Have things slowed down for you lately? Or are you still waiting for your business to take off? Here are 4 tips to help you keep your freelance gig moving forward.
If you are a freelancer, then you probably already have a business plan and marketing strategy in place. These things are good and given the proper thought and implementation, your business should be doing well.
But perhaps things are not going as well as you like. I have learned over the years that it is good to take time to reassess your freelancing gig. Looking back at my biggest successes as a Freelancer, I found that they were the result of these 4 basic principles. I call them the V.E.S.T. principles.
Step back and look at your vision. What is it exactly you want from being a freelancer. There are plenty of reasons for being a freelancer.
- Be your own boss
- Choose your own hours
- Choose your own clients
- Work from home
- Determine your own net worth, salary and raises
- Spend less time working and more time with family
So find out what it is that is most important to you. Make it your vision. Write it down. And remember visions can change. Perhaps you just love your job so much you can do it 12 hours a day and enjoy it. And then one day you get married, have kids, and now your vision includes working less and having more time with your family.
So now you have spent some time thinking about your vision. Perhaps it is a little different than what it was when you first started freelancing. The next step is to evaluate where it is taking you and if it is taking you where you want to go. And then you need to look at the strategy you had in place and determine if changes need to be made or if you are still right on course.
There are some great companies that have had the same vision and strategy for many years and it has worked out great for them. But I think in today’s day and age, the successful entrepreneur should be prepared to re-evaluate the vision and strategy as often as circumstances, technology, society and the industry changes. And those changes are taking place far more often than they did just 5 years ago.
So now that you have evaluated your vision and have decided what changes you need to make, you need to come up with strategies. It’s one thing to say this is where I want to be and and the old strategy wasn’t getting me there. And it’s another thing all together to make a new strategy so that you can get back on course.
For example, back in 2012, I was at a point where I was finally ready to act on a vision I had for many years which was to be my own boss. So I took some time to evaluate my situation. I evaluated my financial situation, the bare minimum our family could live on, the services I could provide and the tools I needed to get started.
Then I came up with a strategy. You see, although I had always wanted to do web design, I did not have a marketing budget. And the only two clients I had to start with were for bookkeeping services. But since I had been working with several non-profits and had such a wide variety of experience, I came up with the idea to present my services as remote back-office services.
- Tech Support
- Website Design
- Social Media Marketing
- Human Resources
Once I had felt comfortable with all of the above, I immediately took action. I started with building my own website (Quiroz.co) and began putting the word out there to all my former colleagues and small network of friends. And within weeks I began picking up small jobs which eventually amounted to larger contracts. Within just a few months my freelance income was enough to support my family of four.
4. Take Action
This last one seems pretty obvious. But this is an important one and can’t be emphasized enough. You have to take the first step. You have to initiate some action. When I take the time to do this, I am able to move forward and to see progress with my online business. I think this goes for any business really.
In December of 2013, I took some time off to go through these V.E.S.T. principles. I realized my vision was beginning to change. It was no longer just about being my own boss. I realized I wanted to spend more time doing something I loved. I realized I did not want to do bookkeeping and other back office services all my life.
Originally, I was planning on building up a team of folks and create a large business. But then I realized I really enjoyed working from home and I wanted to do more web design. So my strategy was to spend all my free time sharpening my web skills and trying to make a name for myself as a solid designer. And that’s where the Divi Tutorials came in. And things just got better and easier from there.
Then in December of 2014, I took some time off to go through these V.E.S.T. principles once again. Guess what? My vision changed again. I realized it was time to focus strictly on Web Design and I wanted to start earning passive income. I realized vacations are hard when you only get paid for the work you do. I needed to get paid even while I was not working.
So the first thing I needed to do was launch a new Web Design agency now known as Monterey Premier. Within one week of making this decision, the business was founded and the new site was up. It turned out to be a very popular site at the time and it garnered a lot of attention right away. Taking action paid off.
The strategy I came up with for the passive income was building child themes. These are products that web designers could purchase to get a jump start on their Divi website projects. But I knew I needed to get the community excited about this. So I recruited some of the most popular and talented folks in the small Divi community (at that time), and introduced them to the idea of a Divi Child Theme Marketplace. That project evolved into what is today known as ElegantMarketplace.com.
I now sell anywhere from about 5-10 websites a month through the marketplace. And another 4-5 on my own shop. At $175 a pop, it is starting to make for a nice little income stream. But it might not have happened had I not spent countless hours getting things started. I designed, developed, and launched the first phase of the marketplace without any financial compensation because it was a good idea and contributed to my own personal strategy. I took action and months later it has paid off.
And last but not least, as of November of 2015, I said goodbye to the last of my back-office service clients. I was also able to take the entire month of December off. And coming back into the office in January 2016, I have a backlog of web design projects for the next 3 months.
So if your freelancing gig does not seem to be moving forward, take the time to go through these V.E.S.T. principles and see what happens when you start taking action.
Well that’s all for now. I hope you find this article useful.
Would you consider a small tip?
Thanks for sharing Gino. Your article is very inspiring and helpful.
You are a very gifted and knowledgeable person.Your contribution to the Divi family has been tremendous.
May you be blessed in all that you put your hand to.
I have a question for you Geno, imagine you are taking a redesign job as a freelancer, when it comes to the whole website content, does this fall under you to add the content or should this be handled by the site owner?
I understand some demo content needs to be in to see how things would show but should I be adding the whole content of the site?
My default is always to have the client provide the content. I state that upfront. But I do flow the content into the website while I am working on it. If the client wants me to provide the content I tack on the time its going to take me to come up with content including any fees I will have to pay a copy expert or graphic designer.
Thank you Geno for this awesome insight and advice. Many blessings.
Thank you Geno, very useful. I have entered some of the client’s content in on some of the pages, but he has a list of recipes which adding one by one will be very time consuming and therefore out of the scope for the re-design project.
Having a clear vision is the most important part when pursuing a freelance career, Geno! You said it very well here! Taking action after you have a vision and strategy is actually the easiest part.
I just started building my site, miiconcepts.com but im not sure if putting the money straight up is a bad idea. Is it too forward? Anyone have any tips please talk to me!
I put my fees on the website. It helps filter out people who think they can get a new website for only a couple of hundred dollars.
If the client provides the content, teaching how to use everything is apart of it right?
To some extent. But you need to make it clear that you will show them the basics once. It should be up to them to learn how to use it or else they will continue to expect you to teach them over and over again for free. Establish the scope of work before you begin.