The MAIN reason you aren’t earning the big bucks as a freelancer
I’ve been having a little love hate relationship recently about the word FREELANCE.
You see, when I tell people I’m a freelancer, they assume that I’m picking up the odd design job here and there, that whole idea of the “starving artist” and “poor creative” washes over their face. If I’m totally honest, I don’t care what people think I earn, this whole freelance malarky is confusing for the corporate world and some people just don’t get it!
But to contradict myself, I do care what people think I earn if it is the determining factor to someone pursuing their dream. If this ghosted interpretation of a freelancers living is stopping creatives stepping into their goals and ambitions because of the fear that being “just a freelancer” isn’t a “real job” and isn’t going to make them a full time wage, then I do have a problem….and this is where the battle begins!
The romance between me and the word FREELANCE.
The reason I love the word freelance is because it is exactly what is says on the tin, you are a free agent, free to work when you want, where you want, how many hours you want and to take on as many clients as you want. You are 100% in control of your income. I can work on as many projects as I want simultaneously keeping my work fresh, new and exciting whilst also feeding my bank balance with a constant flow of income.
Since I have worked for myself, or become a freelancer as it might be said, I have had the best work/life balance. I work 2 days a week, I don’t work weekends, I work the odd evening if I schedule it in, I can take as much holiday as I want, when I want to. (no making compromises with colleagues on who’s having Glastonbury off) my life is FREE.
Why me and the word FREELANCE don’t get on.
So let’s get back to the “poor creative”, “just a freelancer” for a minute because this is where me and the word FREELANCE fall out… and I guarantee this is where you’re going wrong!
FREE as in free agent, not FREE as in I work for free, my time is free, or I’m free for bookings come and get it!
Let me break that down for you a little because I’m sure you’re guilty of at least one.
1 – The freelancer that is desperate to get work so lowers prices to get the job. Then to realise the job is a much bigger project than the £200 you agreed on to get the gig.
2 – The freelancer that is not considering the fact that time is money. Working on small projects that are low value but time consuming meaning that you are making constant sales but the quantity you need to make/sell is too high.
This next one’s the Biggy!
3 – The talented and qualified freelancer sitting back and wondering why no ones knocking. Complaining that you can’t get a job or a client but have done nothing proactive to actually get any work…. Pssst….. No one knows that your genius exists unless you tell them… and tell them pretty loudly. The reality is, YOU’RE NOT FINDING THEM!
This is the most likely reason you are not reaching income goals that you’d like to as a freelancer. There is so much competition out there and in this digital age it’s so easy for someone to find someone for a job with one scroll of their thumb.
YOU NEED TO BE IN FRONT OF THEIR EYE SO THEY DON’T EVEN NEED TO PICK UP THEIR PHONE!
You see I see a lot of talented designers calling themselves freelancers and following that comment with “it doesn’t pay the big bucks but I can work from home”. Now this is where you’re going wrong. Why doesn’t it pay the big bucks? Just because you’re working for yourself doesn’t mean you should be thinking of it as anything different than any other kind of job. So let’s stop thinking of ourselves as “just a freelancer” and start thinking of yourself as a Design Business. Believe me the only person stopping you earning what you want to earn as a freelancer is yourself.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.
1 – Find the clients you’d like to work with
2 – Find the contact details of those clients
3 – Pitch to those clients
4 – Wait for those replies
5 – Have a solid price structure before you start negotiating and stick to it. Selling yourself too cheap is actually counterproductive and shows that you don’t value your expertise so why should they.
6 – Book the job, Go Get ‘Em!