5-Point Blueprint To Future-Proof Your Freelancing Business

Quick Navigations

Did freelancing just become riskier than ever? 

During the early months of the pandemic, nearly all businesses were put on hold.

The unlucky ones were forced to close.

And as freelancers, we sympathized with our clients who were hit…

We saw events get canceled one by one…

And our calendars and schedules were emptier than usual…

Those months were the scariest as a freelancer.

Yet the most surprising thing is…

There were freelancers who found themselves accidentally becoming 6-figure online workers in the middle of the pandemic.

And it happened NOT by accident.

Here’s what really happened underneath it all.

They’ve been connecting with prospects through the CCPP process.

It just so happened that when it was time to see the results of their efforts, the pandemic happened.

It wasn’t just a lucky strike.

They persevered through the whole tunnel even though they kept digging dirt at first.

Now you can carry out the exact blueprint they used to intentionally build a future-proof, predictable freelancing business that can weather any storm.

Just like Michaela who wasn’t only able to achieve her first 6-figure income…

But also start a digital services agency to bring jobs to others during the pandemic.

Or Michelle who was able to bounce back.

And earn PHP 1Million in a span of 3 months, from June to August (the peak months of the pandemic).

Or like this mystery freelancer who was able to turn a PHP 1M client into a PHP 15M client this pandemic.

That’s PHP 15 Million a month for one client!

See what’s possible when you don’t let the dirt bother you?

Let’s see what this 5-Point Blueprint is all about…

And how it can help you build a freelancing business that continues to be profitable, month after month — no matter what’s happening in the world.

#1 – Always ask yourself how you can serve your prospects
#2 – Always be prospecting—offline or online
#3 – Always send follow ups unless prospects tell you to stop
#4 – Always be flexible. Pivot if you must.
#5 – Always ask for help

#1 – Always ask yourself how you can serve your prospects

There will always be businesses who are doing well, no matter what state the global economy is in.

In fact, there’s a 2009 study made by Kaufman Foundation that says over 50% of Fortune 500 companies were created in a bear market or in a full-blown recession.

The bottomline being…

There are businesses that will survive, and even thrive during these times.

Your goal is to figure out who they are and how you can help them.

This is what Michelle  did.

Michelle lost a paying client during the onset of COVID19 in the Philippines. Spell double trouble.

But, even if she was struggling herself, she still followed the mantra to, “Always come from a place of help.

One day, she read a post calling for volunteers in the IT community to help test COVID-related applications.

She volunteered and kept going even if things seemed difficult,

“The project was so stressful because the requirements were not that stable, resources were volunteers, I can’t demand them to be there every time, but I’ve built my go-to team and told them how I appreciated them.

And everytime we feel tired or stressed, we’d say “Para sa Pilipinas” (“For the Philippines”) and it would keep us going.”

She took on several roles, doing her best as a full-time volunteer working 20-22 hours straight, oftentimes lacking sleep. That’s how dedicated she was to serve her kapwa Pinoy.

Later on, Michelle realized her volunteering was already taking its toll on her health.

She almost bid goodbye to the project until the head of the community that was running the projects offered her a paid position for the next project.

She was hired to become the Digital Head and was paid premium, receiving PHP 1M doing freelance work from June to August.

How did she do this?

Two keys: Optimizing her profile and connecting with her target market.

Her advice? Put excellence in what you do so that they’d get you on the next projects.”

Good karma does find its way back to you.

Here’s another story from fellow freelancer, Michaela .

Recently, she snagged a 6-digit income for the first time in her life.

And just like Michelle, she got there by offering help,

“Keep on giving value and help kahit na mukhang wala na silang balak to hire you.”

She eventually went on to close another 4 clients.

The common denominator among all of them?

Michaela’s “help”.

And it’s not only her clients that Michaela helps.

She and her friend recently put up a digital service agency so they can help give work to others during this pandemic.

As Alexander Luis of Appsumo puts it,

“Freelancers are incredible during normal market conditions. But we can be total lifesavers during a crisis.”

Key Takeaways: Giving your services for free (at first) may not bring food to the table, but it doesn’t mean you’ll walk away empty-handed. You’ll earn a client’s trust, which could lead to referrals and a bigger, wider network of your target prospects. So just keep on helping.

