Layoffs are an unfortunate consequence of an economic recession. While as an established freelancer or entrepreneur you can survive the economic downturn by expanding your client base and introducing new services, professionals who previously worked happily as employees without much thought to being on their own are now entering the world of freelancing to make a living, even if only temporary.
This situation is probably going to stick around for a while, as discussed in “Laid off workers turn to freelance Web sites” by Lori Matsukawa of KINGS 5 news in Seattle, and “Freelancing: A real option” by Cindy Krischer Goodman of The Miami Herald.
What does this mean for you? It means increased competition, and you need to be ready.
Even if you’ve been freelancing for a while, it may be time to take a look at what you have working for you and get ready to do more. Here are some things you can do now to maintain your favorable position in the freelance market:
In the marketing sense, that is. Do you have years of freelance experience under your belt? Toot your own horn to make potential clients feel secure about hiring you. Specifically lay out the benefits of working with you that are unique to you. Be confident and let your experience show.
Focus on Customer Service
The best customers are repeat customers, and the best way to create repeat customers is by doing an outstanding job and providing unbeatable customer service. Some easy ways to do this include being responsive during and after the project, ask what they liked and didn’t like about working with you, talk to them about other projects they have in the queue, and start to build ongoing relationships.
Don’t forget the importance of networking. Referrals are second-best to repeat customers, and the best way to get referrals is by meeting people, getting to know them and then asking them for referrals. Have you created your elevator pitch yet?
Sharpen Your Skills
One of the best and most cost effective ways to find new business is by having new services to offer. There are thousands of great online tutorial sites and how-to articles to help you improve the skills you already have and learn some new ones. Here are some really great resources to check out:
- Stepping Up Your Skills: Areas for Continual Improvement as a Web Designer on Vandelay Design
- 20 Websites That Made Me A Better Web Developer on Six Revisions
- 70+ Photoshop Tutorials to improve your Skills as Web Designer on Best Photoshop Tutorials
- Ten Resources to Improve your WordPress and Design Skills on Graph Paper Press
When a client has many high-quality service providers to choose from, they tend to zero in on the one or two that stand out in their minds. Move yourself to the top of the list by being memorable. Get to know the company before a personal contact, follow up, and make your presentation and/or proposal impeccable.
You’re an established freelancer with a lot to offer potential clients. Keeping these fundamentals in mind will help you stay at the top of your game and allow you to capitalize on your freelancing experience.
Have you seen an increase in competition lately? What have you done to secure your position?
Image credit: Andy Steel