a high income and the freedom of freelancing, so they settle for an income that barely pays the bills. This book shows you how to have the freelance lifestyle you want and still achieve financial success. Topics include marketing, prospecting, client relations, pricing, productivity, work-life balance, and income streams.
The 3 authors dispense page after page of practical advice for web designers, graphic designers, copywriters, and other freelancers. I liked the many efficiency and productivity tips, and especially liked the chapters on pricing, focus, work-life balance, and the appendix on opportunities and obstacles.
The authors use “wealthy” to mean more than financial success; they say, “A wealthy freelancer is someone who consistently gets the projects, clients, income, and lifestyle he or she wants” and “Wealthy freelancers don’t just make a living. They design a fulfilling and meaningful life.”
I read this book because it was recommended by FreelanceSwitch.
Secret 3: Create Your Amazing Buzz Piece
Create a buzz piece like a special report, how-to guide, tips, interview, Q&A.
- Send to contacts, including current clients and past prospects who didn’t buy.
- Put it on your website.
- Include it in pitch letters, quotes, proposals.
- Include a bio page with an intro, services, and call to action.
Secret 4: Employ High-Impact Prospecting Tactics
Find organizations whose members truly understand the value of your services and could potentially hire you. Become an active member in 1-3 organizations. Volunteer, and join committees and boards.
Secret 5: Cultivate Repeat and Referral Business
- The more successful you appear, the less likely that clients will give referrals, since they assume you don’t need them. Be sure they know you want referrals.
- Ask each client for referrals when you deliver the project and they’re happy.
- Only 5-15% of prospects are ready to buy. About half of the remainder will buy in 18-24 months.
- Share relevant items of interest in a non-promotional way.
Secret 7: Price Your Services For Success
Hourly rate vs. fixed project price
Use project pricing for the following reasons:
- Clients prefer it because it eliminates price uncertainty. Hourly rates worry them.
- You have to provide a project price anyway, because you have to estimate your hours for the project.
- It lifts your income ceiling, because as you get better and faster, income increases. You’re rewarded for getting good. Hourly rates do the opposite.
- Your income isn’t limited by the hours you work, as with hourly rates.
- You don’t need to provide clients with timesheets.
- It takes rate comparisons out of the question, so the client considers whether the project is worth the price, rather than if you are worth your rate.
If the project is undefined, hourly may be the better choice.
Create a fee schedule with price ranges.
- Instills confidence in the client.
- Simplifies quoting.
- Deters low-paying clients.
Provide a ballpark price during initial calls to deal with price objections right away. Later, provide quote/proposal based on details.
Ask clients what they want to accomplish. They pay for results, not work.
Response to price objections: “I can appreciate your concern. Although that fee range is typical of what professionals charge for this type of project, I’m sure we can work something out. How much were you expecting to budget for this work?”
Don’t simply lower your price; negotiate an exchange of value:
- Offer to get the job done faster.
- Throw in an extra.
- Offer a discount for paying the full fee in advance.
- Ask for more time for the project.
- Offer a volume discount for additional work.
After sending a quote, follow up the same or next day. Act like you got the job, and ask about getting started. Don’t mention price.
Secret 8: Bring Focus to Your Freelance Business
- Discover what you have to offer by considering your education, work history, hobbies, interests, passions.
- Focus on a niche market, such as industry, project type, client type, etc.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- What do you do? Type of freelance work.
- For whom? Identify the market.
- What makes you different? What you have to offer.
Secret 10: Construct Your Own Work-Life Reality
- Outsource chores. Pay someone else to do the things you hate, and spend time making money or doing something you enjoy.
- Train clients to respect your time by not communicating outside business hours.
Secret 11: Create Alternative Streams of Income
- Convert freebies into attractive service packages and charge a professional fee.
- Focus on what you do best and enjoy. Outsource the rest of the project.
- Sell information products like ebooks and podcasts.
- Join affiliate programs for products and services you frequently recommend.
- Sell seminars and teaching gigs.
Secret 12: Live and Work in the Wealthy Triangle
Most freelancers don’t need professional liability (errors and omissions) insurance, but consult an attorney.
Opportunities and Obstacles
Don’t consider contingency fee (percentage of profits) arrangements unless the client has a good reputation and track record. If you do, base fees on something trackable like clicks or sales, not profits. Demand a 50% deposit. Have a detailed contract.
Spell out the number and timeframe of allowed revisions in quote/proposal/agreement. Tell clients you want final revisions, not multiple drafts.
Don’t be afraid to take on new project types. They could be great learning experiences, well-paying, and first steps toward becoming an expert. If the client is ready for you to start, do your research and go! If you need to sell the client, admit that you haven’t done that type of work specifically, but tell them about similar work you’ve done.
Never reduce fees for the promise of future work. It’s better to spend time finding better-paying clients than doing underpaid work.