How to get high-value clients for your freelance business
As more and more of us are leaving employed jobs to go freelance, we are finding that regaining control of our working time and priorities is resulting in higher job satisfaction and better organisation in other aspects of our lives.
However, the ultimate goal of making enough money to live on from freelancing is not always the most straightforward one to achieve without some guidance along the way.
Luckily, the internet is making it easier than ever to reach out to people and to spread the word about their freelancing expertise. Many freelancers begin by accepting whatever work comes their way to build up a customer base and to secure some much-needed examples of previous examples and happy customer testimonials. This initial stage should be exactly that, though, just one stage with a finite ending that leads on to the next stage of securing higher-value clients willing to pay more for an experienced freelancer’s work and know-how.
So, how do you reach those top-paying clients, and how can you make your services stand out from the freelancing crowd? Here are five key areas to work on as told by Receipt Bank.
Know your customer
Once you have built up experience working with your first few clients, you will be in a great position to start thinking in more detail about who you really want to do business with, long term. Take some time to think about who your ideal client would be, as well as what they do and who their target audiences are. Then research where that type of person goes looking for freelance support. This is where you also need to be in terms of promoting your services.
Most importantly, make sure you are clear about what you can actually do for your ideal client. What problems you can solve for them. If you can encourage a client to think more about the results they will get from using your services, and less about the amount they are being asked to part with to secure them, they will be more willing to pay a premium price to ensure that their problem is solved in the best possible way.
Trust your instincts
Don’t be afraid to charge higher prices once you have established all of this, as there may well be only a limited number of people out there in freelancing land who can offer your exact range and calibre of services. If you truly believe in what you can offer and how you can help, put a price tag on your work that reflects your belief. You will be surprised how much people are willing to pay for skills such as yours; don’t undersell yourself. Pricing high is also a great way to weed out the time-wasters, who expect huge results in return for risible payments.
Similarly, if you feel that a client’s initial brief is missing something, or going in the wrong direction for their particular requirements, don’t be afraid to speak out, even at the early stage of initial communications and price negotiations. Higher-value clients will respect your ability to stand up for yourself and your commitment to helping them find the best possible route to receive the best return for their money.
Make it easy
In this time-poor world, it is vital that you make it as easy as possible for high-value freelance clients to find you. Pay careful attention to your own website to ensure that it is properly designed and written with correct SEO protocol. Don’t rely on a single social media platform to spread the message either. LinkedIn is a key site for business networking, but don’t forget the connections you can make from active, engaging Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube accounts.
When you create online content, make it very clear that you and your services are for hire. This may seem obvious, but higher-value clients tend to be busy people who rush through online content to see how it might benefit them. If they can’t find an obvious way to contact you or clear description of when you can help them and for how much, they will simply scroll past. Equally, don’t wait for busy people to come to you. Reach out proactively to them and bring them what they need, neatly packaged and ready to go.
High-value clients will expect a lot from their investment, not only from your service quality, but also the efficiency of all the surrounding operations. They don’t want to wait for ages while you deal with a problem on your end, or have to sort out administrative issues themselves. So, to attract and retain higher value clients, you will need to have your own affairs in order in terms of admin, finances, stock inventory, service timelines, quality control and more.
A key area to keep under tight control is accounting, as you will need to not only organise your own finances and cash flow but also act as a responsible steward for any funding your client has entrusted to you. So, invest in decent accounting software and make sure that you keep track of all expenses relating to your client’s project. For example, a receipt scanning tool can let you scan and store receipts and keep track of expenses incurred, as well as provide a trustworthy ‘paper trail’.
Finally, it’s no good working out who your clients are, trusting your pricing, making it easy for high-value customers to find you and setting up efficient operations if you don’t offer that final, crucial piece of the puzzle – brand credibility. It’s a buyers’ market, and clients with larger budgets will be able to pick and choose. They will respect and want to work with higher status companies and individuals who can already demonstrate success. So, upload plenty of customer testimonials and satisfied client reviews. Increase valuable third-party endorsements by providing guest blogs and written content for other, respected websites and online platforms.
Seek out speaker opportunities at industry events, such as trade shows, discussion panels and seminars. Start your own blog, offering tips and advice to help people get started. Don’t forget to add your contact details for those keen to learn more, or sign up to your services. Connect with other freelancers and professionals in your area; word of mouth is a powerful (and free) marketing tool and you may find opportunities to partner with a fellow freelancer for a larger-scale project that would be out of your reach otherwise.