Becoming a Freelancer is really cool. Like the cliche – It gives you the Freedom. You are your own Boss, you choose when to work and when not to work, no going to an office, great money, etc etc etc.
On the outset, it seems like a Dream Life, right?
But there is 1 thing you need to consider and plan for before you really take the jump into Starting Your Career as a Freelance Digital or Social Media Marketer.
And the 1 thing to Consider and Plan for is: A System to Generate New Clients and Deliver Services to them Month after Month so that you don’t have to worry about paying your bills and meeting your lifestyle goals.
You see, when most people jump into Freelancing the first time, they forget that they are now Entrepreneurs of their own life. They are not just responsible for technical Digital Marketing stuff but are also responsible for getting new clients, negotiating the fee with them, communicating with them, managing them and most importantly getting paid on time.
And without a proper system to do all of it. Without planning ahead for it, they end up Struggling to make ends meet and pay their bills.
Now if you are reading this, I’m assuming that you are either already Freelancing as a Digital or Social Media Marketer or you plan to go the Freelancing route.
And I don’t want you to make the MISTAKE of going ahead on this path without a plan. I don’t want you to Struggle.
So my Goal in this article is to give you my 7 Step Freelance Success Formula so that you too can Start or Grow Your Existing Freelance Career without Struggling or Worrying about meeting your Lifestyle Goals or paying your bills.
In this article, you will Learn:
– How to Start and Grow Your Freelance Business
– How to Get New Clients as a Freelance Digital or Social Media Marketer and
– Most Importantly, how to build a system to make Consistent Revenue (at least 1 Lac or $2000 or above) month after month as a Freelance Digital or Social Media Marketer.
So if are you ready to learn my 7 Step Formula to Starting and Growing Your Freelance Business as a Digital or Social Media Marketer, whilst making pretty good money on the side – then let’s dive straight into the 7 Step Formula!
Here is what the Formula looks like:
I’ll now walk you through each step of the process in detail.
Step 1 of 7 to Start And Grow A Successful Freelance Digital Marketing Career:
Define Your Happiness Number!
Now, this may sound very basic, but it’s really important that you do this. The reason most Freelancers struggle financially is that they never plan for it. The first thing you need to do before you actually start working on your Freelance Career is to be aware of the amount of money you would need each month to meet your Lifestyle Goals and Pay Your Bills.
This is the 1st thing we ask all our students in the 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program to do. We ask them to put on paper an amount that they must earn each month to meet all their needs and stick that page at a place where they can see it every single day.
Remember, you are a Freelancer now. If you don’t work, if you don’t go find clients, money ain’t coming home. So seeing this number every day serves as a good reminder to go get the work done to build your Freelance Business.
So now that you know why this is Important, let’s go ahead and calculate this amount. When you calculate, make sure you factor in everything. For example – your rent, EMI’s, bills, travel, food, vacation, diesel, etc. Now, whatever amount you come up with after calculating all your expenses, you want to add an additional 20K to it.
Let’s say, hypothetically after calculating all your Expenses and Lifestyle Needs, you come up with a figure of Rs 80,000. So the number you should aim at each month is Rs. 1 Lac.
You always want to make a little more than what you need. You want to Save and Invest for a rough day or an unexpected calamity. So the additional 20K is for your Investment purposes.
Alright, so now that you have your Happiness Number on paper and stuck to a wall, let’s go to Step 2, the more technical aspects of running a Freelance Business.
Step 2 & 3 of 7 to Start And Grow A Successful Freelance Digital Marketing Career:
Your BIG Promise to Your Ideal Clients!
I’ve combined Step 2 and 3 because they are intertwined and connected. Please read on and it will all make sense, I promise!
The Common Mistake most Freelance Digital Marketers make is they offer every Digital Marketing Service to every possible client from every possible industry. They offer SEO, Campaign Management, Email Marketing, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, etc to clients in E-Commerce, B2B, B2C, Service industry, etc.
Trying to be everything to everyone is the BIGGEST Mistake in marketing.
