According to Upwork’s Freelancing in America 2018 report, “Americans are spending more than 1 billion hours per week freelancing.” But while it’s great that so many workers are enjoying the freedom and flexibility of signing contract templates with who they wish, many freelancers still struggle to command the kind of rates they need to earn a living.
As an example, take ClearVoice’s 2018 survey of average freelance writer rates, which found evidence of writers who consider themselves to be “experts” in their fields charging between just $1-20 per hour. And although every freelancer’s rate requirements will be different, the economics of earning a living at these rates – especially once tax requirements and office overhead expenses are taken into consideration – rarely makes sense.
If you want to join the ranks of successful freelancers, you need to invest not just in your professional skills, but in your sales skills as well. That means learning how to write a pitch, so you get comfortable with sending cold emails for jobs. Here’s how to do it with: 10 cold email strategies for finding new freelance clients
One of the first mistakes many freelancers make is to spam as many contacts as they can find, hoping that at least some of the proverbial spaghetti will stick to the wall and result in new freelance contracts.
But cold emailing for jobs those who don’t need your services not only wastes your time, it leaves a bad taste in your recipients' mouths (which could affect your reputation and your chances of getting hired in the future). Rather than reaching out to just anyone, send email messages only to those who are genuinely likely to benefit from your services.
If you sell small services around $200 to $500 per service, you could build a small Shopify app using some free shopify theme templates as well as some of the best Shopify apps. Once your store is live, you could then add links to it in your email signature where clients could buy your services directly.
If you have happy clients on your roster, ask them to make introductions to any other contacts they think you could help. Even if they aren’t willing to make these connections, ask if you can use their name when reaching out. Then, use a template like the one below when you send your cold email for that freelance job.
My name is [name], and I’m a freelancer specializing in [your service]. I just wrapped up a project with [name of shared contact], and thought it might make sense to reach out to you at this point.
Are you having any trouble with [pain point experienced by shared contact]? If so, let’s hop on a call to see if opportunities exist to work together.
Thank you for your time,
You can easily build and customize to your liking such proposal emails using Bonsai - start your free trial today.
As much as possible, avoid sending your cold email messages to generic email addresses. As Ryan Robinson notes:
“When I'm trying to land a new freelance client, I don't want to spend time convincing a gatekeeper on the company's HR or recruiting team that I'd be the best for the job – I'm going straight to the person who's going to be in control of the hiring decision.”
According to some sources, personalizing your emails can increase open rates by up to 50%. But for best results, go beyond basic personalization, such as addressing the message to the recipient’s first name – and aim for true relevancy.
Freelance copywriter Laura Lopuch suggests that:
“Relevance shows your reader that you GET them. And by getting them, you’re a partner aligned toward success. You just might make their lives easier. And you just might make them more money.”
One way to establish relevancy is to use your clients’ language in when you send cold emails for freelance jobs to demonstrate that you understand their pain points.
As you talk to clients, make a note of the specific words and phrases they use to describe the issues they’re facing. Use this when building your cold email templates in order to prove your understanding of their challenges.
Show, don’t tell: If you have evidence of how you’ve helped similar clients in previous engagements or social proof in the form of testimonials or reviews, build that content into your cold email templates.
Nielsen data tells us that “92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.” Take full advantage of these benefits by sharing them early on with new prospects.
If you don't have this evidence or social proof yet, earning it is probably high on your list of priorities. But if you're like most freelancers, you spend more time than you'd like to on routine business tasks instead. If that's the case, consider using an all-in-one freelancing platform like Bonsai – you can even sign up for your free trial right now.
Don’t ask prospects to visit your website … and view your freelance portfolio … and book an exploratory call with you.
Instead, keep it simple. One clear, easily-achievable call to action increases your odds of getting a response.
Urgency drives action. So, if you can, make recipients a time-sensitive offer through when you send your cold email for the job. For instance, if you’re a freelance marketing consultant, you could include a statement like the following in your messages:
“I’ve had an unexpected cancellation which has opened up some time on my calendar this month. But their loss is your gain! I’m offering a 10% discount to any new clients who book projects to be completed by [date].”
Don’t force something through if you won’t follow through on the limitation you describe (for instance, if you’ll offer that discount to new clients who book at any point). Faking urgency diminishes client trust and can backfire if they catch on.
Too many freelancers send just one single cold email for jobs… and then never follow up. That’s a huge mistake, given that follow-up emails often get a better response rate than the initial email.
Rather than trying to remember to send each follow-up message manually, look for tools that allow you to automate the process by scheduling emails in advance.
Follow-up emails also come into play when chasing down payments for past-due invoices. Minimize extra effort by automating your reminders with Bonsai.
The European Union’s GDPR statutes went into effect in May 2018 – and even if you don’t think you’re sending emails to EU citizens, it’s still smart to stay in compliance with the regulations.
There are three things you need to keep in mind when sending cold emails as a freelancer:
What other tips do you have for sending cold email as a freelancer? Share your experiences by leaving a note below, and sign up to try Bonsai for free.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?