Freelancers often have a bad reputation when it comes to professionalism - through no fault of their own. And, while I don’t believe it to be true, it’s something you have to fight against constantly. Whether you are pitching for a slot on an online magazine or trying to attract the attention of a local marketing agency, you're up against a lot of resistance.
There are, however, some simple solutions to the reputation problems you might have as a self-employed writer, designer or creator of any description. I’m going to go through a few of the major issues with you right now and provide you with some hints and tips on where you should focus your efforts to perfect your professionalism as a freelancer.
Always Deliver on Time, Every Time
This should be a no-brainer, folks, but always make sure you are delivering the goods to your clients on time. Do great work, and you will reap the rewards, whether it’s ongoing work or the benefits of word of mouth advertising from happy customers. Life is tougher for freelancers than many clients will believe, as you have so many hats to wear. But, ultimately, no clients care if you have been feeling ill, or experienced a power outage, or any other travails you might be experiencing. They want their work delivered on time, every time, so be always be ahead of yourself and never leave anything until the last minute.
Have a Professional Address
Many freelancers work from home, but many of your potential prospects will often use this against you. Like it or not, business owners prefer working with other firms, and even if you have a smart office in your spare room or in the garden, that home address can often make them think twice before hiring you. I mean, they can Google Maps you and see your house!
There are a few options available to you, however. Coworking spaces are proving beneficial for freelancers of all kinds, so visit the website of any hubs in your area and see what you can find. You can also get yourself a PO Box, which will, at least, give you a professional-sounding address on your website.
OK, so you have finally convinced a potential client to meet with you. It is vital that you look the part (including in Skype meetings!), or you could be tarred with the unprofessional brush. Image is such an important part of business. People will judge you on your appearance in an instant - the truth is if they don’t like the look of you, it may not even matter what your skills you can bring to the table. I’m not suggesting you need to turn up in a three-piece suit for every meeting, of course, but professional attire helps you appear like you mean business.
Show, Don’t Tell
Are you branding yourself as a ninja, guru or expert on your website and other marketing materials? If so, it’s probably time to stop. While expertise is vital in attracting prospects, people want to see it in action, not hear about it.
Talk about your experience and niche, and explain how you get your results. Ultimately, it’s results that matter to your clients, not bold, unprovable statements about how great you are. Show, don’t tell, and you will find yourself picking up more clients than you ever have before.
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