7 effective steps to scale your freelance business
Are you ready to make more money with your freelancing business?
Go through this 5 step-by-step guide to expanding your business and start building your business today today.
Adopt the mindset of a successful freelancer
A lot of your business depends on your mindset and how highly you think of yourself as a professional. You will get more leads if you:
- Drop a jack of all trades mindset
There is a clear trend among Unicorn Factory freelancers - the more the person is spread out among industries and services, the less likely they are to get hired. Jacks of all trades tend to do poorly on the platform, and there is a direct explanation for this.
Imagine you are a client looking to hire No-code developers. There are two freelancers who you are considering. One of them positions themselves as the person who can do everything for any kind of business, from no-code website building to photography to Facebook ads. The other one says that they have experience working with businesses in your industry and that they specialize in building no-code websites that you are looking for. Who are you choosing?
You are more likely to hire a person who is an expert since you want to invest your money with less risk. And while there is nothing wrong with being a jack of all trades, it makes you seem average in everything you offer. And average professionals get hired less. You should use it to find what areas of business you enjoy working on the most and stick with it to increase your expertise.
- On your profile, highlight complementary skills
To reiterate, if you seem like an expert in what you do, you will get more leads. That same principle applies to the skills that you offer. Rather than having thirty skills on your profile, choose five that all tie in and paint a consistent picture of your work.
This is something that I see a lot for developers: listing every programming language on their profile, rather than choosing five what make sense together and paint a bigger picture of what you can do for the client within your offer.
This being said, you don’t have to shy away from other areas of your interest. For example, if you write copy for businesses and learn some web development to be able to update the copy yourself, this is taking your offer to the next level. If you just add every skill that you have to your profile, this is diluting your expertise in the client's eyes.
- Be an expert of an industry
Last but not least, choose what industry you are most interested in working for. That does not have to be one, focusing on three at a time will work great for you. Ever better, if they all make sense together and are somehow related to each other.
Having relevant experience will help you stand out from the competition, as well as help you put out better quality work for your clients.
Know your audience
Are your current clients the ideal clients you picture when you imagine who you want to work with?
At the beginning of your freelance journey, you might have picked up any work and any projects to build up expertise and pay bills. That is recommended for freelance newbies and most freelancers go through this stage.
However, now that you’ve built momentum it is time for you to think about whether your clients are the right fit for you. Draw the image of your ideal clients. Are they small businesses or solopreneurs? What drives them and what is their business about? Most importantly, what are their pain points?
Once you have the image or images of your ideal clients you will know exactly who they are, where they are and how you can help them conduct business better.
Identify what is holding you back and what you want to achieve
What are the limitations that are holding you back right now? For many freelancers, there are just not enough hours in the week to fit in all the amazing projects they want to work on. On top of that, there are services that you don’t offer your clients because you are not interested or aren’t familiar with that side of the business.
Once you know what is holding you back, understand how to conquer these challenges. These are common constraints freelancers face:
- Time. Many freelancers have to say no to projects simply due to the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day, and we can’t pick up every project in the world. You need to learn how to delegate processes and hiring additional help will serve you well.
- Skillset. If you simply lack skill, you will either need to develop the skills or find collaborators to work with.
- Lack of expertise. If you don’t have an area of expertise, you are holding your potential back. Consider picking up more work in one area of business that particularly excites you.
Don’t forget to set professional goals. Growing a business looks different to everyone. Whether you want more free time on your hands or an increase in profits by 20 percent, write it all down. Include the level of responsibility and the level of commitment that you are willing to take. Setting goals is crucial to the success of your business.
Expand your offer to bring more value to clients
Have you heard of The Value Ladder? The better value you provide, the more you can price your product or service. Determine what you can add to your offer to make it go up the value ladder, or, differentiate between three pricing options:
- The least expensive option. You would do the service and provide value, but not include the extra benefits. You can also save your time by spending less time revising work with this option. You solve the problem for your client, but this may require much more work on their end.
- The in-between. This one can be a sweet spot for many clients, with the golden ratio of price to value, and some of your time. The issue of the business will be addressed.
