So many creative freelancers work alone, either tucked away in a cafe, home office, an agency surrounded by people they don’t really know, or a co-working space with people working on unrelated projects. It can be isolating. So, we felt a confidence boost might be in order, so asked an expert what might help bolster our confidence and in turn, help us in our freelance business. Happy reading.

WHETHER you’re considering setting up a freelance business, or have been in business for a long time, confidence is an important asset. Being a freelancer can be tough and if you lack confidence, both in yourself and your services, you may find it difficult to set adequate pricing,  promote and market your services  and deal with those awkward and demanding clients effectively.

Here are my top 5 tips for being a confident freelancer:

1)  Get your pricing right. Having coached many freelancers and business owners, I can honestly say that over 80% are undercharging. Many feel scared to raise their prices in case their clients don’t think they’re worth it. Many often feel uncomfortable even quoting their prices to prospective clients. As a result, they often feel resentful or their business ultimately folds as they become discouraged and fail to make any profit.

It’s important to get comfortable with your pricing to try standing in front of the mirror repeating what you charge over and over again until you feel comfortable. When setting prices, be sure to cover all your overheads including direct and non-direct costs and factor in your time and expertise.  If you drop prices or give discounts frequently, create a PDF document which details your pricing schedule that can be sent out to prospective clients. Make sure you also value your work sufficiently that you are prepared to lose a sale, rather than continually dropping your prices. If you do find yourself just competing on price, then it may be time to position yourself in the market more effectively.

2)  Be clear on the scope of your work.

Many freelancers end up giving away free add on’s or doing extra work just because someone ask them too. They may not feel comfortable saying No and as a result, end up literally working for nothing. Care about your time enough that you stick to the hours you’ve quoted or the time you are actually paid to work with a specific client.  Have a few assertive statements up your sleeve such as:

‘I’m happy to send you a quote for that extra service’

‘If you would like me to do that, I am happy to send you a quote.’

‘Our time is up now, we can discuss this during our next appointment.’

3)   Have Terms and Conditions in Place.

Good terms and conditions are the boundaries of your freelance business, and set clear expectations between you and your clients. All too often, freelancers fail to clearly state up front what is included (and not included) in their service. As a result, they end up doing more work than they thought they would. It doesn’t matter how big or small the job is, make sure you and your client are clear on what you can and can’t deliver within the price and scope you’ve set.

Take the time to get these right and include information such as payment terms, cancellation fees and scope of service. Good terms and conditions will protect your business, define your procedures, limit your liability and explain what you have agreed to do.

4)  Become Empowered.

Do you control your business or does your business control you?  Pointing the finger of blame at your customers or always complaining about them are signs of a disempowered freelancer.

Empowerment comes from choosing to take responsibility for solving issues that aren’t working, rather than just feeling helpless or resentful. For example, instead of complaining that your customers are always late paying your invoices, do something about it and put protective measures and processes in place to prevent this happening.

5)  Don’t compare yourself with the competition

It’s easy to lose your confidence if you’re always comparing yourself to other freelancers. Be proud of your business and what you’re doing, rather than always wishing things were different. Every huge successful business started small, so be patient and encourage yourself rather than beating yourself up.

Lisa Phillips
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