Most freelance designers are really bad in sales. We love what we do and we are good at it. We’re passionate about our job and we’re excited every time we start a new project. However, selling your design service is a completely different discipline that requires you to look at your job from a different perspective.
I know many talented designers who have problems with getting new clients and don’t charge enough for their services. On the other hand, there are designers who are not even half that skilled and for some reason have tons of clients and charge top money for their services.
Which one are you?
Stop trying to sell your design.
One of our biggest problems is that we’re too focused on our work and we’re convinced that our beautiful designs will sell themselves. A portfolio is the number one selling point for many designers. I think that’s a mistake.
First, you shouldn’t compete with big design agencies on how strong your design portfolio is because you’ll lose.
Second, don’t compete with other freelance designers by showing that your design skills are better because most clients won’t see a difference between two good designers’ work.
When you’re a freelance designer you have a big advantage over some creative agencies or design firms. That advantage is YOU.
You’re an expert in your profession and your clients have a chance to talk and work directly with you. None of the big companies can offer service on a personal level like this.
In order to be more competitive and have a bigger demand for your services, there is something else you need to bring to the table…
Start selling yourself.
Promote yourself, as a designer, and the benefits of hiring you. Your authority, experience and work ethic will sell your services more effectively than your skills and talent.
Of course, I’m not saying that your skills don’t matter at all. You want to be able to produce high quality work if you want to stay in the game and be proud of your work. All I’m saying is that you should try to increase your credibility and show your other values if you want to get more (and better) clients and charge more for your services.
I believe that authority is the biggest asset where you want to invest your time and energy.
Think about it like mutual funds that you buy for your saved money every month. You won’t get great results immediately. The more you put in, the bigger return on your investment you’ll see over a longer period of time. Moreover, there is completely no risk when you invest in your authority.
You’ll also want to find a balance in how much time and energy you put into your authority and when you actually cash in your return by choosing a project to work on.
Here are some quick tips from my own experience on what you can start doing today to help your freelance business:
- Choose your targeted community and start a blog to build your authority as a design expert by teaching other people.
- Develop your personal brand.
- Join a bigger company to get some more recognition and experience.
- Show off your experience and focus more on “who you’ve worked with”. Show company logos and display all the great testimonials you have.
- Show social proof of your great service; for example, tweets from valuable community members that praise your work.
- Give something back to the community like free design resources, “how-to” tutorials or by simply helping other designers and developers.
- Have an impeccable work ethic that will bring you more referrals from your current clients: meet all deadlines, be professional, communicate with your clients, and show your effort and dedication.
Want to learn more about business?
If you’ve been in WordPress community for a while, I’m sure I don’t have to introduce you to Chris Lema. Chris is a bold member of our community but he is not a WordPress core developer and he doesn’t design trendy WordPress themes. Instead, he focuses on the business aspects of working with WordPress and helps WordPress individual consultants and businesses.
Chris teaches a lot about value-based pricing and shows how important is for your business to know how to charge for your work. I found his posts very interesting because pricing my design projects was always the biggest nightmare of my freelance business.