A friend who is thinking of becoming a solopreneur asked me how much time she’ll need to spend networking. The answer to that is a significant amount, but that doesn’t need to be the punishment many people consider it to be.
When this topic came up in a freelancing group, one of the participants (we’ll call her Alice) said that if you don’t have a full client roster, you should spend most of your time making connections and having conversations.
I have a different, more palatable, response.
With many companies cutting back these days, a lot of freelancers are struggling with the conundrum: should I lower my rates to compete?
Generally speaking, I would advocate setting a rate and sticking with it. But these are not normal times, and I know that a lot of clients have become more price sensitive out of fear.
So, in this spirit I offer some alternative suggestions to lowering your rates if you’re feeling the pressure.
With the economy slowing down, a lot of freelancers are losing work. If this is the case for you, now is the perfect time to pivot your offer to something more conducive to the times. I know it can be difficult to get creative when you’re stressed, so I scoured the Internet to find examples of “freelance pivot” to give you some inspiration. Turns out there’s a lot of creative people out there.
I know a lot of freelancers are losing work due to the pandemic and subsequent global upheaval. Getting freelance work in chaotic times isn’t easy. If you are in this situation, I’m thinking about you. This post is designed to help brainstorm solutions.
A marketing consultant was complaining in a Facebook group that everyone wanted her to work for free. She was marketing comprehensive brand strategy packages for $10K.
Fellow freelancers responded to her post telling her to know
her worth and stick to her pricing structure. I had a different thought.
Last week I wrote a blog post outlining the early warning signs of a bad client. Those practices that set your teeth on edge and put warning bells in your head (for good reason). There’s another side to that coin – client green flags, or how to identify good clients.
I’m fortunate to have a number of great long-term clients, so I can see patterns evolving early in terms of what relationships will be mutually beneficial and what relationships will become problematic. As with bad clients, there are often early signs that this will be a productive and enjoyable relationship. Here are some early signs of a good client:
The freelance groups I belong to are filled with tales of client relationships gone wrong. One thing that most of them have in common is that there were client red flags from the beginning. In fact, many bad client relationships start off on the wrong foot with someone who is unrealistic, unreasonable or too demanding.
The key to avoiding bad clients is to recognize these issues before you’ve signed a contract. Here are some of the client red flags that I’ve encountered (and/or heard about) as a freelancer:
When you go freelance, you have the opportunity to escape the dysfunctional part of the 9 to 5 life. Think of life without your Michael Scott-like boss. The thing is, though, a lot of freelancers don’t actually escape. That’s because even though a freelancer is the boss, s/he is also their own employee. And if you want to be productive and happy over the long-term, Boss-you has got to create a productive and functional work environment for Employee-you.
As a freelancer, work can take time coming in. You need to
prove yourself over and over to prospects. On top of that, accolades can be few
and far between.
This life can lead to a crisis in confidence and imposter
syndrome moments. As someone recently posted in a freelance Facebook group:
These days, we all seem to glorify the “hustle”. If you’re not working at least 12 hours a day, what are you doing with your life?
A few years ago, I was working full-out and putting in time on evenings and weekends.