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 namecheap.com, 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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: