Earning over £1000 a month by carrying out freelance jobs is attractive to both full-time freelancers and students who want to earn extra income whilst studying.
In fact, you can soon be earning this rate whilst working part-time hours if you apply the advice in this article to build your credentials.
In today’s unstable economy, more and more people are choosing to work freelance. In the UK alone, more than 4 million people work in a self-employed capacity and are likely to fall under the banner of ‘freelancing’. This equates to around 20% of all workers.
In conjunction with this, more and more employers are turning to freelance contractors for defined projects and pieces of work, rather than hiring permanent employees. This creates great opportunities for anyone looking to boost their monthly income.
Any freelancer will tell you though that freelancing is not easy, especially when you are first starting out and trying to make a name for yourself.
The trap that many budding freelancers fall into is thinking that it will easy to find work and win contracts.
Your track record of employment counts for very little when trying to win jobs. Clients hiring you are looking for a number of key things that will give them confidence that you are the right person for the role.
You need to know what these are and address them
Why is this important?
Well If you can improve your win ratio on jobs, then this is the first big step to earning monthly income that exceeds £1000. The more jobs you do, the more able you are to build your reputation and get referrals.
Here are some of the main client expectations that you will need to meet:
Passion for the role
Clients want someone working for them that is really keen to do a great job.
How do you demonstrate keenness and passion?
Try going out of your way to impress the client in your initial interactions. Do something for free, such as analysing their project and telling them exactly what you will deliver and what outcomes this will achieve.
Provide some free advice and inject some of your personality into the communications. Friendliness can be a powerful tool in your armoury.
Be specific in your bids – do not submit ‘template’ bids that are not tailored to the job in question. Clients will see through this straight away.
Always address their job requirements in your communications and ask questions to further define the requirements they are looking for. If they can see you are interested and thinking about how you will achieve the outcome, you will stand out from your competition.
Ability to deliver on time, to required standards
Clients are not interested in what other work you are committed to.
They just want to be sure that you will deliver for them, what they want in the timeframes they require.
It is important therefore that you are realistic about what you can offer and when you can achieve this by.
Don’t make promises you cannot keep.
Carefully analyse the work you have and assess how much spare capacity you have. Only take on additional work if you are 100% sure you can meet the deadlines and deliver high quality outputs at the same time.
Don’t forget to build in time for administration, ad hoc communications with clients and bidding for jobs – this all adds up and is a weekly commitment that needs to be accounted for.
Proven expertise and a strong portfolio
This can often be the hardest thing for new freelancers to demonstrate.
How do you show this when you are first starting out?
The first thing is to make sure that you have a strong CV or resume that provides evidence of what you have achieved in the past.
Not sure whether your CV or resume meets the mark? Start off by requesting free CV feedback from a professional to learn where you can improve.
In addition, try and put together a portfolio of work you have completed that would demonstrate your relevant capability.
So, if you are bidding for writing work, have 3 or 4 pieces of your best articles available. If you are bidding for design work, pull together examples of work that shows off your creativity and particular style.
Where possible, anonymise your work so that the previous clients are not revealed.
Now this is an interesting one, as there is no easy answer here. In general though it is likely that you are going to undersell yourself as this is what we tend to do in all aspects of life.
In saying this, when you are first starting out as a freelancer, you will probably have to accept lower fees that you would like. For this though, you get to demonstrate your capability, build strong client relationships, add to your portfolio of work and (hopefully) get great customer feedback that is visible to the public.
Once you have a few jobs under your belt though you can start to charge more. Remember, your services are worth what someone is prepared to pay for them. You may have to experiment with different fees or benchmark other similar contractors to get a feel for what is reasonable.
Building up your reviews and feedback from customers is absolutely crucial as we will see in the next section so try not to price yourself out of a job when you are in competition with others. This involves applying some kind of pricing strategy to maximise your job wins.
You will find there are three types of clients in the main:
1. Low budget: They want the cheapest contractor around. The fee is often more important than the proven quality of the contractor.
2. High budget: This client wants the best and is prepared to pay good fees to secure the best. They will probably not even consider ‘cheap’ contractors as they equate cheap to low quality.
3. Not sure: These clients fall somewhere in between. They know what work they need but they are not sure of the market rate. In other words, they are open to persuasion and will make their mind up by comparing candidates and seeing what everyone has to offer.
Demonstrating your worth through reviews and feedback
Most clients pay a lot of attention to reviews and feedback. Why wouldn’t they – it is one of the best ways of assessing a contractor’s reliability, customer service and quality of work.
On most freelancing sites out there (Elance, PeoplePerHour etc), public reviews are an integral part of the site. This means that you need to go out of your way to get excellent reviews from all the jobs you complete.
Remember, when you are in competition with other freelancers for work, your reviews need to be as good as, or even better, than others to give you a chance of winning the job with a ‘high fee’ or ‘not sure’ fee client.
Referrals from other clients
You may be surprised to know that referrals can make up a large percentage of your income each month.
Referrals are basically when one of your satisfied clients recommends you to someone they know, and this individual then makes contact with you to engage your services.
Referrals are priceless as this means that usually YOU ARE NOT IN COMPETITION with anyone else. Provided you can make a good impression and agree a fee that is acceptable to the potential client, then you are almost guaranteed the work!
The great thing about this is that the more satisfied clients you have, the greater chance you have of future referrals.
Now before you get too excited thinking about all the referrals that will come your way, remember – you will only get referrals if you deliver EXCELLENT work.
Acceptable or satisfactory work will get you paid, and may get you a good review, but it is only truly exceptional work that will lead you to be recommended to someone else.
To deliver truly exceptional work, you need to exceed customer expectations.
This means that you need to:
So there you have it – if you can apply all of the advice above to truly wow clients with your professionalism and level of service, then you online reputation will increase and you will become more hireable than ever. In a small matter of time, you can be earning over £1000 extra each month in the most flexible way that suits you.
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