Do you believe there is a formula for success that some freelancers use when getting clients? Why do some professionals stand out more than others?
Working for yourself and investing in a freelancing career is a good choice!
This is a very rewarding profession that will open you many doors and offer you great opportunities for growth and financial independence, as well as geographical options and freedom. But, you see, all of your career’s success will be solely and exclusively your responsibility!
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We constantly bring you the numbers of self-employment growth around the world. But the one great fear of the professionals who enter this job market still is the unpredictability of a monthly income.
One way to stabilize revenue streams and reduce the effort required to gain new business is to build lasting relationships with customers.
Today, I want to tell you how this is possible and I’ll reveal to you 5 secrets of successful professionals!
The beginning of all relationships between Clients and Freelancers
The whole relationship between us, freelancers, and our clients is based on sending proposals, right? And a proposal for a project is exactly like an email you would write to companies to apply for a job.
The difference is that a well-prepared project proposal will include more detail, visual appeal and will increase your chances of getting said job.
When I started, I didn’t have much knowledge on how to create a proper project proposal. I was used to presenting my resume and showcasing all my skills, courses, languages, etc.
So what I did was that I started to understand that there is a conversion funnel, and to customize my messages for each client about my knowledge, my experiences and how I could have the solution for that particular task. This strategy worked for me and is a great strategy that will help you win over your customers.
And what are the secrets of freelancers to get more projects?
If I asked the entire freelancer community which clients they would rather have, I think 99% would say, “the paying ones” (or something like that). Am I right?
But having a customer who’s a good payer shouldn’t be a doubt, after all, with the emergence of Human Clouds, such as Workana, payment is guaranteed.
One of the great advantages of using a freelance work platform is the guarantee of receiving your payment. With that, we freelancers don’t have to worry about this issue, nor do we have to stress about it. The only thing we should worry about, then, would be:o
- writing winning proposals, the ones that customers can never say no t.
- and providing a high-quality service that will delight the client by going above and beyond the expectations of what he imagined.
If you, as a freelancer, don’t focus your full attention to these two points you may be risking having a stagnant career and spending a good part of your time wondering why you can’t get new clients on websites or freelance work platforms.
And you see, providing an excellent service will mean nothing if you don’t win clients with your proposals.
With this in mind, I would like to share the 5 secrets for freelancer success:
Secret #1 – Understand that there is a proposal conversion funnel
If you aren’t a Marketing or Sales freelancer you might be wondering… what is a conversion funnel? To understand a sales process, it’s very common within strategic planning to use a funnel to identify potential customers coming to your business and the percentage of this total that will actually buy your product or service.
With freelancers proposals, it’s pretty much the same. Meaning that the more good proposals you send, the greater your chances of winning projects – after all, they don’t simply appear from thin air.
We can call this process a Freelance Proposal Journey, and now you need to understand the entire journey that your client makes until the moment of his first contact with you.
The first stage of this funnel – Identifying Keywords
Imagine that a client begins the search for a particular professional to solve a certain problem. What keywords did he use when registering his proposal? What terms could he have created to find the ideal freelancer?
As such, your first task in the construction of your Proposal Journey will be to better understand your target audience and understand what kind of query he is carrying out within Workana, for example.
Remember that this client may be just arriving on the platform and he will not always be very well acquainted with the technical terms for each specialty. If he’s looking for a Social Network Manager, will search for Community Management? Or is it more likely that he searches for something, like, Instagram posts? So, mapping out these keywords become super important.
Second funnel stage – Search for Available Projects
Now that you already have a list of keywords that are associated with your business, it’s time to search these same ones inside the platform (and the same works for Linkedin, for example).
Take time out of your day to do the searches. Just doing it only once a week is too little! Remember that new opportunities appear daily!
At Workana you can apply numerous filters in your search for projects, including to search in a specific country.
Third funnel stage – Send Personalized Proposals
The time has come to review each proposal and make sure that you have the skills required for each one of them. It’s also at this point that you will evaluate the customer, among other things (I’ll talk about this later in this article).
Once you’re sure that the project is the right one for you, send personalized proposals and pay close attention to each and every one of them!
Fourth funnel stage – Closing the Deal
If the client can see himself in the idea and likes the proposal, it’s time to close the deal!
Regardless of being a client who chatted with you through Workana or a client you have prospected by yourself, be sure to use a standard form listing all the activities that will be performed, the amounts charged and how the deliveries will be made! This is a way for you to ensure yourself as a professional.
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Now that you already have a proposal conversion funnel, the idea is that it will continue to work for you. If you’ve learned a new skill, be sure to include more keywords in your search.
