It’s not an uncommon for me to have conversations with freelancers who are trying to make a living with their talents, particularly in the WordPress marketplace. Many of these freelancers have the right skills but they don’t always have the right business experience to achieve success. Even with the increasing demand in the freelancing economy for web tech or design talent, there are no guarantees you will make it.
Over the years I’ve noticed some big reasons why freelancers fail in business. I’ve seen these reasons contribute to the demise of many good WordPress designers and developers. The good news is if you recognize the symptoms early enough, you can cure the disease
Why Your Freelance Business Might Be Failing
Bad Pricing Strategies
Again and again I tell freelancers that pricing will greatly affect their ability to make a living and stay in business. You need to know how to sell on value, how to value your talents, and understand that you need to make a profit, not just a paycheck. Do this for me. Repeat these words.
I am in business to make money and a profit!
Say it again or say it a hundred times over until you get it. Almost 90% of the people I’ve coached or been asked advice from are too fearful to charge enough for their services. They don’t believe in their own value or they try to undercut the cheap service companies to get work. This will quickly kill your business and your dreams. While you might not be able to charge premium prices right now, that doesn’t mean you should set yourself up to live in the poor house either. Get a grip on effective, profitable pricing today!
Lack of Confidence
Nothing turns away potential clients faster than a lack of confidence in your skills and abilities. You must show them that you have what it takes to complete a winning solution for their needs. This doesn’t mean you have to know all the answers or offer every skill – far from it! I get asked about web development issues or advanced WordPress features all the time that I have no clue about. I simply say I don’t know and that I’ll either find the answer or refer them to an expert and they respect that. Focus on your strengths and the value you bring to the table with 100% confidence. It will help you sell your services.
Inability to Execute Properly
Once you have a client interested in your services and who is willing to pay you, you have to complete the project correctly. This includes client communication to project management to the actual work and invoicing. You have to set up a proper business system and execute it properly. Setting up a business system ensures you do the best work for your client and helps you deliver a great brand experience. I highly recommend reading The E-Myth Revisited to help you think through this strategy. This book radically changed my business.
Not Responding in a Timely Manner
Potential clients expect you to respond to them in a timely manner. Nothing is worse than expressing your interest in working with a company and then not hearing back from them or getting a response three weeks later. This is unprofessional and it sends a bad message about your brand. People will talk more about their bad experiences than their good ones. Can your business really live with that? I’ve generated over $20,000 in business in just six months just by responding to emails that other companies ignored! Responding to potential clients properly can make a huge difference between feast and famine as a freelancer.
Your Ego is Better than Your Skills
I’ve heard numerous stories about two larger web development firms in my industry ticking off clients because they believe their shit doesn’t stink. Just because you’re known in your industry or have some “rockstars” on your team, doesn’t mean you should treat people poorly. Eventually people will get tired of your show and leave. It’s one thing to show confidence in your abilities and another to be a pompous ass. Your gold star will eventually tarnish and lose its luster. Treat others with respect.
You Aren’t Willing to Work Hard for Success
Let me share a little secret … If you aren’t willing to work hard for success, you’ll never achieve it. If you believe you are going to succeed on talent or good looks or charm, then you’re never going to have a sustainable business. You have to put in your time, get in the trenches, and go beyond what other freelancers are willing to put in. You are going to have to give up in order to go up,
The Opportunity is in Front of You
There is a high demand for talented people in the creative and web tech industry. You can make a wonderful living and enjoy the fruits of your labor if you do it right. But you need to recognize that there is more to making it as a freelancer than talent and skills. Invest in your business experience and learn from others. Identify the “diseases” and cure them so that you can have a long, healthy life in the freelancing economy. Keep your freelance business from failing.