#2 – Always be prospecting—offline or online 

As freelancers, the Internet has become our main source of connection and clients.

But there are real life connections, too.

To future proof a freelancing business, seize offline opportunities and never take them for granted.

Take Rome as an example.

Apart from grooming his OnlineJobs profile and turning his first premium client into a retainer client…

And securing a job at the most popular WordPress SEO plugin as a support engineer…

He didn’t stop here.

An offline opportunity became his stepping stone to, not only a bigger income, but a greater cause.

For him, “It was not a premium rate, but a life-changing experience.”

This experience helped him become a Digital Marketing Mentor for an E-commerce webinar series of DTI Region 7.

He said yes to the job, mentioning the whole project will earn him 6 figures.

And to think he was actually struggling during the months leading to his breakthrough, “Super walang kwenta yung June to August ko in terms of financial wins but September was super crazy.”

The greatest lesson he learned was this, 

“Your own success will come to you in time if wala pa ngayon. In fact, super laki ng chance na sunod-sunod yan. Just continue helping others in ways you know how.

Same is true with Felice who got rejected for a $2/hour job 15 times!

Add to that, she had a sensitive pregnancy. ‍‍‍‍‍‍

Now most people would have given up along the way… ‍‍‍‍‍‍

Not realizing those “NOs” are leading them to something better. ‍‍‍‍‍‍

Good thing Felice kept on prospecting and connecting.

She finally ended up with a client who offered her USD 1,000 a month after giving value first.

Key takeaway: Never stop prospecting. It’s the lifeline of any business. And while you’re at it, develop an eye to spot hidden ASSETS that you can leverage to make your service a no-brainer offer that clients would happily pay PREMIUM for.

#3 – Always send follow ups unless prospects tell you to stop

When reaching out to freelancing prospects, you’d get either of these 3 things as a reply:

  • I’m interested.
  • No, thank you.
  • Or “. . .”

Getting a YES is best. Getting a NO is okay (at least you get an answer). But getting nothing?

It’s the last thing you want.

You’re left with absolutely NO clue about what they’re thinking.

But here’s the thing…

Silence is a message itself.

We often take it as a rejection…

But sometimes, it may mean that a premium client is on their way, but they still need a little nudge.

Heart Charles  can’t stress enough the importance of follow ups.

Because of it, she was able to close a USD 9,000 deal a day apart.

For her highest paying clients, even though she didn’t close the deal right after the discovery call, she was still their “TOP of mind” months after.

Bottomline: it pays to make a great first impression so your prospects remember you.

The art of following up has also helped Chum  achieve her breakthrough.

She happily shares, “After 7 months, 5 750 connection requests, 812 accepted connections, 10 DCs, 10 Proposals, I finally got my 1 WIN.”  

Just like Heart, Chum kept following up.

“I kept bombarding him with audits and free tools and he kept seeing my value posts on LinkedIn.”, she shares.

Chum never got out of touch.

And she finally got her WIN. 

Key Takeaway: Follow ups is the holy grail of sales. Sending follow ups significantly increases your chances of closing the deal. So unless the prospect tells you to stop sending tips, advice or helpful articles (which is unlikely to happen—everybody likes free, valuable content), just send that follow up message!

#4 – Always be flexible. Pivot if you must.

As freelancers, the world is our oyster. There’s no ceiling to our monthly income. We can choose to work with as many clients as we want.

But in exchange with this freedom, there are risks…

Clients can lose their business. Your proposals can get rejected. Or worst, a global change can happen, crushing the industry that you’re serving or the online platform you’re specializing on.

That’s why we should learn how to adapt to the market so our services remain relevant.

Martin is a perfect case for this.

He used to work as a video shooter and editor for local businesses in Cebu.

At one point, he had 5 clients that were project-based and monthly retainers.

But he lost all of them when COVID happened.

At first, Martin was hesitant.

But now, he’s confident he made the right decision.

Why?

Because he got 8 clients right away.

(No surprise there. There are others like Martin who’ve closed deals applying what they learned from TRIBE in just 30 days—even if they’re newbies.)

As with anything in life, when there are highs, there are also lows.

Martin faced another challenge—his slow internet connection.

He recalls, “But when August arrived. Our internet got really messed up. I had to go to my cousin’s place everyday in order for me to work. Which was a huge challenge.”

