The Real Secret to Freelance Success
By Johnny Spence
I can tell you from experience that the first thing that goes through your mind as a new freelancer is "OK, now how much am I going to make this month?" I can probably even safely say that this thought passes by nearly every freelancer just starting out.
Now, three years later, I can tell you that if you focus solely on the money part of running your own freelance business, you will fail. Focusing on money, only, takes the attention away from your clients who need the real attention from your freelance business.
I'll tell you a quick story of how I obtained one of my best clients. I normally use the freelance work exchange, Elance, to seek out projects as a programmer. I encountered one for which I placed a bid and then noticed in the description of the project that he was from a town in California which I happened to have stayed at one day. I decided I would make a rather flattering comment about it in my bid.
This client of mine admitted to me that my bid was not the lowest, nor were my qualifications the best compared with other bids. He chose me, however, simply because he had the gut instinct that I was reliable and honest, but also I took that first step in "breaking the ice" with him. This was three years ago and still, to the day, he provides continuous business for which I am grateful.
Shortly after starting to work with this client, I realized that my approach to gaining projects and a resulting salary depended on creating relationships with my clients. This was especially important since I have not seen most of them face to face. It is easy to become anonymous drone to your clients and vice versa if the only interaction between you and them is strictly business talk.
Guess what? That was the magic formula for being a success in freelance. Ever since I have always built realtionships with my steady clients and business couldn't be better. All it takes, too, is just a few simple things. First, be genuine and honest with your client (should be a no-brainer). Second, get to know your clients by asking questions on where they live, what they do, etc. It doesn't have to be too personal, but just get them to open up a bit.
Third, and most important, give them the best service you can and if they are not satisfied, make sure they are. Focusing on these three things will not only make your freelance business worthwhile, your income will dramatically rise without ever having to think about it.
One other side to developing business relationships with clients is that you, the freelancer, have a less likely chance of working for a undesireable client. When there is a trusting business relationship, then it is very difficult for either side to "screw over" the other. Also, if you happen to encounter a client who seems cold and not very open to the business relationship then this is a clear sign not to work with him or her. A difficult client is often the freelancer's worst nightmare.
It is especially hard this day and age where the internet can bring anonymity between freeelancer and client, however, any attempts made to develop business relationships with your clients is the same as writing your own checks. So why not do it?
About the Author
Johnny is a freelancer of over three years and author of The Rookie Freelance Job Guide
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