Secret #2 – Knowing how to write a winning proposal
Creating a detailed explanation of how you plan to run the project will show your dedication and enthusiasm for it, and impress the clients with your professionalism.
This is the main goal! In short, a good project proposal must include these elements:
- Personal greeting
- An introduction to your skills and knowledge
- Your approach to the project
- How you will deliver the project
- Examples of work already done
- A quote for the project along with a deadline
Remember: Clients want to have their needs met and also want someone who speaks their language, offering them clear solutions.
The successful freelancer knows the solutions that clients are looking for. Tell your clients, in easy-to-understand terms, why what you offer will benefit them. If you’re a copywriter, you don’t gain customers by telling them that you make content rich in organic SEO. A great copywriter wins customers by saying that the article that will be produced will make the readers sign their email list, for example.
Know what a client wants and make your proposal thinking about them. Use the language your clients use.
Look for ways to add value. How you can use your contacts, skills, or resources to bring benefits that other freelancers can’t?
Secret #3 – Read each proposal carefully
One bad habit we all have is to carry out a “dynamic reading” on a proposal or look at the title for a keyword that stands out more and then assume that we already read the entire description. The keyword is there to capture proposals, so don’t use it as a trick that we often use to save time.
Understanding the demands of a gig is not only important for writing a meaningful proposal, but also for accomplishing the best work possible. Forget other competitive freelancers for a second and take the time to really read the description in order to find out what kind of freelancer the client is looking for.
One tactic I really like to use is to send in questions before you even submit your budget. This is a great chance for you to be certain of all the requirements your customer asked for, and no longer have that feeling that “I charged too low” or “I didn’t know this was also part of the job”.
A client recently said to me, “You were the only professional who asked me for details before sending me a quote.” That means we have ways of understanding what the customer wants exactly! But you need to take the time to find out!
Copying and pasting bids will get you nowhere!
I understand that there’s a lot of competition and you want to be the first to submit a proposal for a gig. But have you ever wondered if the customers are also in a hurry to pick a freelancer for their gig right away? Would he not prefer a quality proposal? So what’s the rush?
Secret #4 – Get to know each client well
Find out who this client is before submitting a proposal. Here at Workana, this is an easy task. By clicking on the name of the applicant for the proposal, you can see how long he or she has been on the platform, how many gigs they have completed, how other freelancers have evaluated him, and what other types of work he has requested.
Usually, the person’s name is clearly described. Take this opportunity to submit a proposal by addressing it in a personalized way, instead of addressing the customer as “Mister” or “Madam”, click on the client profile link and try to see if your name is amongst your colleagues’ evaluations.
When you are outside the platform, you can also check some information: look up the company or person profile on Linkedin, websites, and blogs, and follow the same idea.
Also, once you’ve won the first project, take the opportunity to discover more about their values, interests, aspirations, and goals – and find ways to help them achieve it. Truly understanding your clients and their needs is something that happens over time.
Follow the customer as he grows and evolves. Ask them questions. Learn why ideas are rejected. This level of care and interest will help you present valuable ideas, offer opinions that are well received, and make you a trusted partner and a regular team member. Make yourself as indispensable as possible to ensure your relationship.
Secret #5 – Taking Care of Your Personal Marketing
Last but not least: Learn how to promote. You are not a writer if you aren’t writing. You are not a photographer if you’re just buying high-end equipment. More than just doing your job, you can start a blog, podcast or YouTube channel to create your own Personal Marketing.
Many freelance copywriters, for example, focus their efforts on the contents that are created for their clients. But how about you start talking about your own area? About your job? How about writing something telling a little bit about the kind of work you do on Linkedin? Or even create a profile on Instagram or Pinterest, showcasing your logo as a graphic designer?
Try to answer which are the solutions that customers can benefit from in their business, based on your experience!
Tell some success stories or case studies of the work you’ve done!
In another article I wrote for Workana’s blog here, I named a few social networks for professionals. Depending on your experience, there’s probably a platform for you. Just to name a few:
- For Developers – GitHub
- For Designers – Dribbble and Behance
- For Photographers – Flickr and Photo Critique
- For Videomakers – Vimeo
As on LinkedIn, keep an up-to-date profile with relevant work samples.
If you are a freelancer here at Workana, don’t forget to upload a professional and up-to-date photo on your profile, and, of course, also keep your portfolio and specialization courses up to date, too.
Lastly, don’t forget that writing correctly gives you a good advantage! Grammatical errors can compromise your credibility. It doesn’t matter if you have a Ph.D. in Computer Science, the client won’t trust you or even believe what you’re saying if your grammatical abilities are bad.
How about you? Do you have some secret that was essential to your success?
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