Plus, it also Hampers Your Growth as a Freelancer, here’s why:
Let’s assume that you work with 3 clients today. One a pure B2B business – a manufacturing company, the second one an E-commerce company and the third one is a Motivational Speaker. And if we also assume that you are doing Google Ads management for client #1, SEO for client #2 and Facebook ads for client #3.
Now as a one-man or woman army, as a Freelancer – You have to learn, study and understand 3 different industries to deliver results to your clients which is a heck of a difficult job. Knowing it all about 1 industry is difficult, to say the least, and when you have to research 3 different industries and be updated about them, you are increasing your workload exponentially.
Well, and your problems don’t just end with trying to learn and understand about 3 different industries and it’s audience. The fact that you offer so many different services, you also need to be updated and have to master different domains of Digital Marketing which is a really time-intensive thing. You need to be at the top of the latest changes in SEO, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Email Automation, etc.
It’s like trying to do masters in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc. When you chase too many rabbits, you’ll catch none. Similarly, if you try and master too many concepts in too many subjects, you won’t become good at any one of it, right?
That’s why You should NEVER offer multiple services as a Freelancer unless you have a BIG team where every member specializes in a different vertical of Digital Marketing.
The key to making a Great Living and Having the Freedom and Time as a Freelance Digital Marketer is to become a Specialist. Like a doctor that specializes in one thing.
Pick one vertical of Digital Marketing that you love and are really good at, and focus on delivering Great Results to your clients with that one thing.
Your one thing could be SEO or Instagram Growth, or it could be PPC campaigns…
So in a nutshell: Pick one service. Pick one industry that you are passionate about or already know about. And Create a marketing message talking about the results you can deliver to a client in that industry with that one service.
Remember this: Clients don’t hire you for SEO or PPC ads. They hire you hoping they would get more Clients/Customers and make more Profits. So you need to start selling results to your clients – with a Results-Driven Marketing Message for your Service.
Here is an example assuming you love SEO: I can help you increase your Organic Traffic by at least 150% in 90 days.
I spend considerable time personally working with the students of my 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program in helping them craft their Result Driven Marketing Message. If you too would like us to help you Kick-Start your Freelance career, Click here to Apply! Creating a Results-Driven Marketing Message is extremely Important if you would like to Attract Clients who pay you high fee! So, I hope the SEO example above serves as a great reference point for you to create your own message.
So to re-iterate step 2 and 3: Pick one service – Pick one industry and
Craft your Results Driven Message!
Now that you have your foundation ready – let’s go find some clients – shall we?
Step 4 of 7 to Start And Grow A Successful Freelance Digital Marketing Career:
Prospecting: Where do they hang out?
By this point, we are crystal clear about the kind of clients you want to work with and the industry you want to work for. And by this point, we also have your Results-Driven Message ready for your Ideal Clients.
So the next thing you need to do is get in touch with your Ideal Clients and let them know you exist. You could do this by tapping into platforms where your clients hang out.
Let’s say, you want to work with clients in the IT industry because you have an IT background.
Great, in this step, you want to ask yourself, where do my Ideal Clients hang out the most?
Well, the 1st place that comes to my mind is – LinkedIn.
Awesome! So now that we know they hang out on LinkedIn, if you already don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, you want to create one and start connecting with your potential clients. In the 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program, I teach our students my 4 Step LinkedIn Client Attraction Process.
Apart from LinkedIn, there are two other remarkable platforms to look for these clients. Want to know the names of those platforms? I usually share these names with my students only but I’m making the exception of sharing it on this blog post. So without further ado, the names of those two platforms where you could look for your ideal clients are:
Upwork: www.Upwork.com, and
Freelancer: www.Freelancer.com, or www.Freelancer.in
(I’ve hired some extremely talented freelancers from these sites).
Connect NOT Sell!
And last but not the least, you could even search for your potential clients on Google and find the email ids of the right people in the company you are targeting by using a tool like www.Findthatlead.com or www.Findthatemail.com.
