Everyone falls into certain habits when freelancing. Some are good, some are bad. Some will help you run your business efficiently, some may help you stay on top of your finances, some could have an adverse effect on your personal hygiene – but some will make you awesome.
Nothing is more annoying to clients than inconsistency – and I’m not just talking about in the quality of your work (although obviously, that’s important too). Consistency is vital in all areas of your business. For example:
- Communication – keep your email response times the same. If you respond instantly one day, then go silent for a week when they next email, that’s a bad experience for your client. If you always take ten days to reply it’s also a bad experience, but at least it’ll be expected
- Pricing – if you quote a price for a job, make sure you quote a similar price for a similar job. This is why you should never put in a low offer to make sure you get a job – you'll only have to raise your day rate if the client wants you back, or put them off when you ask for a raise. If you get a cost-conscious client, always think twice
- Invoicing – we always espouse the “invoice straight away” approach to combat those pesky late payments, and even if that’s not your style, a consistent invoicing pattern is useful for everybody.
Life can be lonely sometimes when you've decided to go freelance, so being outgoing is important – both for your sanity and your business. Being social doesn’t always mean leaving the house though:
- Get on some social networks. Twitter is probably the best one for freelancers, although specialist networks like Vimeo or Flickr can be useful too, especially for showing off your portfolio
- Go to some networking events. They don’t need to be formal – often a casual drinks evening is the best situation to meet some new clients
- Grow your support network to include complementary service providers. Web designer? Make friends with a really good copywriter and an awesome SEO consultant – you can recommend them to your clients, and they might throw some work your way too.
This is a simple one. Just be so completely awesome that your clients cannot live without you. Provide such a great service and offer so much value for money that they would never even think about going elsewhere.
As a freelancer, part of your job is to be your client’s consultant and expert advisor. This means part of your job is to keep up with current industry trends and the latest developments in your arena.
Keeping abreast of the hot topics and newest products means you and your clients will always be one step ahead of the competition – and remember, nothing impresses clients like telling them about a cool product they've never heard about!
Be lazy sometimes
Freelancers work too much, everybody knows that. Well, freelancers know that.
To keep your awesomeness white-hot, you need to take a breather from time to time. You can do anything from taking a long holiday to turning off all your electronics and reading a book for an evening. Your chosen method of winding down can be just about anything - the important thing is to remember to do it.
Any other habits you think all freelancers should employ? Let us know in the comments.