Sometimes being a freelancer can feel like spinning on a hamster wheel. No matter how hard you work, you always feel broke and behind schedule. Chances are, flexibility and freedom were high on the list of reasons for why you wanted to be self-employed. Long before COVID-19 job losses, job site Upwork estimated that nearly 60 million adults in the U.S. had freelanced. Although Millennials were starting businesses at lower rates than previous generations, over half of all Gen Zers were self-employed. Yet if you have more clients than money it may not have anything to do with the quality of your work. Just as likely? The problem is the quality of your clients.
Getting work from freelancing sites like Fiverr and Upwork is a great way to start out. It helps you develop valuable skills while building your portfolio. Unfortunately getting in the habit of winning work by offering the lowest price won’t help you build a future. Why? Because your prices will never be low enough. There will always be inexperienced newbies with lower expenses. Plus, there are plenty of English-speaking content creators and IT pros overseas willing to do the job for what would be starvation wages in the states. When it comes to clients, seek out quality not quantity. Here’s how to get high paying clients.
Take a Personal Inventory
What do you do best? Take the time to list the things you do well. If you’re a graphic designer are you great at book covers or advertising? If you’re a writer do you like to blog about finance or fitness? Find your niche and you’ll find your strength.
Another way to determine your niche is to recognize where most of your work comes from. While you don’t want to pursue areas that don’t interest you, if you’re getting more work editing e-books than you are creating content you could focus on that service. If you’re wondering how to get high paying clients, one great way is to be known as a rising talent with a specialty.
Expand Your Horizons
Don’t limit yourself to online sites. Start attending industry conferences, trade shows and networking events. If you want to know how to get high-paying clients, one way is to focus on high-value executives. Instead of just working for a small business, market yourself to companies that have entire departments devoted to your specialty. Why would a marketing company pay you to handle some of their social media? Because many places are woefully short-staffed.
Know Your Worth
Although some companies may try to keep staffers from discussing their salary, prohibiting it is illegal. One reason is that learning what others earn helps improve workplace pay equity. It’s a lot harder to practice wage discrimination when everyone knows what everyone else is getting. The same principles apply to independent contractors. You need to know what others charge. Research information on those who do what you do and adjust your rates accordingly. If you’re a writer or other creative professional bill by the project, not by the hour. Why? Because as you improve it will take you less time to complete the same amount of work. When that happens, voila you just got a raise and your clients are paying you the exact same amount.
Bill By the Package
Instead of billing by the word or the hour, create packages that offer more of you for more money. Instead of just writing content, learn how to place it. Instead of just doing graphic design, learn how to market the final product. Offering full service so that the client doesn’t have to do anything is how to get high paying clients and develop some new skills in the process.
When you are communicating with new clients, be upfront about your rates saying something along the lines of, “I don’t less than $1,000 for your package.” This helps set you apart from lower-priced competition.
The truth is, the clients who pay you the most will often respect you the most. Getting a job by being the cheapest almost guarantees later client tactics to shave your rate even further or to demand alterations to your already high-quality work. You know you’re worth more money than you’re earning. Now is the time to go get it!
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