Tips for success
There are three key steps to becoming a successful freelancer, tips Pat Jones. “First, you need to have what marketing people call a ‘unique selling point’, a distinctive feature that a client simply doesn’t have in-house. This can be something as simple as being able to work through the night to email copy to Canada at 4.00am in the morning.
Or it could be some sort of specialist know-how. “There’s a British Standard for quality control,” adds Jones. “Many organisations would love to have that BS recognition for their goods and services, but they don’t have the in-house knowledge. A freelancer who does can almost set their own price for these consultancy services.”
Armed with your USP, your second step is to uncover clients who will use your freelance services on a regular basis. The secret of success here is networking, advises Jones. Most freelance work is obtained via word-of-mouth recommendation.
So you need to let everyone you’ve ever met know about your freelance work. “It’s important that you look beyond your existing contacts too – ask them to tell their contacts, and their contacts’ contacts. You’ve got to spread that message out as far and as wide as you possibly can.”
You also need to give prospective clients a great reason to employ you. “That means selling them a ‘what’s in it for me?’ benefit,” adds Jones. “It’s not enough to just tell your clients all about the great things you can do.
"You need to actually show how these transform into bottom-line benefits for the client – money saved, money made, more sales, an improved reputation, or whatever. Think ‘benefits’ not ‘features’ – so the benefit of that BS recognition, for example, is increased sales and profits.”