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Tips for Freelancers:You're a Freelancer, Not a Shop
Marketing your freelance services is very different to marketing the products you might find in a shop. Here are a few tips and bits of advice to help you understand the major differences and promote yourself more effectively.
I am writing this article from the perspective of a full-time, professional freelance copywriter - but the advice is equally relevant no matter what aspect of self-employed service you're providing, be it graphics, accounting or even manual labour.
Time is your only commodity
The very first and most fundamental principle you need to understand when it comes to understanding the difference in selling your services and selling a product, is unlike tangible goods that are as plentiful as the amount you order, your time is limited.
If you truly understand this, then you're already on the right track to marketing your freelance services effectively. If you don't, there are many traps and pitfalls that might send your freelance career spiraling out of control...
BEWARE the Scope Creep
The funny thing about charging less, is you work more.
Think about it like this:
- If you're charging professional rates, you're going to attract professional buyers. This kind of buyer is the kind who has a real budget, and who instead of focusing on price focuses on what you can do for them. For this kind of person, it's quality first and then price.
- If you're discounting your rates significantly, you're going to attract budget buyers. Budget buyers are looking for a bargain for a reason - low budget. And when budget is limited, it makes sense that they'll be trying to get as much as they can for as little as they can.
So, when you charge a low rate, along comes Mr Scope Creep and asks you to complete twice the amount you agreed on. Of course, you can argue your side and explain that this is unprofessional - but why waste your time in the first place? After all, it was you who set the precedent...
In a shop, it works...
Because a shop is all about selling in quantity.
More customers = more sales = more profit.
But freelancing is all about maximising on the only thing you can sell: Your time.
So remember: You are not a shop
The best advice I can give in terms of marketing your services, is to find a rate that works and stick to it.
- Find your rate
- Stick to it
- You're not a shop