We've said it before and we'll say it again: One of the best things about freelancing is having to answer to no one but yourself. So when we talk about "growing" our businesses, we don't have to adhere to how our boss or our investors measure growth – we get to define it ourselves!

Growth could simply mean more income, but it can also indicate branching into a new field, hiring assistance, or attracting more quality clients.

At last week's SPARK event, freelancers in 22 cities across the United States workshopped strategies for growing their business. Here's what the SPARK community came up with:

1. Never negotiate from a place of scarcity (SPARK D.C.)

Desperation carries a scent with it and if you bring it to a deal, chances are your client is going to smell it. Confidence is the best foundation for a growing business. Even if you do really, really need a gig, don't lose site of your values – and the value of your work.

2. Ask for an annual review (SPARK Brooklyn)

If you're working with a couple clients on a long-term basis, ask them for an annual review. Not only is this an opportunity for you and your client to evaluate your services, it also presents an opening to talk about a rate increase.

(SPARK San Francisco)

3. Put together a team (SPARK Brooklyn)

Partnerships are a great way to expand your network your skill set, and increase your income. Find people who freelance in complementary industries and start offering full-service packages.

4. “The answer is always maybe!” (SPARK San Diego)

Our speakers were a duo who’ve just started their own freelance collective. One of them said that her path to leveling up that allowed her to get to where she is now was to always say maybe to things.
Can you do this? Maybe. Can you do that? Maybe.

Then she would just figure things out along the way. And if it was something she couldn’t do, she’d find a resource for it, which allowed her to greatly expand her network.

(SPARK LA)

5. Bring your conversation up to a level where you want to operate (SPARK San Diego)

Even if you're still getting a lot of one-off or low-paying clients, start talking as though you have the long-term, quality clients you desire. Your conversation will begin to attract the clients you want and your client base will start to shift.

Big shout out to the freelancers of Birmingham, AL who hosted their first SPARK event last week! Welcome to the SPARK family :).

Join us for next month's SPARK on May 4: Pathways to Financial Freedom. RSVP here.

At Freelancers Union, Sharon creates opportunities for freelancers to meet, greet, and learn. Find her @sharonlikestone or at the nearest bakery.


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