This is a post by a new contributor to the QuoteRobot Blog, Kenny Grant. Kenny is a former freelancer, startup founder, and currently the Entrepreneur in Residence at Full Stack.

Today we're going to cover the basics of what it takes to become a successful Freelancer in 2013. Here are a list of recommendations to help you win more contracts and set yourself up for long-term success.

###Have a great web site

Can people find you? Do they even know you exist? Do they know who you are, what services you offer and your previous work/clients? Regardless if you freelance under your name or a company name, you should make it extremely easy for clients to find you. Every Freelancer should have a homebase to point people to. If you don't have a website, you need to get one. Here are few website solutions: Wordpress, Tumblr, Square Space and Google Sites. You can create a nice looking website using one of these services for under $15 per month (including domain name).

Your website should include details about yourself (or your company), the services that you offer, contact details, previous work/portfolio, and links to your social media accounts. We recommend registering a website domain for a polished finish. There are thousands of websites to register domains (called registrars), but we recommend, or the all-in-one solution offered through Wordpress or Square Space. Once your website is live, you should include the website everywhere: your business cards, your quotes (within QuoteRobot), email signature, and to anyone you meet.

###Be awesome at social media

Social media matters. We don't think you need to spend hours per day updating your social media pages, but at the very least you need social presence. Another important reason is to protect your brand. Imagine another freelancer registered your name or company name. Total bummer. =(

There's hundreds of social networks, but all Freelancers should create and maintain accounts on the following services: Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. Ideally, you should snag the same username/handle for every social network (ie. "AcmeCompany" - username for Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook). Aim to use the same avatar photo, profile bio (who you are, your location, what services you offer, etc.) and a link back to your website.

Not every social network is for customer development, but important for networking, mastering your craft, gathering feedback and finding like-minded professionals to learn from. If you have more time, register accounts on your corresponding freelance vertical.



Event Planners:


###Sling some shiny new business cards

Are any of your clients or potential clients local? If so, you should create business cards that include contact details, services offered, and a link to your website. Check out Jukebox Print - they offer free business card tools and competitive print fees (Watch their twitter feed for crazy business card coupons). When creating your card, use these biz card tips:

###Get organized

Have a systematic approach for organizing your time, projects and customers. Start early and review your workflow regularly. We like setting calendar reminders every 90 days to complete an internal audit of processes and toolsets. Here's a list of tools we (Gavin and I) use for organizing day-to-day tasks.
Collaborating with other Freelancers will require some organization attention, especially if you work remotely. Some teams use an IM system, but it's up to you.

###Communicate like a hero

Regularly communicate with your clients. We prefer weekly calls for large projects to ensure everything is going 'according to plan'. Here are few basic recommendations people often forget:
  • Plan your meetings - Plan an agenda beforehand. This will clearly show your clients you value their time and are on top of the project.
  • KISS - Keep It Super Simple. Don't confuse your client; keep it straight to the point and super simple.
  • Action items - Have clear next steps and action items for your client.
  • Email follow-up - After the meeting, thank the customer for their time and reiterate action items and next steps.
###Ask for feedback regularly

Don't be shy to ask your customers for feedback - it's the best way to ensure customers are happy with your work and to improve your trade. If something isn't right, fix it. A happy customer will share their experience with others and will come back for the next job.

Try asking for feedback via email versus in-person or telephone. Some clients avoid confrontation and will defer honest opinions face-to-face. You could use a google form or a simple email with questions to gather feedback. Here's an example of an email I used for feedback last year:

Bonus: Ask if you can include their work on your website as portfolio items.

###Showcase your best work

Showcase your work on social networks. Mention the client, the details, attach photographs, videos or anything related to the project. This tells customers you super pumped about their project, proud of your work, and genuinely wanting to help promote their company/project. It also showcases your skills to existing and potential customers.