Looking ahead: Moving up and forward
You don’t have a corporate ladder to climb, but there are endless opportunities to grow as a freelancer.
As we close with this final chapter, we want to provide a guide into the future of your successful freelance business. As you look ahead, we hope you can use these tips to keep moving onward and upward in every area of your personal and professional development.
Finding new clients
New clients are key to expanding your business. Unless you operate in an overly narrow niche, there will always be new people to work with. Growing your client pool to include these new businesses may require adjustments to your client-finding processes. Some options include:
- Trying new methods of connecting with clients
- Adding new skills to your services
- Increasing your rates
- Shifting the focus of your work
If one method doesn’t work, keep adjusting and improving until you find one that does. There are hundreds of thousands of people looking for freelancers to hire, so don’t give up.
Increasing your value
Even as you find new clients, you should be working to increase the value you can offer. You could:
- Learn new skills - Do some research to see what clients are looking for in your field. It might mean making a small change to your work or learning something you’ve never tried before. A writer, for example, might become an SEO master. A graphic designer could learn to take their own photos. This new knowledge allows you to do more for your client, making your services far more valuable.
- Keep up with the newest updates to your craft and field - Technology, processes, and rules are constantly changing in every field. Make sure you are on the cutting edge of your industry in every way. Out-of-date skills don’t help you or the client.
- Team up with another freelancer - Projects like website design involve multiple parts and thus a range of skills. When clients can take care of multiple needs with one hire, it’s a huge relief. Keep an eye out for trusted peers that would offer beneficial partnerships that meet your standards for quality and value.
Show clients that you are dedicated to offering the best work by investing in your career. You will grow as a professional and stay ahead of your competitors in both potential and reputation.
Updating your pricing
Now that you are more established in your freelancing career, you can charge more for your services. You may also want to consider changing the way you charge your clients.
If you’ve been charging by the hour, consider switching to a fixed-price or retainer structure. Rather than just being paid for your time, you can charge more for your experience and value. This gives you more freedom with your time and often appeals to a greater number of clients.
Increasing your prices
Raising your rates reflects your growth as a freelancer and the level of value you can provide with your work.
You may want to evaluate your rates a few times a year, though you don’t have to change them every time. You can raise your costs when you add a new skill, complete a game-changing project, or when you want to start making more per year.
Not sure what to charge? Give chapter 3 another read for tips.
You may be asking, how do I raise rates for my current clients?
There are a couple of options:
- Adjust your pricing with each new project - If you’re on an hourly contract, let the client know that you are moving to a fixed-price rate. You can then adjust your costs without having to have that awkward conversation. For every other project, just let each bid reflect your new rates. You can discuss the change with clients if they ask, but most won’t.
- Gradually phase in new clients - Send an email with your new pricing and let them know about the upcoming changes. A month or two is usually enough time to move past any currently scheduled projects, giving you the perfect opportunity to implement your updated pricing with any new work.
Optimizing your workload
To keep the delicate balance of having the right amount of work and clients, consider using Hectic to manage your client relationships. This feature visualizes your pipeline, letting you know what’s next and where your client base currently stands. You can easily see when you need to pursue more work and when your schedule is booked.
Designed to help you maximize billable hours, Hectic streamlines client management. Use our client screening tool to instantly separate the projects you want to pursue from those you don’t. Then, with one click, you can send your customized proposals to convert prospects into clients. You will always know where you stand with clients both past and present, easing your uncertainty so you can move forward with confidence.
Keep moving forward
Here are some of the ways you can continue growing your business.
Start an agency
Expanding your business into an agency gives you access to higher project prices, broader reach, and greater capacity for work. Outsourcing your work to other freelance professionals both increases your opportunities and gives them a steady stream of income.
Offer freelancer education courses
You can’t freelance without learning a ton, so why not give it back to others who are just starting out? Selling materials, videos, classes, and seminars gives you a passive stream of income that also helps others succeed. There are endless topics and mediums for these courses, so find the one that works for you.
Partner with other freelancers
As we mentioned earlier, combining your services with another freelancer’s gives you an undeniable advantage over your competitors. Working with someone else also encourages growth. You will have access to a variety of new clients and fields, creating new possibilities for you both.
When it doesn’t work
Sometimes freelancing isn’t the right answer. Life circumstances, personal obstacles, or even new insight may make a return to an employed position the best option.
That doesn’t mean you failed or weren’t cut out for freelancing. It just means it’s time for a new direction. And that’s more than okay.
Some of the struggles you may be facing include:
- A need for job and income security
- Struggling to successfully manage your business
- Poor mental health due to isolation
- Not getting hired for any jobs
- Lack of support from loved ones
- Feeling burnt out
If you’re looking for an employed position, see if you can find a part-time position first. Creating a hybrid schedule of both working and freelancing can show you if this is the right direction to take. You may find that one of the options below produces the results you need instead.
Relating to any or all of these points doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to move on, however. You may just need a break, help, or a better way of doing things.
If you are questioning your freelance career, we encourage you to do three things.
- Evaluate your reasons for starting on your own. If they are still worth what you’re putting into your career, you should try to pinpoint the reasons that freelancing isn’t working for you.
- Try the suggestions in this guide. You are not the problem, but the processes you’re using might be. Work on improving your business and see how much better your career becomes.
- Connect with a freelancing community. Joining a group on social media, reaching out to other freelancers, or getting in touch with our experts can give you a radical shift in your perspective.
You are not the first or last person to feel this way. In fact, we’ve all been there. By working to create a better freelancing experience with Hectic, we’re hoping more people can continue pursuing their dreams and finding success in their passions.