Freelancing: Keeping a steady income!

Every freelancer who has tapped into the world of making money online has become addicted to working online but often get stressed because they cannot keep a steady income from month to month. In this article I will discuss how you can keep a steady income rolling in every month.

The Nice Designer

nice designer
Ever since I have been freelancing I have considered myself to be the nice freelancer. By nice freelancer I mean I was the guy that would take projects when the client said they have x amount of dollars and I would just be the best guy to all my clients. As a freelancer when most of us begin we are open to take on anything and every time an offer and thrown our way we accept it. I mean your making money so what is there to argue about? Right? Well that’s not the point. See I’m going to give you guys an example of a situation where I was considered the Nice Freelancer.

Note: Story is just an example

BEFORE:

TOM: Hey Marcell! Great portfolio. I’ve just received your emailed and you said that you could create that website for us for X amount of dollars and in X amount of days. Also what is this wordpress CMS that you speak of? Can it help our business?

Marcell: Thanks Tom! Yes that is correct, I could have your website completed for X amount of dollars in just a matter of X days. WordPress is a Content Management System that allows you manage your website from the back-end but still giving you the ability to control what happens on the front end of the site. WordPress is also very easy to learn via admin section. Yes it can help your business out tremendously because there are tons of plugins which allow you to add anything you would like to the site.

TOM: Sounds good to me. So what do you need to begin? Also I would need a hosting company do you know of any?

Marcell: All I will need is your FTP information. Yes I know of a hosting company. Try Host gator, or media temple etc.

Ok so above I have contacted Tom about a website that he wants created. Your probably wondering what is the problem. Well if you read below I will tell you the mistakes I have made.

Mistakes

  1. I went on craigslist for a job
  2. I told the client about WordPress(Indepth)
  3. I am working for “$200”
  4. I told client about hosting companies
  5. I did not ask for a payment up front
  6. I did not show client a contract
  7. I did not ask client what websites he like
  8. I am not thinking straight

So I completed his website and I told him if he ever needed help with anything just email me. HELP. Yes that is the problem! The main problem is that I setup the client website on a Content Management System where he no longer needs my help after he gets the hang of it. I mean wordpress is pretty simple once you mess with it for a couple of days. In as for upgrades he can update his website with the click of a button. I also gave him hosting companies name and without putting my affiliate links in there. So as you can see I did not handle this client correctly and yes I may have gotten paid and he may of been happy but what I am not prepaid for is a time when there is no client and no cash rolling in.

Hard times

Hard times can/will approach you if you let your guard down. By guard I mean slacking. Many freelancers do work and get paid then they wait until their money is gone or low and try to find work again. Yes there are alternate ways to make money like sell stock, and etc but do you really want to compete with others in 1 market? hardtimesWhenever times got difficult for me I would think should I create a stock files or how can I make more money asap. See my problem was I were trying to make money asap now because I did not have any more money and I was becoming very desperate. I even entered those contest where many designers submit a design and the client would choose one. I quickly found out that submitting my designs or trying to create stock was not for me.

The “Nice” designer

As a freelancer we try to be as nice as possible to clients. nice I like to call my next technique the “nice” freelancer. As you can see above I have made many bad mistakes. In my new example you will see how you can increase your payment by hundreds of dollars.

Note: Story is just an example

After:

TOM: Hey Marcell! Great portfolio. I’ve just received your emailed and you said that you could create that website for us for X amount of dollars and in X amount of time. Also what is this CMS that you speak of? Can it help our business?

Marcell: Thanks Tom! Yes that is correct, I could have your website completed for X amount of dollars in just a matter of X time. A CMS also known as a Content Management System allows you manage your website from the back-end but still giving you the ability to control what happens on the front end of the site. Yes, I think it is great for business and business owners because you can do many things with it like add workers to site and so forth. You will not have to write one line of code since everything is updated via back-end. Also the only thing that may need to be done is the updating and maintenance of your site. It may not seem important at the moment but I strongly recommend updating and impatience your site at least every 1-3 months to avoid getting hack.

