Thursday, March 6, 2014

Five Ways to Turn Your "Professional Liability" Into A Marketable Credential (Part 4)

In my past several posts, I have talked about liabilities that are confined within an aspiring freelancer's habits and work ethics. As I discuss further, the next one is related to the people who comprises the greater part of what could be a thriving career. Here it is:

Professional Liability Number Three: Ineffective skills in negotiating with clients

When you have not assessed yourself and your capabilities accurately, or you don't have enough confidence in your abilities, chances are you're charging less for your services than you truly deserve.

Or, you're landing projects and assignments that have proven to be quite lucrative because your clients are willing to pay, but you only have a vague idea how to keep your rates within reasonable parameters.

Lastly, the worst type of clients are those who will not hesitate to haggle, which is very different from feeling entitled to get a good bargain for their money. You can guard yourself against being taken advantage of by pumping up your negotiation skills. 

  • If your problem lies in clients saying that you're charging too much, sometimes it could be due to the fact that working with a freelancing professional is still a relatively new concept to some people. Some clients may even argue that if you're really good, you should be in a company's payroll. This can be solved by making your website, blog, or other marketing materials like business cards, brochures, or flyers look as professional as possible. In general, choose a simple, clean layout with minimal frills. 
  • Provide samples of your past assignments and projects, but use them sparingly. Group them into categories if you have two or more expertise.
  • Ask for testimonials from satisfied clients, and include them in a web page or a different portion of your brochure. This has proven to be one of the best ways to promote yourself, and it's also one of the most cost-effective.
  • Be prepared to itemize in a written document or email how your clients can get more value out of outsourcing their projects to you. Usually, a freelancer can boast of a faster turn-over rate, a more personalized service, and better attention to details. Free rewrites or modifications are also a unique privilege when a client hires a freelancer.
  • Never start a project until your flat fee and a down payment has been settled.
  • Get everything written down in your Freelancer's Contract, and save a copy for yourself and furnish a copy to your client as well. 
  • Provide your clients the option of paying on an installment basis. After your flat fee and a down payment has been settled, succeeding payments could be spread out on a four-part or even up to a six-part installment basis. To illustrate, if you're charging USD800 (which is roughly equivalent to Php35,000) for your services in website development, the first installment could be made 15 days after you started the project, and each succeeding payment could be made on each 15-day interval. If you spread out the payments into a four- to six-part installment, that would give you two to three months -- enough time to finish the website.

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