Freelancing is an excellent way to supplement one’s income if you feel that extra money is needed. The drawback to being a freelancer however is that very little is given in the way of advice to a new person looking to venture into it.
To freelance is to hustle and to hustle is to put money first and the craft 2nd. This one truth is where many falter – especially creatives – when it comes to being good freelancers. People get addicted to undercutting the competition—when the competition is already below market rate—and they get attached to their work to the point where it’s hard to relinquish ownership.
If you are new to freelancing, or being an entrepreneur, here are a few directives on how to make money and things to keep in mind before starting:
Creatives Are Seen As Artists
To the typical client an artist is a person who would happily do work solely to be appreciated, or to get exposure. What that means is that they will find it odd when you ask them to sign a contract or make a deposit to guarantee payment for your time. This is why designers above everyone else must assert themselves as businessmen/women and as marketing professionals. Dress professionally, and make sure that you discuss your time and rate up front.
You Are the Master of Your Domain
Few people will understand what the process of your work entails – this is why they are hiring you. They may give you insulting feedback like “I could have done that in 2 minutes” or “I can’t believe that really took 4 hours to finish” but it isn’t up to them to determine this. That is why it is very important to make sure that they are contractually obligated to pay for your time or that the deposit will cover your work.
People are opinionated, and people can be very rude. They also dislike having to pay you; so they will insult your work and then try to make you “earn” their business for free. Get your money and deliver the product, everything else is a waste of your time.
Competition is Always Looking To Undercut You
Hustlers make things hard for other hustlers – this is the game we play. Many times a client will come to you knowing that you are a professional, but will try to leverage pricing and time with reference to their cousin or niece who wants to do it for a portfolio credit.
Do not play ball with these people. They know and you know that the quality will not be up to par with yours, more often than none it will have to be redone in a year or so and it will cost time and money. Keep this in mind and stick to your guns and your bottom line.
Pricing Reflects the Type of Clients
Is your work in high demand? If “no” then skip this section, if “yes” then read on: Do you want a ton of heartaches from cheap clients who want something for nothing or do you want a quality network of people that are able to pay you? You will lose many clients with a high bottom line, but you will earn quality clients and firms with the budget to cover you by staying there.
So in summary, here’s the code: Keep it classy, stay professional, and stick to your bottom-line. You are freelancing to make money; you did enough free work whilst learning your craft. Do not let clients bully you and always make sure the price is right before working. Remember, the better your business, the more successful you will be. Clients love to talk about great experiences with colleagues, those talks result in you getting a phone call for more business. It is an endless web of relationships.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.