4 TIPS FOR FINDING GOOD CLIENTS AS A FREELANCER
Freelancing can be a very scary thing, whether you are experienced or just getting into it. The act of going out on your own and relying on yourself to find work instead of having someone give you work for a steady pay check is something that is not for everybody. An added pain that comes with freelancing is the fact that you can run into a bad client at any point. A bad client can be a lot of things. Whether it is someone who you have a hard time communicating with or a person that is constantly haggling with you over prices or not paying you regularly – there are many forms in which a bad client can manifest in the business of freelancing. Whether you are a writer, web developer, designer or anything else, you will have to learn how to navigate the sea of potential clients and try to work with people who you enjoy working with in order to pay your bills.
Here are four tips to follow that can help you avoid potentially troublesome clients and land more good clients on a regular basis.
INTERACT WITH OTHER FREELANCERS
Networking within your niche with others who do the same thing you do is a great way to stay away from bad clients. Though most of these people will not be very eager to give you tips on good clients – since they obviously want them for themselves – they will usually be very vocal about poor clients. Freelancers from your niche will be able to not only give you tips on specific people to avoid, but also types of clients to avoid and perhaps even places to avoid when looking for jobs. Freelancers who work within the same niche as you can offer valuable tips, but you need to get good with them first.
If they are bloggers, visit their blogs and interact. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks. Interaction is key, because that is the only way to get these people to notice you and recognize you as a colleague and a person to whom they would want to potentially give a helping hand.
PRESENT YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT
Potentially good employers can become bad ones if you do not represent yourself correctly. Putting yourself out there as someone who is an expert in your field will help you weed out the bad clients. You are looking for clients you are hiring you because they believe that your expertise will help their project. These types of clients value your opinion and your time, which means that they will usually be a lot more cooperative. Bad clients look at you, more often than not, as simply a worker who is doing something that they don’t have time to do on their own.
If you approach a potential client as a freelancer who has a high-level of knowledge and expertise under your belt, you give yourself a better chance of scaring the bad clients away and attracting the good ones.
TRUST YOUR GUT
Learning to trust your instincts is a very important part of freelancing. The fact that you are not given work, but are rather seeking it out and making decisions yourself, puts most of the responsibility on you. When it comes to trusting your gut, most people who have done any kind of work in the past, whether freelance or not, should be able to get a good feel for the client after initial contact is made. If there is something that doesn’t strike you quite the right way about a client, trust your instinct and stay away. This might be hard to do for freelancers who are just starting or those who have run into a dry spell lately, but it usually works out for the best.
Even though turning down jobs can be difficult, especially if you haven’t had any good ones in a while, sometimes it’s the best thing to do. Bogging yourself down and working through bad projects can also render you unavailable once a good job comes knocking. If you find this is a constant problem, save time and create an Excel sheet with names, companies and locations of the bad guys. It can come in very handy!
ASK GOOD CLIENTS TO RECOMMEND YOU
If you have a great relationship with a client, don’t be afraid to ask them to recommend you to other potential clients. Good clients usually know other people who work in the same niche and look for the same kind of freelancers. Most importantly, quality companies tend to build rapport with companies of a similar quality.
Another part of the equation that is very important is the quality client’s respect for you and your work. If you have built a good relationship with someone, this person is much more likely to recommend you to work for people he or she knows and trusts and steer you away from potentially hazardous freelance jobs.