Being recognised for your skills and work ethic and contribution as a freelancer or small business owner makes it feel like all that hard work you put in over the years is finally coming to fruition. But when that high demand comes it might be very overwhelming. You may have gotten by quite well so far treating your freelancing as a nice little paycheck on the side or something that builds up your portfolio. Now, with big clients coming in asking for your services, the responsibility can seem quite intimidating. This is only natural! Fighting against fear and carrying through, though, can mean the difference between success and failure.
Plan, plan, plan and plan some more
Even if you have gotten by without really trying in your other projects so far, that doesn’t mean this behaviour should continue. With a big client offering vast compensation for your time, you want to ensure that you get everything as perfect as possible.
Therefore, planning is essential towards your success. Not only will a lot of planning make the assignment easier, but it will also show in the final product and stand you in good stead for further referrals.
Break big projects down into sections and plan when to tackle each chunk. Be sure to give yourself a little extra time to finish, too, just incase something unforeseen (like a computer malfunction) comes up.
With this newfound recognition, you may also want start thinking about expanding. Expansion is excellent for spreading awareness about your brand. While you don’t need to be running a multinational with thousands in turnover, you can still demonstrate your professionalism by adapting to the growth you are experiencing.
Here are some expansion ideas:
- Move your home office somewhere else (if you can afford it).
- Build up your online business through your website. (Doing this requires researching colocation to handle increased server traffic that will no doubt come your way should things start to really blow up.)
- Make some new business cards that highlight the names or logos of some of your high-profile clients.
- Hire an assistant.
- Get the assistance of a marketing professional to help get you on radio and television shows as an expert. Here's one of my radio interviews.
Know your options
Knowing your options is essential to avoid being taken for a ride by someone who probably has far more experience than you. Research what they are asking of you to better negotiate prices as well as helping you with organising contingency plans should they decide they don’t want to pay.
This happens to many freelancers. Clients sometimes don’t understand that even if they are not happy with the work, they still have to pay up. You put your time and effort into it after all. Here are some tips for invoicing your clients properly.
Keep in contact
This is essential both during and after the project. Staying in continual contact with your clients allows you to understand what they want and saves miscommunication. This is especially important if English is not their first language.
Furthermore, following the completion of the project, you can stay in touch with them for further work or even referrals to other companies seeking freelance business. This will expand your network and allow you to build your portfolio with ease.