You see, our goal at this step is to start connecting with your potential clients. And when I say connection, I don’t mean sending out spammy messages or emails like:
I’m XYZ and I do this and this. I’ve so much experience and I’m the best, I’m this, I’m that…etc.
Give me your project and I’ll prove it to you.
Well, this is what most Freelancers do and you don’t want to be one of them.
At this step, you want to start off by building a relationship with your potential clients. You do it by reading more about them, their work and connecting with them on something that really stood out for you while reading about their work.
I teach about this in detail in the 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program. I share all my templates with our students so they can start off the connection building process on the right foot. If you want more details – you can know more about the program here.
But I’m hoping you get the point of what needs to be done. Connect NOT Sell!
So to Re-iterate: You want to start connecting with your prospects by sending them personalized messages. Your goal should be to connect with at least 10 prospects every day so you always have your pipeline full and you never run out of clients.
Please note – Not everyone you message or send out emails to will respond to you. If you send out the generalized message, you would be lucky to get 1 out 10 prospects to respond to you.
If you send out personalized messages like I teach in the 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program, you should see at least 4 out of 5 clients responding to you, which is a great number.
So let’s assume you create and send out the personalized message like the ones I teach to all our students in the 1 Lac Club, the next step is to catch up with your potential clients over a ‘Cup of Coffee’.
Step 5 of 7 to Start And Grow A Successful Freelance Digital Marketing Career:
It’s Coffee Time!
Now that you have some connection going on with 4 out of the first 10 prospects we reach out to, it’s time to fix a meeting with them (a phone call would do if they are in a different city or country).
The message to fix the meeting could be a Simple one, something along these lines:
Hope this week started on an amazing note for you.
I don’t know if you know this. I specialize in working with IT Companies by helping them Increase their Website Traffic Organically by at least 150% in JUST 3 months.
How are you placed this week? I was wondering if we could catch up over a cup of Coffee and I could show you how I can help boost your website traffic organically by at least 150% in Just 3 months.
Look forward to meeting you.
This is just one of the message templates from the 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program. Students who are selected in the program receive all my Proven and Tested message templates to help them fix more meetings and get more clients.
Now if you notice in the message above, I wasn’t talking about SEO here. If you loop back to what I told you earlier, Clients only care about Results, not the technicalities.
If I message a client saying, let’s grab a Coffee so I can sell my SEO Services to you, 99.9999% times, you will never hear back from the Client!
So remember, the key here is to create messages that talk about the benefit a prospect would have if they met you. You need to customize the message a little bit for each client based on their earlier response.
Of course, not all prospects would agree to meet you or respond to your message. So what do we do in this scenario?
If you go back to the Main Flow Chart above, you would see that at Step 5, if a prospect does not reply, we have a 3 message sequence that goes out 8 days apart.
So in the next 8 days, you send them 3 different follow-up messages.
These messages cannot be pushy or salesy. At no point in time, you want to appear Desperate. So don’t send out messages like – Interested? Can we talk? Hello, did you read my message?
You get the point, right? Messages like these would kill the conversation and client conversion.
Here is what you should be sending out instead. Now I wished I could have posted all the 3 messages here, but then it would turn this blog post into a 50,000-word book. So instead of the posting the complete message templates, I will give you a gist of what needs to go out in these messages.
Of course, if you would like to get all our templates and need mentoring in learning this system in detail to Kick-Start Your Freelance Career, click here and fill out the application form for the 1 Lac Club and we will get in touch with you soon!
So coming back, here is a gist of the 3 messages:
Message 1: A gentle reminder about your earlier message with a helpful tip.
Message 2: Some development in their industry, you want to verify with them because they are the expert. This is just one of the ways to get someone to respond.
Message 3: A hack their competitor is using to get better results that they should incorporate.
If you send out these follow-up messages in the next 8 days, you most likely would get a Go-Ahead for the meeting or the phone call.
Remember this, not every prospect is going to say Yes!
