If you have freelance clients, this post will provide tips on working with freelance clients to boost revenue and increase repeat business.
I’ve been a freelancer since 2013 and have been able to make between $30,000 – $300,000 in freelance income since. It all depends on how much I want to work.
While rummaging through my old computer files, I came across a gem of an audio clip from my days consulting at Personal Capital from 2013 – 2015.
One of the marketing directors wanted me to read an advertising pitch they had put together with an ad agency for a one minute spot on Sirius Satellite Radio.
Although Personal Capital wasn’t paying me big bucks for this advertising pitch, they were paying me 25 hours a week to consult with them in their marketing department. They were free to ask me to do whatever. And I was excited to do whatever they asked as an enthusiastic consultant.
I’d just spent 1.5 years in solitary confinement aka early retirement and was ready for a change of pace. Further, I would be able to give Financial Samurai a shoutout in the ad, which was a nice synergistic bonus given advertising is not cheap.
The ad agency responsible for writing the copy got in touch with me. We worked on some edits together. Everything was good except for one major problem. They wanted me to record the entire 170 word pitch in under 60 seconds!
I told them I’d try. After 15 tries, I told them that if they wanted me to speak in a natural, sexy, and convincing voice, this was not possible. The ad agency came back and basically told me, “You can do it!” So I tried another 10 times with no success.
When Facing The Impossible, Sometimes All You Can Do Is Laugh
Always do your best. But sometimes you’ve just got to laugh at the impossible. Just LAUGH and LAUGH and LAUGH until you start crying with joy.
This recording perfectly incapsulates one of those precious moments. It starts about 20% of the way into the pitch with the first 5 seconds going relatively well until I mess up a line. Then I start panicking because there’s hardly any time left.
Have a listen to the outtake. I was practicing in front of my wife whom you can hear in the background not helping me keep it together!
Tips On Working With Freelance Clients To Earn More
1) Be open to trying anything.
After 13 years in traditional finance and 1.5 years working solo on Financial Samurai, I wanted to try something new. Despite knowing economic necessity was forcing many people to go to their soul-crushing day jobs, I was getting bored staying home all day.
Partly because I didn’t have to work, I longed for some stimulating fun work. I reminisced about the wonderful time I had in business school after learning grades didn’t matter.
When Personal Capital’s marketing director reached out to me about helping them build their content marketing initiative, I agreed to a 25 hour a week rolling three-month contract. It was the chance to work at a then Series B startup, learn about digital marketing, and pivot to a new industry. Further, I craved some human interaction.
Freelance clients like Personal Capital were also open to trying something new by enlisting a personal finance blogger as a spokesperson. In the startup marketing world, it’s all about testing until something hits.
2) Always know your worth.
You’ve always got to start small and work your way up. I was willing to do the radio advertisement based on my agreed upon hourly rate. I also worked way more than 25 hours a week and didn’t invoice for my extra work because I was having fun and learning.
However, for anybody who is more dependent on the extra income, to not charge is probably a mistake. Always know your worth and hustle. Here are some fast ways to make money if you’re interested.
Today, if a company were to ask me now to do some corporate consulting or be a radio advertising pitchman, they are going to pay at least 3X more than what I charged back then due to my intervening years of relevant consulting experience.
It’s important to always reassess the value you provide and the price you charge. This advice doesn’t just apply to consultants. It also applies to folks with day jobs.
The people most mindful of their worth tend to push for and get more raises and promotions. To get rich you must conquer your fears. The preference of most companies is to not give you a raise until you ask for one.
Remember, an employer maximizes profits when its employees stay comfortably numb. Know your BATNA!
3) Don’t take things too seriously.
Reading 170 words in under 60 seconds in a natural voice is nuts. Sometimes your freelance clients expect the impossible. However, instead of getting mad or irritated at being asked to do the impossible, I had fun with it!
If they wanted me to spend hours trying, I didn’t mind because I was paid by the hour. To make things work, the ad agency eventually cut several lines from the original copy as requested.
Due to my light-hearted attitude, I think my client really appreciated my efforts to deliver. As a result, I was able to roll my 3-month consulting contract for another year and a half.
Some folks take things way too seriously. Instead of playing along with head-scratching articles such as, “How To Convince Your Spouse To Work Longer So You Can Retire Earlier” or “How To Get Your Parents To Buy You Everything As An Adult,” they blow a fuse, comment vociferously, and threaten never to return to FS!
And then when I respond in a manner not satisfactory to their liking, I get called condescending or whatever. What a no-win situation.
Unless you’re living somewhere devastated by war with no limbs, life is pretty amazing. You don’t have to always do what you’re told. You don’t have to go to the best schools. You don’t need to make a million bucks a year to live like the top 0.1%. You don’t need to feel offended by a joke. It’s much better to laugh and be happy.
Learn Or Earn With Your Freelance Clients?
For younger folks out there hoping to go straight to the corner office without doing any grunt work, be mindful of whether you are in the learn phase or the earn phase. Here’s how you tell. If you don’t know jack shit, you are in the learn phase. If the company will take a significant hit to revenue or production, you are in the earn phase.
Businesses exist to make a profit. Yes, there are a whole bunch of social missions that go along with running a business as well. Only idiots like me spend hours every day writing new content and never charging a dime. Yet the most important question you can ask yourself is whether you are providing enough value. If you can say yes,your opportunities increase!
I hope everybody gets to laugh so hard that tears come. It might be the most priceless feeling you’ll ever experience. You can choose to have impossible situations get you down. Or you can choose to make the best of EVERYTHING.
Negotiate A Severance
If you want to be a freelancer, then negotiate a severance from a day job you no longer enjoy. If you negotiate a severance like I did back in 2012, you not only can get a severance check, but potentially subsidized healthcare, deferred compensation, and worker training.
When you get laid off, you’re also typically eligible for up to 27 weeks of unemployment benefits. Having a financial runway is huge during your transition period.
Conversely, if you quit your job you get nothing. Check out, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye, on how to negotiate a severance.
I first published the book in 2012 and have since expanded it to over 200 pages in the latest edition thanks to tremendous reader feedback and successful case studies.
Readers, have you ever faced impossible situations where all you could do was laugh? I’d love to hear them! For folks who can’t tell, I’m a joker at heart. If you plan to continue reading Financial Samurai, it’s important to read between the lines.