A great topic suggestion came from Philipp last month. He asked me to write an article about how to acquire your first customer as a freelancer. I am aware that there is no universal patent remedy for this topic. However, from my experience I know that freelancers should follow a certain order before they approach their first client. Therefore I will start a small series of articles today, which describes the procedure and the individual steps. Step 1: The offer optimization.
Why offer optimization?
The best offer is useless if nobody takes note of it. To make your services visible to a large number of potential customers you need a whole bundle of marketing activities. Before you invest a lot of time and money in marketing activities, the first step should be to optimize your offer. The better your offer, the more efficient your marketing activities will be. Before you invest even one cent in marketing, you should ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want?
The first question sounds banal. But the answer is often the result of an intensive thought process. It is crucial for success that your future freelance job matches your personal passions to a large extent. Only if you act with passion and conviction will you find the necessary strength in times of crisis. I wrote a contribution on this topic with the wheel of life exercise some time ago. It is an interesting exercise that helps you to find the focus in your life. Find out what is really important to you and what you are burning for!
What do the others want
In the previous question, you were thinking about yourself a lot. But we do not live in a single cell but in a society, in a market with supply and demand. As a freelancer, it is not very promising to stubbornly carry out one’s own program without responding to the needs of potential customers. For example, as a web designer you have a bad chance if you still specialize in Flash websites just because you enjoy working with this program the most. Find out what your target group wants. Your offer must not only be consistent with the person but also with the market. What would you pay attention to if you would buy the service you offer yourself?
What is your unique selling point?
And finally there are the dear competitors. In the digital age, we as freelancers no longer compete only with local providers but with the whole world. It is not enough to simply be cheaper than the others. Big internet portals connect freelancers from all over the world with the right clients. The hourly rate of a freelancer from Bulgaria or India you will hardly be able to undercut.
My tip: Think about unique selling propositions that strengthen the customer’s trust in you and your work. Don’t formulate hackneyed phrases but clear promises. To make this statement a little more tangible I would like to give you a small example.
A pizza delivery service wants to convince its target group of the fast delivery times.
Poor quality promise: We deliver faster than the others!
Good quality promise: Pizza in 30 minutes, otherwise the pizza is on the house!
The creation and optimization of your offer is the foundation of your freelance work. Even as an established freelancer you are well advised to invest some time in your own offer optimization. It is of crucial importance to recognize how relevant your offered services are for your target group. It is equally important that you can really identify yourself with the services you offer. Only if you act with conviction and passion will you survive times of crisis and stick to your goals. Keyword: intrinsic motivation. Discipline and perseverance decide between success and failure.
In the next article I will describe the second step. I will give you helpful tips on where and how you can best test your created offer (Proof of Concept). If you liked this article up to this point I am looking forward to your Like on Facebook. For suggestions and feedback you can use the comment function.