In no particular order here are 12 strategies that can lead to more money in your pocket from more clients.
1. Don’t fight your client on process, but push back on product. It is counter-productive to fight your client on their process. If they want to micro-manage every word, or if they are so hands off that you are spending a lot of extra effort tracking down information, remember it is their dime. And it is all billable time. Do push back on product. If you think they are going in the wrong direction on what the final product should look like, you do them a great service by extending the value of your experience. That is what they are paying you for.
2. Lighten your client’s load. Most freelance projects involve working with a company’s or government agency’s communications division. These days, almost by definition, if you work in a communications job, you are on overload. To the extent that you can be a confidant and adviser to your client, over and above delivering the goods on a specific project, the more they may turn to you when other issues come up. I have had numerous clients turn to me with extra work to take some of the pressure off them when they are on overload and need some fast help.
3. Get your best return on marketing efforts. Figure out what sort of marketing gets you the best return on your time and effort. The traditional cold calling? Networking? Social media? Informational interviews? Examine your marketing methods and ask yourself if you couldn’t be getting a better bang for your buck.
4. Subcontract your work but only if it doesn’t require a lot of rewrites on your part.
5. Go outside your comfort zone. Whether you are talking marketing or the type of work you pursue, there is the human tendency to stick to what you are comfortable with. That means you may be ignoring clients and money that may be at your finger tips, but you haven’t considered through fear or laziness.
6. Specialize. Or be a multiple specialist. But above all be seen to be an expert. And experts command more money.
7. Fish where the fish are. This is an expression used by a colleague of mine, meaning of course, refining your product and service selling to clients who might actually bite. Study your markets!
8. Become invaluable and your clients’ path of least resistance. Nothing begets repeat business with a new client than being utterly reliable and useful.
9. Deliver excellence. But don’t get hung up on being perfect. At some stage you have to figure out when good is good enough and send the product along.
10. Market when you are busy. The biggest mistake freelance writers make, including yours truly, is that we tend to ignore marketing when we are busy with current work. And when we are in famine mode we tend to panic and scramble with our marketing. That’s backwards. Remember the marketing you do today may take 3-6 months to pay off. Better do it now and consistently.
11. Answer your phone! And follow up on potential leads quickly. You may never get a second chance to land that first time client.
12. Write faster.