But then again, as they say, “just keep swimming!”

Together with an entire TRIBE of elite freelancers backing him up, Martin learned how to overcome challenges, pivot, and ride the wave of opportunities.

Key takeaway: Just like with any other business, freelancing brings its own set of challenges. Be flexible. Learn how to adapt. And pivot if you must.

Today it might feel like what you’re doing isn’t made for freelancing.

However you’ll be surprised at how you can reposition whatever skill you have for the online market.

Quick trivia: Are you curious what drove Martin to join the TRIBE?

It’s this line…

And this brings us to the last point.

#5 – Always ask for help 

According to a study by Viking, UK freelancers reported that one of the greatest struggles freelancers face is balancing personal time and work as well as battling loneliness due to isolation..[*]

That’s why Kareen Friedman of Payoneer advised,

“Finding remedies to these challenges is vital to your mental health as a freelancer and can actually help you find the clarity needed to succeed in your freelance business.

During normal times freelancers grapple with stress and uncertainty, but with a global pandemic, these are magnified.”

That’s why it’s okay to get help.

 And that’s what we advise too.

 If you don’t get the help you need, you’ll always be stuck.”

If these words helped Martin change gears to survive in the new normal, this mindset helped John Lemuel close a USD 2,000 monthly retainer deal for YouTube channel management.

Here’s what happened:

So how did John Lemuel need help?

If not for the help from his coach, John Lemuel wouldn’t be as calm as he was during his call with the prospect.

Sometimes, the only thing we need is somebody to remind us we have what it takes to deliver.

This kind of support is PRICELESS when running a freelancing business.

Krizza was feeling the same way too.

Honest about doubting her abilities, she felt her wins weren’t enough.

Until she realized her biggest win wasn’t monetary.

It was a change in mindset and clarity in her purpose.

In her own words…

Building a stable freelancing business is a long-term game.

It’s normal to get tired once in a while.

To doubt your skills and get your self-esteem crushed.

To get scared of stepping onto the next level.

That’s why it’s important to have a community of freelancers who’re going through the same things as you are

They’ll have your back.

Push you back on track.

And cheer you on when you already feel like giving up.

Key takeaway: You can build a freelancing business on your own. However, to build one that’ll last, you’ll need the right mindset and a community of freelancers supporting you. With these, you can make a freelancing business that’s future-proof.

Build a thriving freelance business

You reading this article up to this point shows your desire to create a business that can survive any storm.

To recap, here’s how you can achieve just that:

  1. Always ask yourself how you can serve your prospects. There are businesses that will survive, and even thrive during difficult times. Your job is to figure out who they are and how you can help them. This way, you can better position your service as a means to give prospects more of what they want.
  2. Always be prospecting—offline or online. If you’re not getting leads, you might as well be out of business. Connect with possible clients every day either it’s in the web or in real life. You’ll be surprised by how many people actually need help and your services.
  3. Always send follow ups unless prospects tell you to stop. The reason why your prospects take time to reply to your messages? They need your help. So it’s your duty to follow up on them. You could be the reason for their business to hit the next milestone (or maybe just even survive) next month.
  4. Always be flexible. Pivot if you must. Just like with any other business, we need to innovate if we want our business to last for a long time. Learn how to adapt and reposition your skill to solve current real world problems.
  5. Always ask for help. We all can get stuck, no matter what stage our freelancing business is in. That’s why it’s important to have a go-to community that can help us move forward whenever we find ourselves in sticky or stagnant situations.

It’s no accident too that the steps all start with “always”…

Because the process to building a stable, future-proof freelancing business requires consistency.

To succeed, you have to do the same set of things over and over again.

Most people will find this “unsexy”.

That’s where having a community of freelancers pays off—to help keep you accountable to your dreams.

If you’d like to build a stable, future-proof freelancing business with the TRIBE

Aiza Coronado Domingcil

Aiza Coronado Domingcil

Aiza writes onboarding emails that help SaaS teams get their users from sign up to success. She used to be a generalist copywriter before she joined SPAG, the first ever TRIBE that John put together. She’s also a mom of a bouncy little boy who adds a bit of crazy, but tons of love, meaning and inspiration to her freelancing days. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.