Starting your career as a freelancer is a huge step. Once you get everything up and running you won’t have much trouble. You will have a proven history and a client base that you can work from. Yes, there will be challenges throughout your career, but no matter how hard things get later on establishing yourself is still that first hurdle. You need to set up a digital presence that is strong, solid, and professional. You need to then follow through and provide exceptional customer service in order to wow your customers and get them talking. When it comes to acquiring new clients, word of mouth is going to be your biggest friend.
That is why providing your clients with a professional experience from the get-go is so imperative. You can do this by following this guide:
Create an Engaging and Informative Website
Unless you have the budget and need to hire an office out you should stick to a digital approach. You will do this by creating a beautiful website. No matter what industry you are in, a great website will take you far. It will showcase your professionalism, your understanding of web design and the latest trends, and it will also appeal to each user who accesses it.
Work on Building Up Your Digital Portfolio
If you can create a digital portfolio in order to show, not just tell, potential clients about your skillset then you will go far. The digital world is fast, and it is so easy to fake a business. Providing proof and even testimonies from previous clients can help potential clients believe in you and your work, and in turn, increase your chances of being hired.
If your work can be uploaded and is digital, then you are well on your way to create a great portfolio. If your work, on the other hand, takes place offline, then you should consider either putting together brochures or even case studies of previous clients and work you have done.
Offer Free Consultations
Get the ball rolling by offering free consultations where you hear the client’s problem and needs. You can then create a proposal for them or provide a small example wherein they will decide if they wish to hire you or not. Keeping this initial consultation free will encourage them to reach out so that you can directly communicate with them and showcase your knowledge and expertise first-hand.
Testimonies from top clients is going to be a huge seller on your website. Update these testimonies regularly so that you can provide evidence of ongoing accomplishments and use your most famous clients as proof of your validity.
Invest in CRM Software
When you work freelance, customer experience is everything. You cannot forget names, miss deadlines, or lose information regarding what your client wants. All of this needs to be sorted and placed in a system that makes it easy to stay on top of your clients and their needs. Customer relationship management software or more industry-specific management systems will make it easy to stay up to date and never lose key data.
Use Professional Templates
Create or use professional templates so that you can create a uniform experience for all of your clients. This includes creating a template for your proposal, estimates, and final invoicing. Thankfully you don’t need to stress about this. You can use free online estimate templates to produce professional estimates in seconds. The same applies for invoicing.
If you want to create more test-heavy templates, then you can use your text editing software and reuse the same header or format again and again to create uniform proposals or reports.
Automation is your friend. You do not have the budget, nor should you need to hire a big team. Instead set up automation for the following situations:
If you are out of the office and a client emails you set up an automated response so that they know exactly when to expect an email back.
Set up automated reminders so that you never forget deadlines.
With the right programs, you should be able to automate tasks like sending out invoices, updating clients on the latest step you have taken, all the way to automating your own accounting to make it easy to pay self-assessment taxes.
Set Healthy Expectations from the Beginning
When it comes to working freelance you need to set realistic expectations for your clients from the beginning. This way, you never disappoint your clients and give yourself a healthy amount of time to get the work done. Don’t make promises you cannot keep, and you will be a great freelancer or consultant to work with.