There are many differences between working as a full-time employee for a company and working as a freelancer in the gig economy. One major difference is your status as a worker: While full-time employees can rely on consistent work and a steady paycheck, freelancers have a less formal relationship with their clients.
And, according to Olga Mizrahi — a national speaker, marketing expert, and instructor in the Digital Marketing Program at the University of California, Irvine — as a freelancer, you should always be looking for new clients.
Why It’s Important to Always Attract New Clients
“It’s important to diversify your client base,” says Mizrahi, author of The Gig is UP: Thrive in the Gig Economy, Where Old Jobs are Obsolete and Freelancing is the Future. “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Serving a variety of new and different clients as you grow your business ensures that if one big client leaves, the departure won’t cripple you financially.
However, while you need new clients, Mizrahi recommends a specific type of new client. “I would say that it’s more important to attract recurring clients, than set up a pipeline of a string of new clients, who may or may not renew,” she explains.
So how do you attract recurring clients? “Make yourself stand out by understanding the unique reasons why clients choose YOU over someone else in the first place,” she says. “If a client has a clear picture of what you offer that others cannot or will not, you will lead the pack in being chosen again and again.”
Mizrahi has worked with a variety of brands through her 12-year old ecommerce and marketing firm, ohso! design, her blog ChunkOfChange.com, and her books: “The Gig Is Up” and “Sell Local. Think Global.” “I’ve had the opportunity to observe, first-hand, the universal struggles that entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and freelancers face, and the pleasure of helping a variety of individuals transform and thrive.”
How to Attract New Clients
Believe it or not, according to a survey by the McKinsey Global Institute, 30% of working-age Americans don’t know that they can earn money using digital platforms. “There are potential clients waiting for you on the other end of the net,” Mizrahi says. “You just need to get in front of them.”
She recommends asking yourself how you can strive for excellence and also aim to make someone’s life easier. Combining talent and ease-of-use is the winning combination for gig success.
If you’re not sure where to start, she suggests turning to some of the online gig platforms, such as Upwork, Task Rabbit, Care.com, or Fiverr.
“The other important site you may have overlooked is LinkedIn,” she says. “Be sure you have a complete LinkedIn profile, are connected with people you’ve worked with and for, and have at least a couple of good recommendations on your page.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of your network – it’s the most important resource you have. “Put yourself out there in the public news feed and tell your network what you have to offer and what you’re looking for,” she says. “You may be surprised who the people in your network know, and who may be willing to hook you up.”
Why It’s Important To Be Ethical
As a freelancer, your success will be based on many factors, including the ability to be ethical. “Business ethics serve several purposes: they align expectations between you and your client, they serve as a reminder about what you will and won’t do (when the going gets rough), and they establish a clear-cut set of standards by which you work,” Mizrahi says. “Honestly, having your own code of ethics is more for you than it is for the client.” If you have taken the time to outline what does and does not work for you, you’ll have fewer headaches down the road.