- The most expensive option. The most value should be provided here. This option can involve more of your time and allow for more revisions from your side. You may carry your client from start to finish with this option and save all of their time.
There are many ways that you can expand your offer, and one of them involves learning to collaborate with other freelancers. Choosing your collaborators smartly and strategically will bring more high-ticket clients to your business.
Price your work according to your skill set and offer
This step might be heard for some due to imposter syndrome. But to grow professionally, you will have to increase your rates. Even increasing your rates alone will help you get more profitable as a business.
You just need to know what you price your clients for. You can increase your rates when you start offering more services. When you solve important problems for your clients that really impact their business.
When you know that you want to increase your rates, let your clients know in advance. That way they will have enough time to decide whether they want to stay with you or find someone in their budget range.
Not all clients will want to keep working with you after your rates change. And that is okay. If you are truly ready to expand your business, you should let go of the clients that will not serve you in that.
Perfect the art of selling
It is extremely important to level-up on the art of selling, whether that be for personal business or for a big corporation. While there are different techniques out there, we recommend following these three steps in this order:
- Ask open-ended questions
People like to talk about themselves and their business, and you should give them the opportunity to do so. Ask open-ended questions that are related to you and your services. Something like “Tell me more about your business” will go a long way to get the conversation going. Next up, ask about the pain points. “What is an issue you are dealing with right now?” or “How do you expect me to help you at this stage of your business?”.
You should actively listen and let your client talk. You are collecting information to work with. At this point, you need to be able to understand who your client is, what their business is, what they want from you and what their objections are when it comes to your future work together.
- Address the clients’ objections.
Now, a lot of people tend to get pushy at this stage. You should remember one thing: if the client wants you and your service, they will eventually get on board. If they don’t want you, they won’t be interested. And you should not get desperate and try to talk them into anything. The mindset of desperation is not something that will work well with your business.
Rather, focus on providing value to the client. Inform them, in what ways you will be able to help them and what results they can expect from this in the future. Outline what you do and what sets you apart from other freelancers, including relevant experience. You can outline what their other options are for solving their problem, and explain how going with is beneficial to them. Clients really appreciate honesty and free information that you will provide and this will be a great first foundation of your relationship.
- Inform them of your pricing rates and close the deal
The last step is the closing step. Here’s a pro tip: tell them the price and stay silent. Many people tend to get nervous and start explaining their rates. But giving your client a moment to process the information and make a call gives off a more confident attitude from you. It will also make your rates look better if you seem confident. Since you have explained how you can solve problems and bring value to the business, it’s time to tell them your rates. Explain your pricing packages and talk your clients through what they get with each of them - from saving their time to maximizing their profits. They should see that the return on their investment in you is greater than the price they would pay.
You should aim to make your clients make the decision on the call with you or pretty soon after. Hence sending a follow-up email is a pretty good idea. Because the longer the client waits, the longer he has to doubt his decision and not close the deal.
Make customer onboarding process as smooth as possible
There are many benefits to having a refined process of communicating with your clients. It will add consistency and order to your days. And help you to determine if the client is the right fit.
This process can look different for everyone. Here is a simple step-by-step guide to it:
- The first conversation, this typically happens over email. You can ask a couple of questions that would determine if you should even schedule a call with them. Asking simple questions like “Tell me about your business” and “What services are you looking for” go a long way.
- Setting up a call. Tools like Calendly help you get your scheduling process under control.
- The sales call. You can discuss further matters over a call and get a better understanding of who this client is.
- Sending the contract. Some freelancers shy away from having written binding contracts with their clients. We highly recommend having one for your own benefit. You never know if your client turns a complete 180 on you and you might want to have proof of them owing you money, and it gives you a level of legal protection.
- Scheduling check-up calls. Believe it or not, you will save a lot of your time if you schedule these in advance. Setting expectations is also very important at this stage because you want your clients to be satisfied while also valuing your own time.
Scaling your business can be scary, but also exciting. Follow these steps to grow your freelancing business and leverage your income:
- Adopt a mindset of a successful freelancer
- Know your audience.
- Identify what is holding you back and what you want to achieve
- Expand your offer to bring more value to clients
- Perfect the art of selling
- Make customer onboarding process as smooth as possible