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Challenges of Being Self-Employed Pt 3: Finding Consistent Clients

Finding consistent clients is not the problem. It’s just not! Learn why ‘finding consistent clients’ isn’t the actual challenge we face when self-employed.

Kristen Leigh | WordPress Web Design Studio | Email Opt-In Forms | Best Places to Add Email Opt Ins on Your Website

Alex Trebek: A challenge that many self-employed people face that causes their business to fail within the first 2 years of business.

Jeopardy Contestant: Finding consistent clients!

Alex Trebek: Ooo… sorry, that’s not correct. You’re close though!

That’s right. Finding consistent clients isn’t the problem and here’s why: You can easily go to Upwork and PeoplePerHour and land a client today. You could do the same thing tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Before you know it, you have 10 paying clients.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that the income from those 10 paying clients most likely totals less than $2,000 in project work. The problem is finding consistent clients that pay you what you’re worth.

You see, finding and landing clients is easy if you’re prepared to drop your rates to beat out your competitors, eat ramen noodles for the next few months, and don’t really want to have free time to do things other than work.

Finding and landing clients who pay you what you’re worth? Now that’s a challenge – at least in the beginning.

Finding Clients on Freelance Platforms

Freelance platforms are a good place to find clients when you’re first starting out in the web design world. Don’t go thinking you need to create an Instagram account and plan and schedule 100 posts in order to land your first client. Your first few clients can come from freelance platforms because in the beginning you won’t be charging $5,000 for a web design package.

My first two web design clients came from UpWork and paid me $200 and $550. My third client was a referral from one of my UpWork clients and she paid $670. I needed at least one project under my belt before feeling comfortable enough to land clients off a freelance platform. With those three projects complete I felt comfortable enough to raise my web design and branding package price to $3,565 and my web design package price to $2,597

Again, through freelance platforms it is easy to land clients and solves the problem many people have of ‘finding consistent clients.’ But my guess is that your actual problem is finding consistent clients that will pay $2,000 or $3,000 for a website.

How to Make Web Design a Number One Source of Income Without Any Previous Web Design Skills | Free Training | Kristen Leigh

Attracting Consistent Clients

The real trouble comes when you move off freelance platforms and start looking for higher paying clients. Before I share my personal story with you I want to say that it’s possible to attract consistent clients without needing to post on Instagram everyday. It doesn’t have to be difficult.

Here’s a breakdown of roughly 2 years worth of web design projects.

Web Design Projects 2017

My business began in September of 2017 and during the first couple months I was afraid to bid on web design jobs that I found on freelance platforms. Eventually – without any web design experience or skills – I bid on a WordPress project and landed the client.

  • November: 1 client
    • $200 (Upwork | Client 1)
  • December: No clients

Total income from web design work: $200

Total number of web design clients: 1

Average project price: $200

Web Design Projects 2018

In 2018 I was still heavily focused on general VA services but I started to become interested in the idea of making web design my number one source of income. In order to do that I naively thought I needed to take on any and all web design work regardless of the amount a client was willing to pay. I did this to better my skills and increase my confidence.

Even though I was willing to take on anything and everything, throughout the entire year I only landed 6 web design clients and made a total of $6,271.50 through my web design work. The client work was very inconsistent and getting paid was super unpredictable.

  • February: 1 client
    • $275 (UpWork | Client 2)
  • March: No clients
  • April: 1 client
    • $275 (UpWork | Client 2)
  • May: No clients
  • June: 4 clients
    • $1,657 (Attracted | Client 3)
    • $105 (UpWork | Client 2)
    • $187 (White Label | Client 4)
    • $335 (Referral | Client 5)
  • July: No clients
  • August: 1 client
    • $335 (Referral | Client 5)
  • September: 1 client
    • $397.50 (White Label | Client 4)
  • October: 3 clients
    • $1,907.50 (Attracted | Client 3)
    • $105 (UpWork | Client 2)
    • $392.50 (Attracted | Client 6)
  • November: 1 client
    • $187.50 (White Label | Client 4)
  • December: 1 client
    • $562.50 (Attracted | Client 7 who ghosted me after paying the retainer)

Total income from web design work: $6,271.50

Total number of web design clients: 6

Average project price: $1,120.25

How to Make Web Design a Number One Source of Income Without Any Previous Web Design Skills | Free Training | Kristen Leigh

Web Design Projects 2019

The next year was a turning point for me. I changed my ways, refined my messaging, and faked my confidence throughout sales calls and in the first 6 months of 2019 I was able to land 6 clients and make $20,988 through my web design work.

  • January: 1 client
    • $3,597 (Attracted | Client 8)
  • February: 2 clients
    • $3,597 (Attracted | Client 9)
    • $3,597 (Attracted | Client 10)
  • March: 1 client
    • $1,400 (Attracted | Client 11)
  • April: 1 client
    • $1,400 (Attracted | Client 12)
  • May: 2 clients
    • $1,400 (Attracted | Client 12)
    • $4,597 (Attracted | Client 13)
  • June: 1 client
    • $1,400 (Attracted | Client 12)

Total income from web design work: $20,988

Total number of web design clients: 6

Average project price: $3,498

*Note: I stopped sharing income information in June of 2019 because at that point I realized I had figured out how to land high paying web design clients as a virtual assistant and I wanted to share that information with other VAs so they too could do something more creative with their time as well as have more control over how their time is spent. During the second half of 2019 I stopped actively attracting web design clients and focused on building my first course. During that time I did (and I still do) take on web design clients with a package price starting at $4,597 but I only take on a few each year and focus mainly on supporting other virtual assistants.

So what did I do to go from landing low paying clients on UpWork to attracting high paying clients?

The biggest thing that I focused on was refining my messaging – on my website, in my blog posts, on Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook… the second thing I did was perfect my sales calls so that my deep rooted imposter syndrome didn’t shine through loud and clear when I was trying to convert a lead.

It is possible to eliminate the challenge of finding consistent high paying web design clients. You just need to focus on improving specific aspects of your business and processes!

-Kristen

How to Make Web Design a Number One Source of Income Without Any Previous Web Design Skills | Free Training | Kristen Leigh

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