Freelancing is fast emerging as a sound way to do flexible and meaningful work from a place of your convenience, yet it is not as easy and breezy as it sounds and there are a lot of financial and mental barriers to be overcome to surrender oneself fully to the freelancing way of life.
The Freelance Economy, popularly called the Gig Economy, is a far more nuanced sector than we would like to believe, as per a Boston Consulting Group study. The freelancers see gig work as a path to find more meaningful work, greater flexibility and more autonomy since they get to choose where and when they want to work.
The report goes on to add that the gig trend is likely to rise in every industry including B2B, Sales and Education and more.
Are all Freelancers equal?
The famous George Orwell quote ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,’ rings true not only for humans but in the freelancing world as well. Truth be told, there aren’t as many freelancing websites as there are freelancers, all with the same five-star rating as yours; rendering you an invisible drop in the endless ocean of freelancing.
Truth be told, freelance websites can’t care less as they just want an army of reliable and affordable freelancers to deliver work on time and within their budget, and the same goes for clients as well.
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Generally, when a platform negotiates the payment for the skill, the freelancer ends up making less money compared to when they directly negotiate payment based on their expertise. For such freelancers, platforms like LinkedIn, UpWork, Naukri.com or groups on Facebook become mere meeting places for being discovered.
This way the individuals get to showcase their expertise and their reputation across a solid network which helps grab eyeballs of clients with deep pockets. The more in-demand one’s expertise is, the higher is the premium the client will be ready to pay.
Lessons on Freelancing by Prominent Freelancers
Considering you have already dived headfirst into the deep sea of freelancing, we assume you know the basics of building a solid and long-lasting freelance business – gain experience, build a personal brand, refine your existing skill set, refrain from doing cheap gigs, build relationships and most importantly, not look for clients but ‘ideal’ clients.
Gaining domestic clients or international clients requires the same effort, just that the former hits home while the latter needs a bit more effort from the individual’s end in terms of working unusual hours due to different time zones, installing a payment method more apt to your international clients like PayPal or Payoneer and a few tax hassles as well.
However, it goes without saying that you will earn twice as much working for international clients since their currency exchange rates are higher than the Indian rates.
There are freelancer horror stories, which we all know, are weaved when a client asks for multiple revisions and does not pay you for the work that you did for him/her. However, looking at the bright side, there are freelancer success stories as well where they were able to establish a long-term engagement with their client and were paid their dues.
A freelance designer from Medium tells us that he managed to bill his clients close to $106K in USD even during the slow summer holiday period in New Zealand from Dec-Jan, which was a 25% increase for him from the same time in the previous year.
His mantra for success includes building a strong reputation and leveraging the same and referrals, targeting both small and large business, startups and young tech companies, charging more rates, embracing long and complex projects and using your time efficiently.
Another freelancer carved his road to success after getting duped by a shady client once on Upwork. Though the freelancer network honoured his payment after he reached out to their help desk, nonetheless, this freelancer advises on checking your clients’ complete credentials before agreeing on a contract with them.
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If in case you still don’t get your answer (or payment), escalate the complaint to a higher level, go the red tape way and keep going at it until you receive the answer you deserve. Other lessons he has in his kitty includes being on top of your game through podcasts, blogs, ebooks and online books and to never ever stop learning!
A banker turned artist enrolled in a couple of contests online and won the bids. Besides, she improvised upon her average portfolio and used her employers to build a reputation. More projects came to her not long afterwards.
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Struggling to find clients? Below mentioned are some tried and tested ways on how to contact international clients for business. Read on to find out how you can get your first international client.
Tips to Land International Clients in 2020
1) Create a proposal
To attract international clients, you to need to have your very own customized ‘Client Proposal Kit,’ which has all the glitter to make you sell yourself to a worthy client. Old clients aside, you should follow the steps given below to get on the radar of your future clients:
- Identify the problem of your specific customers
- My potential client researches in these three places for a solution to his problem.
