There’s inherent value that you offer your clients by providing your services as a freelancer!
It’s easy to question your value if you’re new to freelancing, if you’ve had a steep learning curve, if you haven’t realized profitability, or worse, if you’ve recently lost clients.
All of these can take a toll on your confidence and leave you wondering if you should bother to market your services at all.
However, maybe it’s time for you to take a break from running with the big dogs and take things back to the basics. Maybe it’s time for you to reflect upon the inherent benefits you bring to a potential client and use them to use advantage as you’re presenting your contract proposals.
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s five for you to use in your pitches, now:
1. You Save Clients Time And Money
When an employer hires an employee (at least here in the U.S.), they’re legally responsible for paying for things such as government taxes, maternity leave, unemployment benefits, and family leave under specified circumstances.
A half-decent employer also provides their employees with a health care plan, vacation play, sick pay, and disability benefits. All of these can add tens of thousands of dollars per employee to the payroll every fiscal year. But client employers don’t have to deal with these issues.
As a freelancer, you are responsible for keeping record of your earnings and reporting your own taxes. When your contract expires (or if you’re terminated) then you’re not eligible to receive unemployment benefits from the client. You’re also responsible for purchasing your own health, disability, dental, business and misc. benefits.
A potential client will realize immediate savings by hiring you strictly for what you can provide without worrying about investing a great portion of their operating budget to keep you around. Having said this, there are plenty of options available for freelancers who need to purchase their own benefit plans.
Make sure that the price you quote for your project (or your retainer) gives you the ability to pay for all of the benefits and insurance you’ll require.
2. You’re Easier To Hire And Fire
There’s all sorts of federal laws and local regulations (again, here in the U.S.) that are in place to protect employees. These laws ensure that people are being hired fairly while being able to maintain employment fairly.
However, your clients aren’t encumbered with laws that regulate if they should fire you, how they should fire you, etc. While no one wants to be fired, this is a benefit for your client, and if you can find a way to gracefully exploit this in your marketing media, then do so.
Note: This doesn’t meant that you should devalue yourself! You are a business professional, and you have an obligation personally and professionally to protect yourself. You can protect yourself by producing transparent, highly-detailed, crystal-clear contracts (and/or proposals).
Using a professional proposal template will also assist in protecting yourself, especially if the issue needs to be settled in court. Bidsketch offers the type of professional software you’ll need to impress your clients, protect your interests, and save you and your time time.
The proposal/contract writing process is the time to address issues such as specified project scope, project requirements, fees, and payment schedules.
Nolo is a legal website that also offers guidance regarding contracts for independent contractors in the U.S. International freelancers should consult with their attorneys or with reputable legal resources in their countries.
3. Freelancers Aren’t Restricted By Geographic Location
Thanks to technology (Skype, FB, Twitter, emails, VoIP), a client can work with freelancers all over the world.
For example, I live half way across the country from Bidsketch’s home office in the U.S. I also have a writing client who is based in South Africa. And, although I’ve never been to Australia, I was able to build an affiliate marketing website for a client who moved there.
In the near future, I plan to join the expat/digital nomad community, and there’s no reason for business to stop since I currently work from home, anyway! As long as I gain access to a reliable internet connection, I can stay in business with the laptop I already own.
When a freelancer moves to another geographic location, they don’t have to stop working for their clients, and they can keep marketing for more. As long as they have access to a reliable internet connection, then business can continue on as it normally does.
Clients should also be reminded that sending payments to their freelancer isn’t restricted by geographic location, either. Most freelancers (and a great deal of agencies) send their invoices online and collect their fees on international payment processors such as PayPal.
U.S. clients also use online accounting services such as FreshBooks, and Quicken. The client never has to worry about sending a check, checks getting lost in the mail, etc.
Another issue that clients don’t have to worry about is freelancers not being able to come in to work due to inclement weather (rain, flooding, snow) or transportation issues (their car broke down, they have no car, public transportation issues).
As a freelancer, your commute is comprised of the time it takes for you to sit down in front of your computer!
4. Freelancer’s Work Schedules Aren’t Restricted By Business Hours Of Operation
A traditional employer is legally required to set a work schedule for their employees. This means that any tasks or projects in progress are produced within the boundaries of the employee’s work schedule.
If an employee can’t come in to work for any reason, the work they’re responsible for must wait until they’re legally able to come back to work. But as a freelancer, you can opt to work as early or as late as you see fit.
You can work late into the night, at the crack of dawn, during traditional lunch hours, or you can opt to work on the weekends. If you chose to, then as a freelancer, you can work during travel or national holidays, too. All of this allows you to create increased work-flow efficiency for your clients.
5. Your Client Only Pays For What They Need
U.S. employees are required to be paid regardless of how much work they’re able (or willing) to perform. Also, the scope of the work they perform can ebb and flow as they advance in their efficiency and their capabilities.
This means that the average employer finds themselves spending untold sums of money paying employees for coffee breaks, smoke breaks, office/cubicle visits, etc., in addition to the job the employee is supposed to be paid for!
As a freelancer, you’re only paid for the work you perform. You base your fee schedule on a flat fee per project, or a retainer. Your fee is determined based upon the value of the project in question, and it’s based upon your expertise as a provider.
But as I’ve mentioned earlier, make sure to include personal and operational costs in your fees. It costs money to keep the lights on, your rent paid, etc. Don’t make the mistake of believing that you don’t have operational expenses working from home because you do!
Also, don’t feel guilty about compensating yourself for working from home because if you rented an office, then you’d be responsible for paying a rental/leasing fee, utilities, parking, etc.
Check with your local accountant to learn if you can claim your business operating expenses as a tax deduction. In the U.S., if you work from home, then you might be able to claim some of your household expenses as a business deduction. These include mortgage/rent, utilities, and any other expenses that directly correlate with operating your business.
There are probably more advantages you can present to potential clients for hiring freelancers, but these are five advantages that no reasonable client prospect will be able to resist!