Freelancers and small business owners often feel the pressure to perform, and in fact, compete with the ‘big boys’ without having an office. And, while competition is healthy, the comparison is the thief of joy. And it is easy to lose confidence and stop pitching for work when you feel like that. But, you shouldn’t! Instead, you should look at ways that you can make these occasions work for you.
After all, the client really just wants the job done well, and so do you.
This can feel like a huge hurdle if you don’t have your own office to invite clients too. But you can hire out a meeting room that matches what you need. There are a lot of options in terms of size and cost, and in most cases, you’ll only be using them once you have secured the client, so then they will become a business expense. On from meeting rooms for day time meetings, you can opt to take clients to a restaurant so that you can talk over dinner.
You have a lot of options for keeping clients updated with progress as you go. You can use skype for face to face chats, Slack to share documents and have conversations, in fact, Slack has a google integration which looks pretty nifty and makes work-sharing easy too. Google Docs and Sheets are easy to share, and you can give the client edit access or not – depending on your agreement – get notes from them and carry on working. For project management Trello, and Evernote are great options.
This can be tricky because you want to appear as professional as possible. Luckily in most cases, if you work in a creative environment, you can get away with smart casual. Jeans and a decent shirt or a nice t-shirt will work. But, in some areas, you are expected to look the part. In the early days, you can invest in a reasonably priced suit, and pull that out when you need to do face to face meetings, and a shirt for Skype or other online calls will work perfectly well.
When it comes to your marketing and online appearance, you have a lot of control and can make that very sleek. You can work with a marketing company, or you can spend the time to do it yourself. You are looking for a cohesive look across all of the platforms. While it might be tempting to get fancy, initially what you should aim for is that everything is the correct size, clearly states who you are and what you do – and then add the creative touches in.
If you know that you will never need to see a client face to face, but you want to protect your home address and be considered more professional, then this might be the solution for you. You can pay per month or per year for a subscription to an office address in your chosen city. They will often have parcel and mail forwarding services and even call forwarding – which all gives an excellent impression of your company – even if you are a one-person show.
Of course, in the end, it is about who you are and the work that you supply. Always aim for quality, and you will always retain your clients.