Written by Mat Casner

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Looking Back: Top 5 Secrets to Freelance Success in 2020

Branding & Marketing, Mindset & Strategy | 0 comments

Though 2020 was terribly challenging, business still had to move forward. We had to find some secrets to freelance success: ways to serve clients, find new clients, and stay afloat. There were unprecedented challenges and adjustments, setbacks and tragedy. But there were also some bright spots, and opportunities to learn and grow.

Despite the many challenges, in 2020 I managed to have the best freelance year I’ve ever had! I say this not to brag, but rather because over the holiday break I took some time to reflect on the biggest factors that boosted my business to new heights this year, and I’d like to share these secrets to freelance success with you so that you can consider applying them to your own business in the coming year.
Watch the video below to find out some adjustments I made that prepared me for what was coming last year, or scroll down to get the bullet points.

1. Retainer Clients

There is power and stability in having long term commitments from clients. Long-term retainer and contract relationships with my customers has been one of my secrets to freelance success, allowing me to be sustainable even during hard times.

I’m proud to say that last year I hit a huge milestone with one of my longest clients: $1 million in lifetime revenue. For me, this was a huge testament to what a long-term relationship can bring to a freelancer. We become a trusted partner in our clients’ business – what an honor!

Because it takes time to build a relationship, this should be a priority from day one of working together – even before that, during the networking phase of your relationship. This leads me to…

2. Networking

I was very intentional about creating new strategic relationships last year, and it paid off, becoming one of my secrets of freelance success.

Knowing I was already solving the problems of my current clients, I realized those in the same types of businesses would have similar problems to be solved. 

I started joining Facebook groups where these same types of clients were looking for advice. Offering advice and answering questions allowed me to establish relationships which, over the year, would turn into clients – (even retainer clients!), and finally to referrals.

3. Utilizing My Own Services

Are you a designer who does solid work for others, but whose own website needs some t.l.c? Yup, I see you, and I totally get it.

As freelancers, we are often too busy hustling to utilize our own skills. Last year I dedicated myself to taking advantage of my own skillset to a degree I hadn’t before. A marketer and a  graphic and web designer, I made sure the messaging on all my channels were geared to speaking to my target market and ideal client. I got crystal clear on the services and value I could provide to clients. This boosted my ability to network online as my website was able to handle a lot of the organic traffic.

4. Professional Development

I’m a recovering “do-it-myself-er”. I didn’t used to like asking for help. But as I’ve become more comfortable asking, I’ve learned to benefit from the expertise of others in masterminds and workshops, allowing me to grow exponentially as a business owner. I learned new skills that I was able to utilize not only in my business but in my clients’ businesses as well! 

5. Reading Books

In the same vein as #4, in 2020 I consumed more books than ever – devouring everything I could on selling, pricing, management, marketing, sharpening my business acumen, etc.

Again, these new skills and strategies were passed on to my clients. This allowed me to increase my value to the clients I serve, which in turn yields more referrals. And referrals are where my best clients come from!

Finally, I have to mention that my favorite achievement in 2020 is the time I spent with my Ignite Freelance Coaching Program members. These are special individuals that I meet with on a weekly basis, providing guidance and answering questions as we walk through this freelance life together. I have a deep respect for these individuals and working with them was a highlight of my year

I hope my 5 secrets to freelance success have given you some ideas of how you can apply these strategies to your own business in the coming year.

If you’d like to really give your freelance business a leg up this year, consider joining my Ignite Freelance Coaching Program. I only open for enrollment a few times per year; get on the waitlist here!

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