5 tips to turn your talents into a real business
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The world is filled with creative people who are full of talent. As the owner of a digital agency, I had the privilege of collaborating with a host of freelancers who helped me to realize projects for my clients. As an entrepreneur, the collaboration is very important (I’ll talk about it in a blog post coming soon).
So you have talent and you think you’re ready to work full-time as a freelancer or even start your own business? First of all, congratulations for making this decision!
Here are 5 tips that will guide you:
A strong brand image
If you want to be taken seriously and attract customers, you must have a brand. A brand is a combination of a visual identity as well as content that emphasizes what you are trying to offer. I wrote a post on how to find the name of your company here, but this is only part of the development of your brand. You need a logo, a site, a vision, clear objectives and a service offer, a presence on social media, a media kit that can easily be sent to potential customers. You have to demonstrate your previous work, and you will also need a business card (yes, people still ask for it today). When I started my business, I worked hard for months before the launch; I was ready when I needed to, and I had something concrete to show to attract the high caliber clients I was looking for.
When you receive a customer’s request, the first thing you need to do is understand what they really want. This can be done by telephone conversation or a consultation / meeting in person. I suggest you do not exceed 30 minutes, since you are not paid for it and there is no guarantee that the project will be offered. Your time is expensive, and you must use it intelligently. Believe me, I learned it the hard way.
Once the initial consultation has been completed and the client is now requesting a proposal, have a general proposal template (a template) that you can use and tweak with the details of what you are proposing. In my proposal template, I include:
A context – My understanding of the project
Objectives – What the company wants to do
An analysis of the situation (Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities / Threats)
Target audience / market – who are they trying to attract?
Tasks to accomplish – What my company proposes to do to achieve their goals
Budget – How much it will cost them to pay for my agency services Sometimes a client can only ask for a quote, not a proposal; you should have a template available for that too. The quote provides a general overview of the number of hours you plan to accomplish what is requested.
Once hired, you need a contract with your client. You do not want to have problems with work or payment. Ask them to sign a contract and send you a deposit before starting anything.
Finally, if you plan to work with internal or external collaborators, you must provide them with a file, which must be approved by your client, and that offers the general scope of the project, and exactly what you need, including deadlines.
These are just some of the templates you will need to move forward, there are others, and some may be industry-specific, so be sure to do your research
I am often asked for references and the first question I am asked is “Does this person meet deadlines?” And unfortunately, most often they do not. Do not promise what you can not do. It’s your reputation that is at stake, and the reputation as an entrepreneur is so important. If you can not carry out the project, contact your client – no need to disappear, no one has time to play hide-and-seek, it’s disrespectful and you’ll never be hired by them or anyone else one in their network. People talk and news travels fast. Now, if the customer is willing to pay additional fees to ensure that the work is delivered by the deadline, and you can mobilize your team to do it with this bonus,
Nowadays, it is something very important. I recently experienced a situation where a client hired a graphic designer with whom I had never worked to create a logo. The customer even paid a premium for the logo to be ready faster. The graphic designer disappeared and did not answer our emails or calls. When he reappeared, he invented an excuse that the mail had never left his mailing box (lies), and when we finally got the job (late, obviously), he sent us a picture of a piece of paper with a hand drawn logo. Yes, you read that right, he scanned a drawing by hand. I wish I could tell you that this lack of professionalism was an isolated incident, but it is not the case. I am regularly chasing photographers, content editors, coders, videographers who were paid for the work, just to get the job done. Having talent is great, but there are tons and tons of people out there. What makes the difference for customers is professionalism and reputation. Be very aware of this because the success of your business depends on it.
Ask for help
It is not forbidden to ask for help, the work can become really overwhelming. Make a list of other entrepreneurs you know who have complementary expertise and who can help you complete the project. Make sure that the people with whom you choose to collaborate on your projects have the same work ethic as you, or that it will not work.
Do you have any other advice? I would like to know !