TOM: Sounds good to me. As for maintenance I would be very interested in that service. How much would that cost if included? What do you need to begin? Also I would need a hosting company do you know of any?

Marcell: I could do update the site and do maintenance work for X amount of dollars every X amount of time. Well before I begin I will need you to read and agree to my terms/contract then once agreed I will need a X % of dollars paid then I can begin working. Yes I know of a great hosting company. Try

They are very good in they have customer support 24/7 so if something went wrong and I was not available at the moment then they would be able to assist you.

So above you can see that I have properly handle my client the right way. I told them when I can have the project done, I gave them information about the CMS but not too much detail, I offered a service that they will accept 90% of the time, gave them my contract so they can read/accept my requirements, then I added an affiliate link to the hosting service. See you are the same nice freelancer just a bit smoother.

Keeping a steady Income$

steadyincomeKeeping a steady income can be very difficult if you do not think situations through. Below I will list multiple ways you can sustain a steady income.

  • Updating client website- After you have completed the clients website tell them you can keep their site safe and clean by doing maintenance work every 3 months or so.
  • Tell client to spread the word- Tell your client to pass on the word about you to anyone he/she knows that may be interested in your service
  • Keep work posted via design sites- Upload your work to places like flickr, deviant art, Creattica , and etc to showcase your work.
  • Write for websites in your niche- Contribute a post or 2 to a website to get your name out there.
  • Create stock files- Create stock files via Themeforest
  • Post sign locally- Put up business cards or letters in your local area telling people about your service
  • Pass out business cards- Pass out your business cards to people you think might be a potential client.
  • Network with people-Network with others via social networking website and let them know what you do
  • Make video blogs-Stay connected with your followers or bring in new followers
  • Stay on top of your game- Always look for more work and when you have too much work sort it out so when you finish a project another one is waiting for you.

Freelancers make many mistakes and I must say that we all have had time where we would work for nothing, become desperately in need of cash and so fort. The important to remember that there are a colossal amount of clients out there they just do not know about you. By building yourself a name your building yourself to what I like to call a steady income.

Joe Granados the author

Joe Granados is the owner of WebDevTuts. He is also a web designer & developer who loves to design and develop websites. If you're looking for him you can find him via @webdevtuts
  1. Adele says:

    This was really helpful thank you – I gave up on web designing because I couldn’t see how to keep a decent income coming in, but this has some really good pointers to get me back on track. 🙂

    • Marcell says:

      Yeah we all have hard times but you have to keep going. I went an entire year without making anything but I continued to work hard and keep going and now I get projects :)…Keep going!

  2. Derek says:

    Nice article Marcel!
    I find I am one of the “nice guys” and clients spot that a mile off and before you know it your doing a job for less then you would like (deserve) and they keep wanting more!
    I just love making sites my partner she keeps moaning I’m doing to many hours for too little guess I need to work out some proper price structure but the client does not understand how much is involved and if I charged half the hours I done I fear they will go else where.

    • Marcell says:

      Thanks for your response Derek. I have turned down many clients if they do not want to accept my final price. I think as a freelancer you have to stand up for yourself. Many people will say they can find another designer and all you have to say is ok. Some come back and some don’t. I have stood up for myself and have loss alot of projects but have gain some GOOD and loyal clients. Good luck Derek!

  3. K Shah says:

    Hi,

    Very nice article. Very generic that can be applied to any field for a free lancer.
    I had a little different query. I am a developer in lotus notes since 6 years. I wish to switch to Photoshop free lancing . Can you provide some tips about how to begin with it in reference to what kind of free lance jobs would be good as a startup for a designer assuming I have taken up some tutions to learn the software.Thanks!

  4. Nathan says:

    That article rang very true for me. I inadvertantly do the “nice” freelancer thing which never really helps. Funnily enough I recently recommended Gator to a client and no, I didnt give her my affiliate link.

    Its hard to “toughen” up but I need to if I want to make more.

    Thanks Marcell.

    • Marcell says:

      Yeah people always try to play the “I have a low budget” roll and when you’re running a business you have to take charge and let them know who’s the boss and who’s doing the hard work.

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