Is your business not growing as much as you hoped it would? One of the key things you can do to grow your business is to make sure you’re working as efficiently as possible and taking opportunities when you see them.
With that in mind, here are a few ways you might be missing out on earning some money and growing your business:
If you’ve done one-off jobs for a few people and still have their contact details, then you’re missing a trick here if you’re not following up.
Send them a friendly email offering your services again. They may have forgotten and your email or call could be just the thing to spur them into action. You’re more likely to convince a previous client to work with you again, provided they were happy, than you are convincing a completely new client to work with you. People tend to stick with what they know.
You haven’t asked for referrals or testimonials
Sometimes you have to be bold and ask your clients for a favour. Whether you’re asking them to refer you or just for a written testimonial for your website, this could help you win the next client and put you in a better position to charge higher rates.
One of the most common things that freelancers do is undercharge for their services. This means that you could be missing out on a lot of money. One of the reasons for this may be lack of confidence in asking for higher rates. In this case, try giving a high rate to a prospective client to see their reaction. They can only say no. If they accept it, then it will improve your confidence in asking for more.
Sometimes newer freelancers are still stuck in the employee mind-set and think they need to be charging the same hourly rate they would usually have in an office job. If you’re doing this then you will need to hike your price up. You need to cover business expenses, tax and NI, and all the benefits you miss out on by being self-employed, like holiday or sick pay.
You haven’t got a solid contract in place
Sadly, a lot of freelancers end up losing out on money in the form of missed payments. While that’s not your fault, if you take steps before starting client work and make a contract, you’ll make them less likely to try to get out of paying.
A contract will also help keep you on the same page with your client because it gives them an opportunity to check you understand their needs before starting work. Misunderstanding about what the client needs can lead to delays in the project and the possibility of doing extra unpaid work to make up for it.
You don’t charge upfront
A lot of freelancers eventually realise that because of the unpredictable nature of their work, it’s best charging a percentage of their fee upfront.
If the client decides not to pay for whatever reason, at least you haven’t lost 100% of your fee. 50% is a popular figure for many freelancers. It will be a deterrent for potential nightmare clients who just want work for free.
You don’t charge for extra work
They’re often called “scope creeps”, clients who ask for just a little bit extra work. Unfortunately if you agree to do this once, they’ll expect it again and before you know it, you’re doing tons of free work. It’s counter-productive if you’re spending time doing free work when you could be getting paid for it.
Politely explain that any work not in the original agreement is going to be chargeable. This is where having a contract to back you up comes in handy.
Have you been missing out on money in your business? What’s standing in your way of earning more? Let us know your thoughts!