Building a Strong Backlog of Freelance Jobs
Making the leap from a 9-to-5 employee to working for yourself requires more than just technical skills. This move is not just a step, but a chasm for most new freelancers never had experience in sales, marketing and general business management.
Building a thriving Freelancing Business means changing or acquiring the mindset to build a business. The skill you have, your portfolio of work and results is what is the value you can create for clients. But it’s equally important to ensure you have the right mindset to not just do existing work, but to keep one eye out for future business.
Thinking Like a Business
A business is a venture that takes financial risks in order to gain a profit. That’s the financial core of a business venture if we were to strip it down.
A a Freelancer, it’s the skills that lead the way, rather than thinking about profit. With a self-starting freelancer, we can learn a lot of thinking like a business and growing like a business.
Here are some characteristics of businesses that may be relevant to a Freelancing Business:
- Maximizing profits (by either keeping expenses in check or growing the top line)
- Saving Profits from the Business for Reinvestment
- Thinking Long-Term
- Create a Moat or a Niche
Taking an example from Big Industries
Why start from scratch when we have very clear examples in the business world?
To know how to improve your freelance jobs backlog, let’s take a look at a very similar industry: the Engineering and Construction consulting industries.
Engineering Consulting companies are not necessarily household names as they deal primarily with other private and public clients. Some names include Jacobs Engineering Group, AMEC Foster Wheeler, Arup Group etc.
In general, they do work that supports the design, project management of public infrastructure like roads, bridges and buildings. To do this, they employ highly skilled consultants to do the job. This in regard, they are really managers of freelancers and take on projects to execute them.
What We can Learn from These Engineering Companies
These engineering companies excel at creating that moat for their clients. Many specialize in specific areas or what is called a verticals. Once they establish being the leader in the space they can dominate that space.
#1 Think in Verticals
Verticals helps you think of a nice and also adjacent work that you can do for your clients. Say an existing client is asking you to do UX Designs, can you also support them in product definition and ideation as well?
It is very powerful because you in effect are taking more of the work and moving them more toward you.
#2 Creating a Backlog
Creating a backlog of work. Even before you start on the work, you should split time you do current work and drumming up new business.