Why Do So Many Freelancers Struggle To Earn a Full-Time Income?
Being a freelancer sounds good in theory. You have the freedom to do what you want, when you want. You can choose the clients you want to work with and set the prices you want.
Many freelancers are digital nomads and travel the world while making a living from their laptop. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?
But here’s the ugly truth…
Only a small fraction of all the freelancers online truly make a full-time income and have a good life. The rest struggle to find work, which tends to be sporadic. Some don’t even get hired.
- So what do the winning freelancers do that the rest don’t?
For starters, they’re humble when starting off – especially when no one knows them. Charging high rates when no one knows you is a sure-fire way to sabotage your chances of getting hired.
The hard truth is that success begets success. The more work you’ve completed and the more positive reviews you have, the more people will want to hire you.
This is why the popular freelancers keep getting work while the struggling newbie can’t get anyone to hire him/her. They lack the social proof. Skills-wise, the newbie and the successful freelancer might be equally matched.
In some cases, the newbie might be more skilled than the experienced one… but no one wants to take a chance on him/her.
So what do you do?
How’s a beginner going to get people to take a chance of them when they have no track record?
- Follow this strategy
Initially, no matter how skilled you are, if no one knows about you, you’ll need to eat some humble pie just to get the first few sales. A tiger always crouches before it leaps.
In this case, it may mean lowering your prices and offering more value which will be delivered in a faster time. While you may attract more difficult clients (since those who pay less tend to be more problematic)… what you’ll be gaining is experience and reviews.
This social proof is priceless to getting the ball rolling. When someone hires you, do the best work you can in a speedy manner. The goal is to get as many positive reviews as you can.
If your client loves your work, do ask them to leave a positive review, if possible… and maybe even send a few referrals your way.
Once your freelancing business gains traction, you’ll reach a stage where you have more clients than you can handle. If you don’t get here yet, join more freelancing platforms and open accounts there. Set up gigs so that you get more eyeballs on your services.
This is a numbers game. When you have more business than you can take on, gradually increase your rates in small increments… at intervals. Over time, you’ll reach a sweet spot where you’re charging the prices you want and getting sufficient work.
Not to mention, at higher prices, you’ll attract a better clientele and will not feel like you’re pulling your hair out to satisfy cheap and demanding clients.
This is the best way to approach freelancing. Most beginner freelancers feel like they’re too good to under-price their services initially. So they struggle to find clients and gain momentum. The end result is that they quit and blame the market for being saturated.
Always remember that the cream rises to the top. If your work is excellent, you’ll never be short of it and join the small, elite group of freelancers that rake in six figures or more yearly.
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