Lockdown has been, and continues to be, hard on freelancers. Empty inboxes, cancelled gigs and being ghosted by clients were as much a part of the pandemic experience as binge-watching Tiger King and family pub-quizzes on Zoom. But with an uncertain economic climate and a full return to “business as usual” looking still some way off, many companies are looking towards freelancers to get them back off the ground. Taking on a freelancer is less of a risk than a new hire, and many freelancers’ skills make them uniquely suited to this brave new world of remote working and adaptable business.
In this blog, we offer our top tips for building up a solid client base that will keep you busy despite COVID.
Network – but take it online
In-person events are still few and far between, but opportunities are opening up online. Online seminars, workshops, and conferences may not be quite like the real thing, but still offer great networking opportunities if you ask a clever question, get talking to someone in the chat section or share your expertise as a virtual speaker. Plus there’s social media – a great place to look up opportunities, see who’s taking pitches, and to promote your services.
Reach out to old clients
If you had people that you were doing work for before lockdown, it may be worth a quick reach out by email or phone just to let them know that you’re available again and good to pick up where you left off if they need a helping hand. Chances are they’ll be delighted to share the workload with someone who already knows the business and doesn’t need bringing up to speed.
But we wouldn’t stop there – in fact, we’d say, go as far back in your little black book as you dare! You never know how previous clients’ circumstances will have changed during the COVID crisis and your email might hit their inbox just at the right time.
Reach out to peers that work in a different profession
Ant and Dec. Macaroni and cheese. Jedward. Some of the best things come in twos – and it’s the same with freelance hires. Teaming up with a pal with a different skillset can offer opportunities for client cross-selling. If you’re a copywriter, perhaps you could link up with a graphic designer and offer a full ad team? If you’re a UX expert, team up with a programmer and offer a complete website build and code. If you’re an influencer or stylist, team up with a photographer and create the portfolio of dreams. Clients love this because it saves them the work of looking for two hires. This is especially true if one of you has worked with them before – they’ll know your work is of high standard and trust that you’d only team up with someone equally awesome. You’ll each gain access to the other’s networks and could both find work that would otherwise have been totally off your radar.
Make sure you have a good contract ready to go
Impress the client and snap that business up quickly by having a contract set up and ready to go, containing all your key terms and conditions. Make sure it includes crucial information such as: your invoicing and payment terms (including bank account details); cancellation terms and kill fee; and ownership and copyright terms. A contract protects both you and your client by setting out the expectations and responsibilities of both parties right from the outset. You may want to include a section that you amend for the specifics of each assignment, including pricing and rates, deadlines and agreed brief. If you are creating a new contract or altering the terms of an old one, we recommend that you get it checked over by a solicitor specialising in contract law before you send it out to any clients, just to be on the safe side.
Make sure you have business insurance all set up
As a freelancer, assuring the client that you have business insurance in place shows that you’re a responsible, experienced professional, which in these competitive times could give you the edge. Being able to reassure your client that you have coverage that will protect you both if things go wrong takes a lot of stress and risk out of the transaction – with freelance insurance, you’re a safe bet.
Dinghy insurance is tailored to the needs of freelancers working in uncertain times. You can set up your cover, amend your requirements and make a claim all online, all the time. You’ll get professional indemnity cover and public liability cover as standard, and we’ll replace any lost, stolen or damaged business equipment within 24 hours or transfer you cash. Our freelancer assist service can also help you chase unpaid invoices (because that cash really would be handy right now, wouldn’t it?) and, because no one knows what’s around the corner, Dinghy’s unique benefits include being able to turn your cover on and off as you need it – as flexible as freelance life itself.