How to Become a Successful Freelancer

Simon and Alan are at Oxford University to give you tips on how to become a successful Freelancer.

Note: This transcription has been generated with AI and there may be errors present. 


So the question we’re looking at is, what are the top things that freelancers need to know when they’re starting their business? And the first thing that jumped into my mind is a question we get asked all the time, which is all about, should I be doing stuff for free, as a freelancer, as a photographer, as a graphic designer, or web designer should not be doing this stuff? For free. So here’s my take on doing stuff for free. There’s free. And then there’s free, there’s two different types of free, there’s the free, which is, yeah, sure, I’ll turn up and do stuff for free and get paid for it and spend all the time blood, sweat and tears creating stuff for you, they’re not gonna get any money for it, there’s that kind of free, or that’s the kind of free where you can do a deal with your customers in advance. And here’s how it goes. The first thing you need to consider is, are you going to get paid at some point in the future? If so, it’s great to set out your pricing at the start of the conversation. So you might say something like, Okay, well, I normally charge 50 pounds to do this work. But because it’s you, or because it’s this particular project that I’m interested in, because I’m fascinated about doing a great job for you, or because I need to build more portfolio, I’d like to do this work for you for free. But if you could help me, get some contacts introduced me to some other people do a testimonial for me, these are the kinds of transactions that can take place, there’s things out there that are a lot more valuable than money, because by doing a piece of work for free, if you can get five paying customers, that’s going to be awesome for your business. So for this, there’s two different types of free, there’s there’s bad free, and there’s good free. I’m suggesting that good free could be really good for your business. As a

freelancer, how do you get your customers? How do you find people to work for? Well, I’ve got three ideas for you. Number one, is use sites like Elance, or people per hour to put your services on. They already have communities of buyers that are looking for freelancers to do things for them. So check out people per or Elance. Or there’s several other sites out there that allow you as a freelancer to promote your business for free. The second is build a free website. So use something like Weebly or Wix. We recommend Weebly because it’s the one we use to build our own website, build a website saying what you do, and get it out there to people to see what services you offer. And the third is go to your network. There’s all these people you know that need things. Find the people you know, on Facebook, find the people, you know, on LinkedIn, speak to the real physical people, you know, not just electronic friends, and ringing them, email them, mail them speak to the network. Because as a freelancer, there is more than enough business hiding amongst the people that you already know. So those are three ways for you to find customers when you first start out as a freelancer.

Okay, so here’s one of the other questions that we get from freelancers, how do I price my work, and pricing? Look, it’s a bit of an art, there’s lots of different ways that you can price your business, whether you’re a consultant, whether you’re a freelance creative, or whether you’re someone who’s selling a product, here’s some of the things that we’ve learned about pricing. The first thing is, you’ve got to know your marketplace. So spend a bit of time on Google, spend a bit of time on the phone, spend a bit of time with your friends, and your family and your network who know your market so that you can get an understanding of the price range. because there’ll be the top end, you probably don’t want to go in at the top end when you first start your business. And then there’ll be the bottom at the cheap end, you probably don’t want to be there either. Because once you start there, it’s very difficult to go back to your customers and ask them for more cash. Once you’ve already set your price down here, you probably want to be somewhere in the middle. And then you need to understand what kind of value you’re giving for where you’ve priced yourself. The other bits of pricing is, it’s really good, it’s really good to understand exactly what it is your potential clients and customers are going to be looking for. Because if you give them the price straightaway, if you’re too high for what they think they’re going to pay, you’ve missed the chance of having a great conversation. Because if you start off on the payment conversation, they’re probably not going to buy from you anyway. Especially if you’re in the mid range. If they’re buying on price. It’s the wrong conversation to have the conversation that you really want to have is look before we get into the pricing thing, I just need to understand exactly what it is you’re looking for. And then you can price it accordingly.

So the last little thing for me is always remember the upsell. My friend Billy told me about this the first time I’ve put into when a piece of business. He said put your price down and then offer a couple of optional extras when you do it. So I was putting a proposal together for the Times newspaper to run some training courses for them. And I put at the bottom add in an extra day of coaching for only 300 pounds. They take The box, it won’t be 300 pounds of extra business for just one line of extra text. So if you want another example, Amazon of the kings of this, they always put in people who bought this also bought this or buy this, this and this together. So think about what else can you offer the people you’re seeing to add in an extra element to upsell, the amount of money you’re making from every deal. We think those are some of the top things you need to know to get going as a freelancer.