That’s why in the main Flow Chart, you see I ask you to repeat Steps 4 to 7. As I told you earlier, your goal is to reach out to 10 New Prospects every day. So you end up with at least 2 meeting or phone calls each day. That’s about 60 Meetings approximately in a month. And from these, even if you are the worst communicator and you end up closing only 2 clients at 50K/month, that’s enough to get you to the 1 Lac per month mark.
And if each client works with you for say an average of 3 months, then from the second month, your earning goes up to 2 Lac and so on and so forth.
But hey hey hey, let’s come back to the article.
We still haven’t Closed the Client, we still haven’t turned the Prospect into a Client. At Step 5, we just got a YES for the meeting. While we should celebrate this, we should also remember that the battle is still half won!
You have a Major Challenge coming up now, which is where MOST Freelancers and Entrepreneurs Fail – Selling their Service. So let’s talk about Step 6, shall we?
Step 6 of 7 to Start And Grow A Successful Freelance Digital Marketing Career:
The 2 Biggest Mistakes that most Freelancers or Service Providers make while meeting a potential client are:
1) They sell their services for cheap! Most Freelancers undercharge and sign up clients for peanuts. They look at some low-end service providers and what they charge and end up quoting low fees to the clients.
2) They Promise to do 10 things for the price of 1. So while trying to sell the client on SEO services, most Freelancers end up saying, I’ll do Social Media Management, Designing, Content, etc for the same fee.
Now the reason why most Freelancers make these Mistakes is that they don’t have a Client Communication Script and they don’t know how to handle common client objections.
The SECRET to getting paid a HIGH fee that you Deserve and having a client work with you for the long-term is your Communications Skills and how well you handle client objections.
You see, most Freelancers try and sell their service during the meeting and not the results. And to get the contract, they start pitching how they are better and cheaper than others.
Your goal in the meeting is to NOT pitch but Probe Your Potential Clients. By this, I mean, you should be asking them the challenges they are going through as far as your service is concerned. You should be trying to discover their needs and then talk about how your service is a solution to their Challenge.
Most Freelancers and Service Provides do it the other way around and they end up getting objections like:
- I’ll think about it and let you know
- I need to speak to my partner, I’ll get back to you
- I’m getting a better deal with this other freelancer, so I’ll pass.
And because they don’t have a script to handle these objections, they come out of the meeting empty handed or with a client that’s paying them peanuts.
To make sure you Close the Clients at the Fees you Deserve, you need to Control the Meeting. And that can only happen when you have a Client Communication Script, so you exactly know what to say when.
You know exactly what to say, when a prospect says, I’ll think it over and get back to you…
You know exactly what to say, when a prospect says, I’ll speak to my partner and get back…
These are very common objections and if you have the right scripts to prepare yourself for the meeting, you can easily overcome these objects and close the client.
Now I wish, I could share all the scripts we give our students in the 1 Lac Club here. But like I said earlier, this would turn this article into a book.
If you want to learn all the Client Communication Secrets, Objection Handling Secrets and Get all our Scripts and Templates, Apply to join the 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program. We have dedicated 2-week training in this 12-Week program to help you develop these Client Communication Skills.
But if you don’t want to Invest and Speedtrack your Growth and Freelance Career and you prefer to do it on your own, you could read Brian Tracy’s book on Closing. Although his book would help you learn the Closing Part, it’s not the complete formula. It doesn’t teach you how to Greet, Start and Lead. But it’s a good place to start to build your own scripts.
Remember at the start of this article, I told you that as a Freelancer, apart from technical Digital Marketing expertise, you are now responsible for Getting a Client, Communicating with a Client, Negotiating the Fees and Managing the Client after you begin with the service.
So this is the most critical step in the 7 Step Process – Client Communication.
This is the 1st time you actually speak to a potential client and it all boils down to how well you Communicate in this Meeting or the Phone Call. So whether you get selected to join the 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program to develop these skills or you do it on your own – practicing and getting better at this step – should be in your Daily To-Do List!
To Re-Iterate: Get Your Client Communication Scripts In Place either by joining a proven program or by building them on your own. Practise Everyday for at least 20 minutes.