- One way I can break into any of these three avenues
- My persuasive pitch in an email to them
2) Understand the know-how
This might be a bit too hard, but it is both important and beneficial for you to be deeply involved in your industry which is also a great way to build connections. Landing international clients requires you to sell yourself the right way and persuade them as to why you would be the best guy for the job.
Putting up good content/showcasing your portfolio on your own website than a guest post looks like more work but would be fruitful in the long run as it will serve as a ‘client magnet’ which draws in interested parties by showcasing the person with the skills they are looking for.
Be it a designer, developer, writer or a marketing person, a Google search on ‘best [your industry] blogs’ will do the trick.
3) Attend global trade shows
Lead generation may be defined as a marketing strategy which involves creating a bespoke strategy which clearly defines your lead requirements and lead generation goals. Even prominent companies are also resorting to this tactic including the likes of Coca Cola which have converted trade show lead generation into an almost-exact science.
Suggested read: A complete guide on how to get freelancing projects
Till date, the fizzy drinks giant is implementing a bespoke measurement strategy for trade show success, based on revenue, cost savings, customer relationship management and promotion.
Therefore, be it a company or an independent freelancer, they need to focus on the word ‘bespoke’ and outline their goals to devise a creative strategy for themselves which can help in converting more leads or clients.
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4) Keep promotional materials ready
To land a roster of good clients, you need a robust trade show marketing budget, urgent need for written marketing material, press kits and time-starved employees who can’t manage to write and work.
This way, you can pitch a huge client your selected blog articles, brochures and media kits to show managers, sponsors and exhibitors alike. Trade shows have both a fall and spring event and you can go for either or preferably both. This way you would be able to qualify more sales prospects.
5) Act like a Local Contact
You must act as a local contact and find out the industry which dominates your region. This way you can pitch yourself as a local contact to international clients attending events, meeting or conferences as a PR agent who can deliver appropriate press kits, social media campaigns and marketing material.
6) Become a Cultural Consultant
You can position yourself as a cultural consultant because surely, even a handful, if not more overseas companies would be throwing down their anchors in your city. Before local competition leverages this opportunity, you must position yourself as a cultural consultant.
Send these companies an LOI pitching city guides, a package on business etiquette or a family resources kit.
All things said the freelancers feast-and-famine cycle will only exist if you let it. Like Daenerys Stormborn said, ‘I will not stop the wheel. I will break the wheel.’ Similarly, once you have added a few international clients to your portfolio, more will follow, not counting the domestic ones.
Freelancing is free to join and free to get projects, so why not take advantage of this new way of work that is breaking the norms! Coworking spaces and work cafes are also adding to the heat wave where you can go to work, chill, eat and find more clients!
Coworking spaces offer you a productive environment, are cost-effective and give you a chance to mingle with like-minded people and put isolation and boredom at an arm’s distance, which is not the case for freelancers who tend to work from home for longer periods at stretch.
Suggested read: 7 workspaces best suited for creative freelancers in Delhi NCR
Also, even international companies of great value are now resorting to coworking spaces so as to have a vibrant space to themselves and save up costs.
Coworking spaces have witnessed office demand surge in even Bangkok city, wherein renowned real estate company CBRE has leased over 44,000 sqm accounting for nearly 25% of CBRE’s complete new office letting volume to co-working space operators in the last two years.
myHQ is one of the best coworking space providers with its offices sprawled across 100+ locations. In its own words, it provides work-optimised spaces, high-speed reliable internet, discounted F&B – without any rent!
Besides, it also offers you a ‘free trial’ wherein you can avail the opportunity to experience working in a coworking space/cafe of myHQ for a whole day in any of its locations. You can even get your subscription fee back as redeemable credits which can be used to pay for your visits and for your food at any of their cafes.
Freelancers who are in it for the long-term can also subscribe to their lifetime validity plans. Nothing better than a coworking space to find new clients in an environment that you find best. So, revolutionise the way you work with myHQ today!
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