The freelance lifestyle is an attractive one. But with all of the flexibility comes the reality that work might not always be as regular as we
You do great work. You maintain your professional development. You network whenever possible. So why aren’t you getting more clients? There are many answers to that question, ranging from psychological to tactical, and likely the reason for your lack of clients is a mix of the two.
Step one is to hone in on the root cause (or causes) of your challenges, so you can address them head on and move forward. Here are three potential reasons with tips for getting past the problem and attracting more clients.
You don’t put enough stake in your website
Your commitment to refining and maintaining your online presence—including your bio—has a direct impact on your business. Your website, social channels, and even email communications are all a reflection of your business and your work. Not only does your website represent your brand, but it makes you accessible to potential clients around the clock, allowing you to attract leads in your sleep.
At any time of day, potential customers can use your website or online portfolio to learn more about what you do, browse your services, and get in touch. If this destination is poorly designed and/or hard to navigate, you risk losing points with a potential employer or collaborator.
How to Get Past It
If your website is a critical piece of your sales process, or if your audience will likely make decisions regarding hiring you based on it, then you might consider paying a web designer to tackle the project.
“An experienced website developer will know that it’s more than coding your website. They’ll know that design and search engine optimization is important, and that branding is more than a color scheme. It’s how your business makes customers feel, which is conveyed through design, words, and yes, the use of color,” explains marketing consultant Allie Gray Freeland.
This has become a cost effective option, even for new freelancers and new business owners because you can often find individuals, rather than an agency, to do the work. In fact, per one study 40 percent of small businesses have used a freelancer or consultant to manage their website needs.
If you lack the budget, there are myriad of technologies and platforms that have effectively leveled the playing field. Squarespace is an easy-to-use option that offers elegant and sleek templates with drag-and-drop design interfaces. B12 is another company that uses AI to design gorgeous websites at a fraction of the cost.
It’s normal to be afraid of expanding your business, which means more responsibility and more chances to fail. The fear of failure ranks as the No. 1 phobia among Americans. Of those polled, 6 percent cited giving up a promotion and 13 percent cited losing a job as a result of their fear.
As an entrepreneur trying to build a freelance business or otherwise, this paralyzing fear could be what’s costing you clients. Without more clients, your business is at a standstill, unable to grow or scale.
How to get past it
Being a solopreneur is about taking calculated risks to grow your business and better yourself, so do your homework, but don’t be afraid to take a leap. The first goal in getting past this fear is to identify its source. Are you afraid of…
- Not being good enough for more or bigger clients?
- Not measuring up to competitors?
- Not being able to run a larger, more successful business?
Once you know what you’re afraid of, find a mentor or business coach. They’ve likely experienced similar fears and can give you tips and ideas for working through them. When you reach the other side, you’ll be ready to take your business to the next level.
You need to do less
You need to have clarity about your ideal client and how your services benefit them specifically. Without this, you deal with sporadic clients, reducing the likelihood of consistent work; not to mention many of these clients may not be ideal, suggests business coach Jenn Scalia.
“You must be absolutely clear on who you help and how you help them,” she said. “Now I’m not talking about being super niched down, although that helps, but you have to be able to express to others what you do in a clear concise manner that is understandable to them.”
This information informs some of the most important areas of your business, including your marketing materials, sales pitch and outreach process. If someone is unclear about what you provide, they’re more likely to look elsewhere. It’s all about matching up what you have to offer with what a prospective client would value in the context of their business goals. It’s as simple as that!
How to get past it
Here two simple ways to get past this common business roadblock:
- Look back at previous work. Where have you been the most successful? What work did you enjoy the most? Perhaps this should be your new area of focus.
- What is your North Star, or your “Why?” Why did you start this business? Why are you passionate about it? When leads come in, it’s easy to get distracted by “needing” the business. Eventually you’re just taking work here and there, and lose track of the reason why you’re doing it in the first place. Return to your North Star to find that clarity.
With this knowledge, you may consider re-branding or modifying your website to represent the new focus. Ask former colleagues or mentors tor react to your positioning and growth strategy. You can even A/B test two landing pages, one focused and one not, to see which drives the higher quality leads.
There may be dozens of reasons why you’re not getting new clients, and these three are likely involved in some way. Use them as a jumping off point to determine what’s happening under the surface and how you can remedy it.