One of the most common questions I get from freelancers is “how do I get high paying clients?”. A freelancer recently told me, “You know what, I’m doing great, but I want to work for projects that pay thousands and not just a few hundred bucks.”
If this sounds just like you, keep reading, because we will cover nine traits that you need to attract high-paying clients.
1. Be Attentive and Responsive
This might seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a multi-thousand-dollar project that I’m hiring for, and I’ll go two or three days without a response from the freelancer. I start to wonder how much they want this job. I recently had a freelancer who yawned at me and didn’t show any interest in what I was saying. That freelancer gave me an awful impression.
When you apply for a job, make sure that you respond to your prospect’s messages within 24 hours. During the interview, show the client how much you like learning about the project. If you need to take a coffee to perk you up before the meeting, by all means, do it. Show your client that you are interested in taking the job. Reply to their messages quickly and pay attention to what they are saying.
2. Great Reviews
If you have positive reviews from your past clients, it will really improve your game. What people say about you can influence a prospect’s decision whether to hire you or not. A single bad review might be enough to turn-off a high paying client. To get positive feedback, do your very best in every project, no matter how big or small the payment is.
3. Excellent Reputation
Building an excellent reputation is very important if you want to score bigger projects. Many clients do background checks. If they Google your name and all they see are pictures of you smoking pot, that can create a bad image of you. I mention that because I recently Googled a freelancer I was about to hire and found something similar. If you want to make your money freelancing, you have to keep a professional reputation online.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
4. Social Media Posts
Be careful with what you post on your social media accounts. Remember that if you have a public account on social media, everyone can see all your posts. Your social media pages can help you “brand” your expertise.
If you post irrelevant items, it will not give clients an idea of what you can bring to the table. Make sure that you use social media pages to your advantage by showing to your prospects your expertise, portfolio, and reviews of your past projects. Create a different account for your professional profile, and keep all your post related to your work.
5. Respect Your Rate
No matter how badly you need a job, don’t sound desperate. If you charge $200 an hour and a high paying client comes to you and says, “Will you work for $50 an hour?” Some freelancers would say, “Yes, sir. I just want a job sir. Please give it to me sir.” Stop! Don’t beg for it.
If you respect your rate, people around you are going to respect you too. Learn how to negotiate your price, or even better show your value so you don’t have to negotiate. If somebody’s asking you to lower your rate to make room for their budget, there are ways to negotiate around that.
6. Stop Selling Yourself
During an interview, many freelancers get on the phone and start talking about themselves and how great they are. It’s a natural instinct to sell yourself right away. But what you really need to do is to listen to your prospects, let them say things that they need you to know.
Process the information your prospect gave you and give them ideas on how your expertise can solve their problems. A phone call is not a billboard for you, even though they’re going to ask you questions, and it’s okay to answer them and show your expertise. It’s the best time for you to understand what the project entails. It’s not just about them qualifying you, but you should be qualifying them as well.
7. Know the Scope of Work
Understand what the work entails. This way, you will know precisely how to execute the job, what your timetable is, what information you need, and how many revisions it takes.
Write down the job description, not just on the phone, but before the actual work begins. Doing that will help you attract high-paying clients. New clients who are inexperienced in hiring freelancers don’t generally have a clear scope of work or don’t communicate it. Those that understand what it takes to hire somebody, whether freelance or on salary, will clearly communicate the scope of work.
Be confident not only in yourself but knowing that you can complete the task. Confidence is probably the number one factor that can help you get great work. It’s not everything you say or know, but nonverbal communication also shows if you’re confident or not. Many body actions such as shoulders up, back straight, and chin up, tell others that you are a confident person.
Many politicians have mastered the art of confident speaking. When they say something, even if they don’t know what they are saying, people still believe them. You don’t have to be a politician; you just need to believe more in yourself and learn the right gestures.
“Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t, pretend that you do and, at some point, you will.” – Venus Williams
9. Show that You Can Manage Up
Managing up means that you have the right skill set to make your boss’ job easier. If you can show that you don’t need additional communication to do the job right the first time, it means that you’re managing up.
For instance, if your prospect asks you to send him your portfolio, send relevant collections only, and don’t ask what type of portfolio he is looking for. Anticipate what they are asking for. If he asks you what time is right for you to meet online, answer him with something like, “I am mostly online between 8:00 to 5:00, CST, Mondays-Friday. If you’re available tomorrow, that’s great. Let me know what time.” Getting your message across without the need to go back and forth makes communication more efficient. It also tells your client that you are managing up well and gives him a good impression of how you work.
It’s not easy to get a high-paying client. Don’t expect that you can get one on your first year in freelancing, but I have seen it happen before. Remember that you need to build a good reputation first before you can catch a big fish. But if you will follow the tips above, you may be able to climb the ladder faster than the rest.