Working as a freelancer is just like any other business. You need to market your services to attract prospective clients.
I know many of you may be uncomfortable or too shy to sell even your own service. Unfortunately, you have no option. You have to get out of your comfort zone and start getting projects in. To get the “work”, you must first get the deal.
Well, let’s get to work.
Read Also: Roadmap to Freelancing – Part I
Utilizing Social Media
Thanks to the Internet, there are now many social media platforms for designers to start their networking efforts and receive attention. Sites like Dribbble, Forrst, Shadowness, UCreative and so on, or job board sites like oDesk and FreelanceSwitch are where you can find hundreds of freelance jobs.
Interestingly, in job board sites, you can select the projects they post there in accordance to your requirements, such as the budget, the location and your skills to streamline your choices. By utilizing the perks from these social networks you can connect to prospective clients and make new like-minded friends.
(Image Source: FreelanceSwitch)
The point I would like to say here is, to start getting the jobs you want, you first need to attract prospective clients. We do this by Networking, be it online or offline. Social media is only a tool to facilitate your effort, use it well to maximize its potential.
I won’t elaborate on how you can do this since we already have some articles on hongkiat.com about this. Kevin Harter has shared some useful tips on how to get more design projects. If networking is your kryptonite, Karol has awesomely explained it in detail in this networking series. While their advice are catered to specific areas, in general the art of networking shares the same principles.
Sending a Quote
All right, now that you have got some exposure after being active in the design community, finally you are getting some calls. You are so excited. You get your first call which typically sounds something like this:
Client: Hello John, we are from ABC Company, we are very impressed with your logo designs on site XYZ. How much would you charge for designing a logo for our new upcoming product?
Designer: Well, I usually charge for $ 1000 per logo, with 10 revision rounds, maximum.
Client: Thanks John. We will consider your price.
But most of the time, that’s where the conversation will end.
Well, from the example above, we can see that the designer did not give room for further negotiation. This is a disadvantage to delivering a price quote over the phone.
Remember that you are offering a design service, which unlike a physical product that can be touched and felt on the spot, is rather abstract and intangible. This is where it may be useful to explain your services in detail when sending a quote. When you get a call, tell the client that you will send them a quote and call them back them for further discussion.
There are many examples of quote templates you can find on the Internet, but here I would like to add some simple practical tips to help your quotation ‘appeal’ to your clients.
First off, in my opinion it is important to not just add up a list of services and prices in your quote, you should also give a fairly detailed description to let the client know of the benefits they would get.
Furthermore, you may dress up your quote creatively, like you can make it three pages consisting of the cover ― try to design the cover beautifully and make a great impression at first sight, on the second page it could be a list of your best design portfolio, and the last page can be your itemized service with the price.
A Little Negotiation
Well, not every deal will go smoothly. Often times the client will need you to renegotiate your quoted price and there is no definite formula to negotiate; this in itself is an art form. Sometimes negotiations can turn complicated and ultimately the client decides not to use your freelance service.
Though, there are some practical tips that you can apply to help you prevent this situation. I personally have applied this method several times and it has proven to be quite helpful.
The client usually and in general will question the price; they want to lower it as much as possible.
(Image Source: FreelanceSwitch)
In this case, I would give two options to the client, the first is the initial offer with normal price, and while the second quote is the price they want.
However, in the second quote, I cross out some services, such as reducing the number of revisions, exclude some website features or change the custom design with premium templates available on ThemeForest or WooThemes.
Then I would ask the client: Which one do you choose?
Here, we narrow the client to choose only one of two options. This stops further bargaining (and ridiculous questions). That way, hopefully, the client will see that a higher price comes with good reason, while a lower price would come with consequences.
Signing a Contract
After reaching an agreement, it’s time for you and the client to sign a contract. The contract will be very important to clarify the terms and conditions of the project you will be working on. The contents usually would cover the time, number of revisions, terms of cancellation, legal stuff and especially the payment agreed.
Having a contract will also prevent you from future problems during the process of delivering your service, such as when there is a clash in requirements or when a client is trying to renege on the project, or their payments. You can use the contract to break down your work into milestones, along with partial payments due from the client with each milestone achieved.
To prevent clients from not making full payment, put it down on paper that the final result will only be delivered once they have cleared the payment.
There are numerous contract templates you can find on the Internet, but you should modify them to meet your specific work and legal situation (based on your country).
Legal issues aside, in the next part of this series we will discuss how to tackle some common problems when you are working from home, so stay tuned to Hongkiat.com.
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