If you’re a freelance writer, you know all too well how difficult it can be to make a decent living – especially if you’re just starting out. Not only do you have to find prospective clients, but you must also convince them that you’re qualified to do the work, and more importantly, that you deserve to get paid (fairly) for it.
You know how much you’re worth (or maybe you don’t: read this), but how do you prove to a prospective client the value of your services? Here are 4 methods to help you scale your freelance business and increase your earning potential in the process.
Showcase Your Work
As a freelancer, you want to do more than just scrape by; you want to live comfortably doing the work you love. To that end, you must show prospective clients your value with an impressive portfolio that illustrates your level of skill and expertise.
One way to do this is to create an attractive digital portfolio that includes your resume and work samples. Not only is this a practical way to showcase your work, but it also proves that you’re tech savvy, and gives you the opportunity to express your personal brand, gaining you more desirable clients who are willing to pay more for your clear value.
Depending on your level of technical know-how, you can build a portfolio on your own, or use a website building platform such as Wix, Squarespace, or Behance. Be sure to include your resume, bio, and work samples from past clients. If you’re new, create a blog to illustrate your writing ability and express personal or professional interests.
Whether you’re a freelance blogger, copywriter, or features writer, it helps to have at least a basic understanding of your clients’ fundamental business goals, and where you’re efforts fit in.
If you’re writing for a brand, their ultimate goal is to sell a product and their path to doing that might be to engage the prospective customer, form a relationship or really sell the merits of a particular product. How do your blog posts fit into their overall marketing plan?
Understanding your clients’ overall needs and the methods they use to meet them will enable you to think critically about your assignments, and provide expertise and advice along with your work. Now, you’re not just a freelance writer, but also a marketing consultant, and with the proper experience you can bill accordingly.
Learn a Technical Skill
Learning a technical skill is a crucial way to level up in your career as a freelancer, and make more money in the process. For instance, if you’re a writer, but have always been intrigued by website development and design, it may be time for you to combine your interests.
As a writer, you’re used to developing content with the reader in mind; therefore, you’ll likely have a knack for thinking critically about a site’s usability and function. Why not try your hand at front-end web development or user experience design? Now the client can hire you for their copywriting and development needs.
Build Lasting Relationships
As a freelancer, it’s more productive for you to develop a rapport with existing clients, rather than spend your days constantly searching for one-off jobs. For one thing, you’ll have more time to actually do the work you love, but you’ll also be able to increase your earning potential as you prove your value and up your level of responsibility within the organization.
Make sure to view every job as a foundation upon which you can build a relationship (especially if you respect the client, and enjoy the work you’re doing for them). The tips above will help you increase the caliber of jobs you attract, but make sure to go above and beyond your expected assignment (be consultative!), and follow up after a project has finished. They may not need you right away, but stay in touch and they may consider working with you again a few months down the road.
Emily Pope (@GoEKP) is a content producer at General Assembly, an educational institution dedicated to creating a global community of individuals empowered to pursue work they love. GA offers full and part-time courses and workshops on the most relevant skills of the 21st century – from web development and user experience design, to business fundamentals, data science, product management, and digital marketing.