Running an online business has become a very popular way of making money, and for many people, freelancing is a large component of this. However, many people find that freelancing is a time-consuming endeavor that makes them little to no profit. There are many reasons why this might be the case, and there some approaches that you can do to make the business worth the time that you put into it.
1. Don’t Give in to Customers
With freelancing, just like any form of business, customers are your bread and butter. Your customers are everyday people, and one thing that you will find out very quickly is that most clients want to save money wherever possible. This means that they will try and negotiate your price down, or want you to do much more than you initially agreed to.
Most clients have no idea how much work does into a given project, and some of them simply don’t care. They want the absolute best, regardless of what they have actually paid for.
When working with customers, you need to make sure you know exactly how much you are offering, what consumers are entitled to and what your rates are. For example, I have a standard rate and a discounted rate for special circumstances, but I never go below that second rate.
If you don’t have your guidelines set in place before you start working for customers, they will push you around and you end up doing a large amount of work for very little payment.
2. Pick Clients Carefully
When you are working online, you have to be careful about what clients you pick up and how you guarantee you will get payment. If you are working through a freelancing site, this is relatively easy to do, as clients have ratings and there is are things in place to make sure the client will actually pay.
If you are working with clients outside of an official site, which you will probably end up doing at some point or another, you need to be much more careful. Make sure you have some back up to make sure that the client actually gives you the money. For example, if you are doing freelance writing, providing the clients with the file before they pay is normally a bad idea.
You might be surprised at how many clients simply don’t pay if they are able to get away with it. Although you are bound to find some clients who argue with the safeguards you have in place, these clients probably weren’t worth the effort anyway.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Turn a Client Away
When I started freelancing I had the bad habit of accepting every client that came to me, regardless of how much work I had on, or the way that they communicated. I learned the hard way that sometimes you just have to turn someone away, and if necessary, delete any subsequent emails they send.
This is particularly true of customers who seem like they are going to give you problems. It is simply not worth the time and effort needed to work with a client who is inherently unreasonable. These clients take up much more of your time than anyone else and are unpredictable. This isn’t very good for a business, particularly if you are just starting out.
Over time, your ability to judge customers will get better, and you can turn freelancing into a profitable online business.