THE ‘3G SYSTEM’ FOR SUSTAINABLE FREELANCING!
-> Along with my full-time SMM internship lately, I also started actively searching for freelance projects.
Little did I know that apart from the skills you serve as a freelancer (which are undoubted to be of utmost importance), there are several other things that are required to run, not just a freelancing business but a sustainable one.
-> This post is about my latest personal learning that helped me deal with my first ever freelancing client.
Let me share the ‘3G System’ necessary to have in place in a freelancing journey.
I. Getting Clients
II. Getting them onboard
III. Getting Paid
So let’s get started… 🙂
I. Getting a Client:
-> There are two ways you make it happen – FIND your clients or make them find YOU!
-> For starters, let us just have a look at what all are the actionable steps to ‘FIND your client’-
✅ Cold calls & Cold emails.
✅ Facebook and Google Ads.
✅ Visiting local businesses physically.
✅ Freelancing gigs from Fiverr, Upwork, etc.
🙁 But none of this was a source of my first client. This is when your efforts result in the ‘Client finding YOU’:(.
-> For the last 2 to 3 months, I got active in various social media groups and platforms. Lately, I also started publishing some content as well. I contributed to various individuals through my comments and sometimes DMs too! I saw a lot of engagement on LinkedIn as well.
-> All of this is a part of my inbound marketing strategy for getting clients. When people started inboxing, “I read your post/comment in the _____ group, it was really helpful”, I understood that I was going the right way and will definitely get my first client through this!
-> And I did! I received a similar message a few days back, but this time with an extra message; “Can you help me with my Ads?”
-> This brought me to a realization that NONE of the above practices, be it outbound or inbound, are wrong in the first place. It’s just that some are definitely much more powerful! Inbound strategies and personal branding is the long term way for a sustainable freelancing client acquisition system.
II. Getting them onboard:
-> I have heard about freelancers losing clients, just because they had no proper onboarding systems in place.
-> Did you wish for a client, just to keep on sending hundreds of emails, messages and wasting huge time explaining them minute details about getting started?
-> This is where a proper onboarding system comes for the rescue.
-> Let’s see what all comes in the process of onboarding a client-
✅ All the necessary accesses (depends on service)
✅ Paperwork, contracts or agreements in place to ensure accountability
✅ Business information of the client that you’ll need during the service
✅ Confidential credentials of the client’s digital assets.
This might seem a hell of a task to begin with. But trust me, once you set up and streamline the process, the client will feel comfortable working with you, and it shows how seriously you take your work.
Now let me give you actionable steps that you can do to streamline your system. (Pay close attention!)
1) There are two easy ways to get accounts’ access. Either get on a screen sharing call with your client, handhold him/her through the process and get it done.
-> The second way is, create a custom page on your website, and upload small pre-recorded videos there guiding them to take necessary actions. Once they are done from their side, you complete your part and get started with work.
2) Paperwork is crucial while working remotely or handling overseas clients.
-> Create a word document by referring to a number of articles and videos online, and make a template of your own. “IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO TAKE LEGAL EXPERT ADVICE WHILE DOING THIS STEP!” Now, what remains is finishing the paperwork.
-> Don’t send the documents straight away as a Word or PDF document. I personally recommend using software like ‘PandaDoc.com’ or ‘DocuSign’. All you have to do is, upload your contract/agreement document, place custom fields like company name, client signature, date, etc., assign your client as a signer to those fields and send it via email.
-> No downloads, no physical signatures, no hassles. I am personally using and loving PandaDoc for my own onboarding works.
3) In case you need to get more details such as target audiences, demographics, locations, etc. all you need to do is create a Google form questionnaire.
-> Again you save your time on messages, video calls, and huge number of emails.
4) In case you require credentials of the client’s digital assets, either include it as a part of your Google form questionnaire or simply request them via email. Make sure you include a confidentiality term in your agreement to make the client feel comfortable following the process.
III. Getting Paid:
-> This is where most freelancers neglect and might lose out on major chunks of their freelancing business revenue.
-> Before getting to ‘How’, first, fix your ‘What’!
-> Be clear about your services and charges for the same. Be reasonable. Do not try to charge too high that does not match with what you could bring to the table, and also do not charge in peanuts and spoil your sustainability.
-> Once you are clear with your ‘What’, it’s time to think of ‘How’. Set standard options and finance operations for your business. This includes-
✅ Your invoices and
✅ Payment gateways.
-> If you are serving in India, there are multiple ways you can do this. Bank transfer, UPI, etc. are some of the ways the client can fulfill your payments. But when it comes to serving foreign clients, a major concern for freelancers is getting the maximum conversion rates as well as a secure way to receive payments.
-> Here I’d recommend Payoneer, after my own research, for invoicing and collecting international payments. It is simply because of better conversion rates into INR as compared to other alternatives like PayPal.
-> While requesting payments through Payoneer, you would be asked to upload a custom invoice PDF, which you can easily create using the website ‘freeinvoicebuilder.com’.
-> I hope this post added some value to you as a freelancer.
Do share in the comments below what systems you follow to streamline your business operations.
Thanks And Regards 🙂