There are lots of low-quality freelance jobs out there, and eventually, every freelancer reaches a moment where they realize they need to get better freelance gigs.
It’s normal to be less picky about accepting clients when we’re just getting started as freelancers and learning the fundamentals of freelancing. But as we grow in our skills, we deserve better freelance gigs!
Unfortunately, some freelancers continue accepting low-budget, one-and-done projects – but it isn’t because their skills can’t handle expert-level gigs. It’s because they don’t know how to pitch to high-level clients.
Once we have the expertise that high-paying clients are looking for; we can reach that next level of clients; we just have to find them and prepare our pitch.
What do you mean by better freelance gigs?
Since “better freelance gigs” can mean something different to everyone, let’s clarify. In this article, I’m speaking about freelance clients that hire you as an expert AND as an individual. They trust your advice, agree with your prices, and bring you repeat business. They’re also just more pleasant to work with. 🙂
So, how can we spot better freelance gigs and pitch to them successfully?
1. Only choose clients that listen.
High-budget doesn’t necessarily mean it’s one of the better freelance gigs. Sometimes, high-budget projects aren’t all they seem – especially not with a controlling client.
If your potential client doubts your professional opinion or tries to suggest that they know better than you when it comes to your work, it’s best to leave them behind. These clients will likely micromanage and pay you less than what you’re worth.
When you’re feeling out a potential client for the first time, make a valuable suggestion for their project or business and see how they react.
If they shut your idea down and continue talking as if they know best, they aren’t trusting you as an expert freelancer (and won’t pay you an expert-level rate).
If they listen to and consider your suggestion, they see you as a respected professional who can add value to their project.
Continue talking about their project and using your niche knowledge and experience to guide the conversation. You’ll look like an expert in the client’s eyes, and your expert-level rates will seem reasonable.
2. Get to the bottom of the client’s problem.
Top-billing freelancers aren’t simply taking orders from their clients. They’re finding solutions. That’s the difference between low-quality jobs and long-term, better freelance gigs.
If you want to pitch a solution to your client, you have to ask what it is they’re trying to accomplish.
It might feel awkward to ask a potential client probing questions about their business, but they’ll appreciate your interest in understanding. Most clients are comfortable talking about their business, especially if you’re coming from a helpful place.
Your diagnostic questions will signal to the client that you’re ready to invest your time in their problem and use your expertise to find the best solution for them.
They’ll also be much more likely to hire and trust a freelancer who understands how their business works.
3. Understand their future business goals.
To be an expert freelancer who not only proposes but DRIVES solutions, you need to know where it is your client wants to take their business.
Ask your client, “Where do you see your business in three years?”
Using their answer, you’ll be able to consult with your client about the effectiveness of current projects as well as map out practical objectives for the future.
Proposing long-term solutions makes you stand out as a high-level freelancer, which is exactly how you’ll consistently get better freelance gigs.
Thinking about your client’s business in the long-term may also convince them to keep working with you on a long-term basis (or create a return client).
Do you have any other expert tips for leaving terrible gigs in the past? Please share them in the comments!