Landing new clients is essential to making it as a successful freelancer.
But for many of us, it's a frustrating, learn-it-yourself piece of business.
Through working with countless freelancers, I've found four big roadblocks people make when trying to grow your business.
Are you making one of these mistakes when looking for new clients?
1. You're not intentionally and strategically positioning yourself in the market.
Are you communicating your work in a clear and standout way that will attract the clients you most want to work with?
Positioning goes beyond just who you are and what you do. It also includes:
assessing where you sit in regard to competition
noting what your clients associate with you
being aware of your reputation in the industry
actively shaping where you fit in the market of your services
knowing what information best resonates with your ideal clients
Plus, positioning dictates crucial elements of your business:
the kinds of clients you attract
the quality of your work
Positioning is a holistic piece of your business. It has to be intentional. Yet, so many freelancers overlook this! Commit to intentional positioning now.
2. You're not building relationships with strong foundations of trust.
Many new freelancers think that landing a client will be a straightforward process.
But we tend to underestimate just how much trust it takes someone to be happy to hire us.
Plus, the greater the potential investment, the riskier it is for a client to hire you-- so they need a lot of trust in you, and you alone, to do fantastic work.
That can take a lot of time, plus other tools like:
different types of outreach
asking for referrals
understanding where a client is along the Client Acquisition Cycle
Many freelancers fall into a trap of wasting a lot of time talking to somebody who's simply in the research phase of the process, and not in the phase where they're ready to hire.
3. You don't have an outreach plan.
I hear it all the time: "I'm not getting any new clients!" "I'm not growing my business." "Nobody's reached out to me lately!"
Well, are you being strategic and intentional around finding yourself new clients? Or are you waiting around without a plan, hoping they'll just find you themselves?
You need to be willing to put in the work to honor an outreach plan.
If I've learned anything from working with clients, it's that there are so many ways of avoiding the courageous and risky undertaking that is reaching out to a potential client.
You need a plan. You need to commit to the plan. You need to put yourself out there.
4. You're deferring leadership to the client.
Imagine this: You've finally got that potential client on the phone. You go in thinking you'll chat about what you do and how you'll do it. But, next thing you know, your potential client is running the meeting. And you're just going along with it.
That's like going to the doctor, telling them what you suspect, and having them say, "Yeah, let's go with that." Or meeting with a lawyer who tells you, "Hm, no worries, your ideas sound like a good place to start." Or finding a dog trainer, snowboard tuner or anyone else who should have a specific framework and processes, but who leaves you-- not the expert-- to call the shots yourself.
When you hire someone, you want to know that the person in front of you knows at least a bit more than you do about the service you're looking for.
Deferring leadership to the to the client, and not taking control of the process yourself, is a huge lost opportunity. You want them to know:
that you've been doing this for a long time
that you have a plan to get from A to B
that you have a specific, trusted process
that your service outlined by you can help them
That means you need a solid Client Discovery and Onboarding process that includes you asking the client questions-- not you just hoping that you come off as the expert without actually learning the true thoughts and needs of your client.
If you're realizing that you're making any or all of the mistakes, know that it's common-- and fixable!
Did you think any of these thoughts while reading the roadblocks?:
"Shoot, I have no idea if I'm positioning myself to stand out in the market. I wish I had tools to help me solidify that."
"Wait, what exactly drives my clients to buy? I think I need to build more trust with my leads... Is there a template for that?
"But I haven't found a sustainable strategy for outreach that I'd actually use! I feel like I'm starting with nothing."
"I need a plug-and-play tool to help me work through a Discovery Call. I can't just wing it anymore."
The Basecamp Freelancer Client Accelerator was made for you if you're struggling to get a consistent client base.
We'll meet four times in October 2023 to perfect your positioning, build your client acquisition cycle, craft an outreach strategy and step into leadership in your client partnerships.