Choosing the projects you take on and the types of clients you work for are both important in building your freelancer business.
Choosing Freelance Projects
It’s tempting to just take on every project that comes your way, especially when starting out. This can lead to problems though if you take on low paid, difficult projects that stop you working on more attractive projects. A common mindset is that clients are doing you a favour, but the project needs to be attractive for both parties. You don’t have to take on everything and can (and should) choose what you want to work on.
For example, I choose not to work with anyone offering ‘alternative’ therapies, pyramid schemes, religious organisations or politically oriented projects. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with these clients or projects, but I choose to not take them on as I don’t enjoy working with clients in these markets.
The ‘opportunity cost’ of being tied up with a troublesome project or one that you are not fully engaged with can cost you time, money and peace of mind. It’s also not fair on your client if you’re not giving 100%.
As we’ll come back to in another blog post, your energy and motivation are important resources and unsuitable projects or clients can drain both.
Choosing Your Target Clients
As a freelancer, you won’t be able to serve all types of clients effectively. You are better specialising in one particular market or type of client.
Doing so will give you more specialised knowledge which will help you gain new clients of this type or in this market as you understand their jargon and they will see that you’ve worked for similar businesses.
It’s also easier to optimise your marketing for a more niche phrase related to a type of client or a particular market rather than ‘web design’ in general.
You are also likely to be spending a lot of time working on a project, so feel free to decline things that will be hard to get excited or motivated about. If you love dogs then working on dog websites/marketing/design will be great fun, not so much if you hate them with a passion.
It’s your business and your life, so choose what you offer and who your target clients are to get better outcomes for you and your clients.