3) Charge The Market Rate
The biggest mistake freelancers make, even and especially in a depressed economy, is undervaluing themselves and their work. Charging your clients the market rate or even slightly above it makes you seem in more in demand. In conjunction with a stellar portfolio, it’s a signal to clients that you produce good work–work they’d be more than willing to pay decent rates for. FreelanceFolder suggests setting your freelance rate based on three factors:
- What you need
- What your competition charges
- What the market will bear
4) Do Your Research
This counts especially if you’re a writer or designer. Before you pursue a pitch for a story or particular web design, for example, you need to know a bit about the company’s publishing or design history. Ensure you know their audience and have thoroughly clarified the target reader/recipient. Look at the kinds of material they regularly produce and begin a list of suggested ways they could make it better. FreelanceSwitch suggests that you keep your pitch short and to the point, three to five sentences, at most. Most importantly, how will the client measure the success of your work? How will it bring in more business for them?
5) Don’t Vent
Things don’t always go your way. Bills don’t get paid on time, concepts get miscommunicated, projects get stalled or defunded. Take care not to burn your freelance bridges, regardless of the situation. When this happens, it’s imperative that you keep your cool. Take a walk and make time for thinking about the situation before you write a long, ranty e-mail detailing your concerns and frustrations (or worse, make a phone call that you’ll regret later.) Relate your concerns in a calm and rational manner and pursue a follow-up meeting in person to come up with a fair resolution. You’ll get what you want the next time around, and your reputation will remain in tact. Still need to productively channel your frustrations? Lifehack has six great exercises.