To Close the Client and Get the BIG Fee – You need to Lead the Meeting, Probe Well, Prepare to Handle Objections and Close the Client.
Alright, so by the end of this step, you’ve signed up your first client. It’s time to celebrate. You did great! But wait, there is one last thing you need to do well before you go out and celebrate all out.
Because if you don’t do a good job at Step 7, you may probably ruin everything you did from Step 1 to Step 7.
What am I talking about? Let’s jump right at that in step 7.
Step 7 of 7 to Start And Grow A Successful Freelance Digital Marketing Career:
Let’s assume that You do a great job communicating and leading the meeting and the client signs up. But once he goes back, he speaks to his partner and for whatever reason feels like he did a mistake by signing up.
You know the common “Buyer’s Remorse”.
I’m sure, we have all felt guilty sometime or the other in our life after making a purchase. And when that happens, all we want is the Money Back! It could happen to your clients too, not because you did something wrong. But only because somewhere, deep inside they are still not confident that they would get the result you promised.
So before that happens to the client that you just signed up, you want to make sure you eliminate any doubt they have in their mind about hiring you as a Freelancer. You want to build their confidence immediately after they sign you up.
This can be done in multiple ways by having a fixed and documented client management process. Our students in the 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program have access to all the Client Communicationation and Management Templates.
Here are some Client Communicationation and Management Templates you need to create:
1) Welcome Kit:
As soon as a Client Signs Up, send them a Welcome Email or a Welcome Kit! The purpose of this is to reinforce the belief in you. A typical Welcome Kit would have a copy of the Contract, the Agreement Letters, and a Warm Welcoming Email.
2) Set the Expectations:
When you send the welcome kit, you want to make sure that you set their expectations right from Day 1. You see, the #1 Mistake Freelancers or Service Providers make is to NOT let the clients know what they can expect from day 1. And when you leave it open, the clients build their own expectations which in most cases is above and over what you discussed to deliver. So you need to have it all documented and deliver to the clients, so they have the right expectations. And when you set this up correctly, the relationship most likely becomes a long one. It should include Payment Terms, Reporting Timeline, Communication Guidelines, and most importantly you need to include what results they could expect in the next 10 days, 30 days and 3 months.
3) Make them a Part of the Project:
Not being in the loop is the #1 reason clients end services with Freelancers or Service Providers. You want to make sure that your client is updated about everything that’s happening as far as the project is concerned. Of course, you don’t want to call them every day or send them daily reports. You could do it by using an App like Trello or Slack. We teach our students to use both, Trello and Slack for their client projects.
The whole point is to create Trello Cards with specific time framed benchmarks and update all the project progress in their respective Trello Cards. And since the clients are added to their exclusive Trello Boards (Projects), they see a real-time update of everything that’s happening with respect to their project.
We teach our students to eliminate email communication completely and only communicate via Trello and Slack. This reduces the chances of any confusion with clients and hence lays a foundation to build a strong relationship.
Well, if you Implement JUST these 3 Client Management steps, the clients will want to work with you for a long run and running your Freelance Business would almost be Stree-Free!
My original plan was to write a 2000 word article. I just realized that this one turned into an almost 5200+ words post and a little less than 4500 words after editing.
I hope I was able to give you a Framework to Start and Grow Your Freelance Business. This is the exact Framework I use to date to get new clients for my Digital Marketing Agency and Content Marketing Company (Contentorial). And I know if you follow this process and steps to the Letter, you would end up with New and Happy Clients Each Month. And you should be able to meet your Income and Lifestyle goals – easily (given you follow the process and put in the work).
If you would like to Get Access to all our Templates and get Personal Mentorship to Start or Grow Your Freelance Digital or Social Media Marketing Career – Then I INVITE You to Apply for the 1 Lac Club – Coaching Program. It’s a coaching program, where Sandhya Valecha, Namrata Soni and I personally work with you to help you Launch Your Freelance Career and Hit Your Dream Income Goal! For more details and to Apply – Click here!
And if you have any questions, please feel free to drop them in the comments below. If you would like me to cover any specific topic, feel free to let me know.