Freelancing might be great for flexibility and work-life balance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious too. After a couple of years getting established and settled into the lifestyle, it’s natural that you’ll start to think bigger. And that means focusing on growth.
Growing your freelance business will give you higher earnings, more interesting and challenging work, and greater financial security. But without a boss, new business manager or finance controller to help, it’s your job to lead the charge. So, what are your options?
Expand your services:
If you’ve focused on just one or two core services up to now, think about other complementary offerings you can add to your repertoire. For example, if you’re a content writer, can you offer SEO writing as well? Or if you specialise in PR, can you expand your talents to include content marketing? It might be that you already have the skills required, or that you can do some training or online research to boost your expertise and knowledge.
Work in a team:
There is a natural limit to the size of the projects you can take on as an individual freelancer, so a good solution is to team up with others who have similar or complementary skills. Doing so allows you to handle bigger accounts and command larger fees, while also giving you some extra leeway when one of you wants to take a holiday or needs some time off. You’ll also benefit from some welcome support when handling client challenges or brainstorming ideas. Read more in our blog on freelance teams.
Whether you want to expand your service offering or enhance your existing skills, there are some fantastic training courses out there to help you. PR is constantly evolving, which means there is always something new to learn. By sharpening your skills, you have a reason to charge your clients more and a way to impress new business prospects. Check out the PRCA and the Henshall Centre for some inspiration.
Getting out there to meet new people is a brilliant way to find potential clients, freelance partners and learn what’s going on in the industry. You don’t even need to go to PR and marketing events if you don’t want to; interesting people and opportunities often come when you least expect them. So, get some business cards printed and look out for events that spark your interest.
Go after bigger clients:
Bigger brands and more established companies generally have more money to spend, which means you can command a higher fee for your services. Working with larger companies can also be great for your professional development and does wonders for your portfolio. While it’s not always easy to get a foot in the door, see if you can make inroads through existing contacts, social media, or even dropping a speculative call or email to the right person. Remember, it all comes down to perseverance and timing, so stick at it. Here are some more tips on winning new business that could be useful.
Build your personal brand:
Your reputation, presence, and branding online can also make a huge difference to the number and quality of clients you attract and the fees they will pay for your services. You can help boost your personal brand by actively maintaining your social media profiles, blogging and commenting on PR and marketing platforms. Check out our blog on building your freelance brand for more tips and advice.
Increase what you charge:
Easier said than done, you might say! But seriously, you should be regularly reviewing your fees against competitors, to ensure you’re matching the going rate for your level of experience and expertise. That’s not to say you should suddenly demand a pay rise from your loyal clients, but you can justifiably suggest an inflationary increase every couple of years. Plus, there is nothing stopping you raising your rates when new clients come along if you feel your service is worth more.
Grow existing clients:
Growing your business isn’t just about winning new clients; what about expanding the scope of what you do for existing ones? You know they already like you, so do some subtle digging over lunch or a coffee to see where their pain points are and how else you might be able to help them. And of course, continue to impress them with your fantastic work!
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with a consistent, sustained and determined approach, you’re sure to start seeing results. And of course, The Work Crowd is always there to help, with exciting new projects regularly posted on the site, and loads of useful advice on how to make a success of freelancing.
This article was written for CMME by our partners at The Work Crowd