As you build your business, you’ll create opportunities to work with many different types of freelance clients. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure you craft your pitches in the most effective way possible. Even then, it’s unlikely you’ll have a 100% success rate. However, you’ll increase your odds by identifying the unique needs of business owners in different phases of their company’s growth.
The Three Types of Freelance Clients
Let’s start with the definitions.
1. DIY Clients
These clients are just starting out, working on building their business. They prefer the “Do It Yourself” method so they can save money. While they recognize that they need professional services, they don’t necessarily have the capital to invest.
Should you bother pitching these cash-strapped companies? The short answer is yes, and we’ll get into how and what later on.
2. DFM-Budget Clients
Some business owners recognize they need to hire someone to help them out. And they are willing to pay for that help—to a certain extent. This group wants things “Done For Me,” but they’re on a budget. They’re looking to get a big bang for their buck by hiring as inexpensively (and quickly) as possible. These types of clients might post to Upwork or Fiverr.
We’ll get to the best way to pitch these companies as well.
These clients not only understand the necessity of hiring a pro, but they also value the work of a professional. They are willing to pay a pro-level rate (even if it’s not top-dollar).
The Common Thread
While these types of freelance clients are quite distinct from each other, there are two traits they share:
- They don’t necessarily know what’s best for their business.
- They don’t necessarily know how to work with a freelancer.
Keep these things in mind when you’re pitching them. And as you develop a relationship with them, offer guidance (since you’re the expert), and help them understand the process for working with you. You’ll gain their trust and earn their business more easily by demonstrating that their best interests are your priority.
How to Identify the Types of Clients
The best way to determine which category a business falls into is by asking questions. If you have a relationship with the business owner, you can ask relatively directly. Here’s an excellent question to start with:
What investments have you made in your business?
- DIY-ers will admit they haven’t spent much.
- DFM-Bs might talk about software they’ve purchased.
- DFM-Is may have invested in software, service providers, and trainings or coaching.
The next best way to is to pay attention to their questions.
Join Facebook networking groups and keep an eye on what people are posting. Generally speaking, different types of clients will create these types of posts:
- DIY-ers are asking for feedback or help with their projects.
- DFM-Bs ask for recommendations. They ask about VA’s who do it all—from graphic design to bookkeeping to copywriting.
- DFM-Is are tricky to find because they’re often doing the recommending and offering feedback. So look for them in the comments.
Offering the Right Freelance Service to the Right Types of Freelance Clients
It might seem like you can only successfully pitch a DFM-I business. But that’s not true at all. The key is to figure out how to help each type and start there.
DYIers who aren’t ready to hire a pro:
While this group is busy setting up their business on a shoestring budget, you can help them understand the value of hiring a freelancer. If they’re afraid to spend money, start with something smaller than a full-blown project for a smaller fee.
- Give them feedback on their work; a “Done With You” package.
- Limit the scope of the work you do for them in comparison with a DFM client.
- Offer consultations so you can answer their questions at a lower rate.
Building a relationship with this person as they build their business means YOU are likely to be the freelancer they turn to when they are ready to invest in a pro.
DFM-Bs who need to justify the expense:
Business owners on a budget need to see a return on investment. Pitch them on projects that directly impact their ability to increase their income.
Once they’re more comfortable with you (and you’ve demonstrated that you can help their bottom line), they’ll be ready to hire you for more significant projects.
DFM-Is who have some experience:
While this type of client seems like an easy sell, you’ll still have your work cut out for you. You’ll need to prove your expertise, demonstrate your skill, and help them see the benefits of working with you in particular (i.e., your USP).
These business owners are also most likely to reach out to you in response to your posts in Facebook groups. So don’t be shy! Make networking on social media part of your plan!
Okay, that’s an overview of the three types of clients! Now, it’s your turn: What questions do you have about working with these clients? Let me know in the comments below.