“You cannot come into my domain, hire my services, pay me peanuts and then dictate how and what I do!
In fact, you’re fired!”
That’s what I call the “Celebrity Apprentice” effect :D.
Probably if all service professionals were like Donald Trump, this world would be a better place…or maybe not.
Trying to get clients can give a head throbbing effect. Trying to sell to them is even more headache.
How about working with pain in the neck clients?
You have no idea!
This is why you need to checkmate this from the very beginning. Or else, you’ll become a high valued employee with different bosses who would dictate when you brush your teeth in the morning.
This post is not just motivation pill. It’s about something better. You’re about to learn how to best sell to clients and build a service business that gives you peace of mind.
Trust me, I’m also taking notes from this post :).
So if you like the idea of having peace of mind and being happy in business, then read on. If not, don’t waste your time.
Let’s get to it!
Note: I didn’t invent most of the methods below. They’re used by pros who already have tons of clients and still live happy. So adopt them if you also want that.
1. Act Like The Boss To Have Some Control
Never put your clients on a pedestal! In other words, don’t worship them.
As a freelance copywriter, Ben Settle had his fair share of working with some of the top internet entrepreneurs during his career. However, one thing he always warns about consistently is to never put your clients on a pedestal. So here I am rebroadcasting it to you.
You’re the one with the skills that your client needs. You’re the one who can solve his problems. You’re the one who can make his dreams come true. So, do you deserve respect?
Feel free to answer that.
Now I’m not saying become arrogant and rude. You still need a high level of humility with clients, especially when they’re paying you top dollar. However, don’t get pushed around. You know how to best deliver your service to get results, but the client doesn’t know (that’s why you were hired in the first place). Sometimes, you need to stand your ground and dictate how you want the project to go, in order to give him the results he wants.
2. Say ‘No’ To Reduce Your Headaches
I’ve had to say no to some client offers to date, and it’s not because I’m lazy (don’t look at me that way, sometimes we all are).
It’s because I realize we’re not just a good fit. Being that email is one of the primary, and sometimes the only way we close client deals, you can easily tell your working relationship with a client from the first few emails.
What’s his tone of voice when he replies your emails? Does he sound angry when you delay reply for 24 hours? Is he insulting? Most of all, how much does he want to pay and how much fuss is he making about his bill?
By looking out for the early signs of a project that could suck when started, you’ll be able to save yourself some future stress by simply saying ‘No’ now, regardless of the price quote.
In her post on Men With Pens, James Chartrand advises that you revise your working relationship even with present clients and say ‘No’ to the ones that aren’t a good fit.
In assessing clients who can’t pay your new rates, here’s her advice: “If he’s a client who makes you chase after him for payment or he’s a client that sucks to work with, you probably want to drop that guy even if he’s been worth a lot of money to you in the past.”
3. Use The 50/50 Model To Create Security
When you first start out, it could be tough trying this method. You must have been in the game for a while before you can confidently demand part payment upfront for your services.
You need a good level of credibility to make this work.
Bamidele Onibalusi charges up to $200 per 1,000 words blog post and he usually gets paid partially up front. Now you may think that’s only possible because he’s an authority and has steadily built his credibility for 5 years.
So if you’re just starting out, how can you get clients to pay you? Bamidele in his post provides 5 ways you can get clients to pay you, one of which is the 50/50 rule.
Getting paid first before service means that the client trusts you enough to still get the job done. So you really have to get the job done, or else it’d be bad for your brand.
What this also does is it reduces the scare of you delivering services only for the client to go “ghost mode”. Even though this has not happened to me before, it’s happened to a few friends of mine. And it’s one of the primary reasons people don’t want to get involved in online transactions.
However, as you get older in the game, you should start with demanding 50% upfront and then as you grow to trust the client, you can get paid after work done.
4. Attract Your Clients To Save You Pitch Hassles
This is what makes freelance businesses successful – having a consistent inflow of clients.
What you need here is a system that works. For someone who works most of the day in pyjamas on a service business and wants to get clients online, the best thing you could do for yourself is to save yourself the headache of mass pitching.
Really, wouldn’t you love to wake up every morning and see nothing less than 5 client requests in your inbox? I’d love that…and I want it now more than ever.
The ONLY way to make this happen is to have your own personal brand – a professionally designed blog. This has long term benefits, especially if you use it with a solid content marketing strategy that works.
Imagine being able to get freelance writing clients come to you and secure them at your own asking rate. Bamidele’s Stop Pitching Clients program follows a framework that actually makes this happen.
Yes it may take someone else 3 months to start getting clients and take you up to 6 months, but the good thing is you have the right things in place. All you need to do is get a blog and then in the right places, teach what you know (or what you’re learning about) to an audience that would most likely listen to you.
And in fact, this point alone is what would make all the other points in this post work for you.
Yeah it’s not that easy, but it’s worth it.
5. Double Your Rates To Streamline Client Work
There are two ways to make more money selling your services.
- Work with 20 clients every month who pay you $100 per project.
- Work with 4 clients every month who pay you $500 per project.
Having more clients doesn’t always translate to making more money. The first freelancer, after working with 20 clients that month, would probably fall sick for the first 3 days of the following month due to the heavy work load.
The second guy can still go skydiving if he wants to.
The question here is “how much do you think you’re worth?”
Worth is a big word and some think it’s just you saying to yourself that you’re of high value. Nope! It has a lot more to do with the quality of your work and your confidence level.
As a freelance programmer, Glenn Stovall used to charge $50/hour, as he stated in his post on Medium. Then the question he started to ask himself was, “What’s the difference between a $50 freelancer and a $150 freelancer?”
After due research, here was his conclusion:
“You raise your rate when you raise the perceived value to your clients.” (Ensure you read his post).
If you go ahead doubling your rates and your value doesn’t increase with it, then you’re wasting your time. Clients aren’t stupid. You need to give them a valid reason for the increase.
And if your reason is valid enough, yes you’ll lose some…it’s expected and necessary. But you’ll also keep a few. New clients will run when they hear your rates, but some new ones will still work with you.
Like Glenn, Gina Horkey, a freelance blogger, was also able to increase her freelance blogging rate from $50 to $150 an hour. And her strategy was to get started with job boards that had high end blogging gigs.
For every new rate you set, there’s a client for it.
I believe you have what you need to build a rock solid freelance business. Sincerely, after reading this, all you need to do is implement. From now on, you could choose to be a wimp to your clients, or demand your own respect.
“To an established pro who’s used to making big bucks from her writing, these content mills, bidding sites, and bottom-feeder clients are not even on the radar. They don’t matter. They may as well not exist.”
Assess your clients at the beginning of every project and sieve them out. Build your credibility and then use the 50/50 model. Create an online brand for your business and teach what you know to attract clients. And finally, when you’re confident in the value you give, increase your rates.
One point you should take home here is the importance of building your personal brand. Attracting an audience is what gives you the audacity to dictate your rates. It’s what gives you the liberty to increase your rates and have that peace of mind that you’ll still get clients.
Your next step? Make up your mind to work like the pros. As I said I earlier, I’ve taken a ton of notes from this post and I’m supercharged to grow my income like the pros. Are you?
Lanre Solarin is a WritersInCharge team member and a freelance writer who helps service professionals generate leads online using content marketing. Download your free copy of his Proven 20-step blueprint to start generating your first few leads and clients online.
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