Friday, November 18

Cabin Fever - 15 Ideas for Freelancers. Pt. 10-15

Here's the third in a 3 part series in a guide to home working, I'm a complete expert at it, I've been doing it for a WHOLE YEAR!  OK, maybe I'm not, but these are my thoughts from year one.

11. Be Scallable

All freelancers rate themselves very highly, that's why they're freelance, they've got their targets and they're going to stick to them, it would be a total insult for them to go under their perceived hourly rate, and to a point I do agree. Often our skill are totally undervalued, but never lose a job because you couldn't bring yourself to adjust a quote to a client's budget (within something like 20%). At the end of the year add up the quotes for all the work you didn't get and halve it and tell me you don't want that kind of money sitting in your account. Work harder, be flexible and remember we're in a recession.

12. Have Resources for Backup

You need a team of reliable people to manage your overspill. Remember if you turn down a piece of work, your client is going to get it done somewhere else, the chances are that next designer is going to look at your work and say it sux, they all do it, you've done it! When that happens your client will be swept off their feet into their arms. Have a good back-up team in place, and don't worry about making money on a job to keep service levels consistent, just keep your clients happy.

13. Invite Feedback

You need to know where you're going wrong, nobody is flawless and the only people who can judge you are your clients, your wife, husband and parent don't count. Set up a feedback form on something like SurveyMonkey and send it to clients when their jobs close, ask questions about delivery, pricing and time scales and look for patterns in responses. Also don't just send it to the clients you know you've done a good job for, you have to be grown up about this in the history of the world there has never been a successful Business-Baby.

14. Charge for Account Management

As a designer you probably don't feel like you can charge for Account Management, but managing the job is always going to eat into your time, trips to meeting, expenses and phone calls are all going to cost you money, make sure you have an hourly rate, that's lower than your Creative rate and put some Account Management on every job, clients will expect to see it on there, and you have a right to charge it. Please note, this doesn't not make you an Account Manager, so don't start ruining your own ideas and going for really long lunches (only joking, KB, ST, HL, PB, CH, EP, JW, CH, TR, SS, and any others I might have worked with or known).

15. Commit to doing a lower number, and when it comes to it, do more, or say you'll do it on Tuesday and do it Monday... (OK!... Under Promise and Over Deliver.)

Yup, you made me say it! This is pure business talk, and you probably hate it, but it's a really good piece of advice, and one that's so easy to implement and makes you look great. Under promise on your delivery, so tell a client the work will be ready Wednesday and aim for Tuesday, tell them they'll see 3 concepts and get 5 ready, these kinds of things will create a positive aural around your company and make your client relations fluid and rewarding. Don't tell them you'll be at a meeting at 9am, and turn up at 7am, though that's just stupid.

What do you think? Have you got any good tips for Home Workers? Do Share them.

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