The freelancing industry continues to grow each year and is expected to represent 43% of the workforce by 2020. This comes as no surprise given its many benefits, one of which is its ability to help people earn more money with the option of choosing who they send scope of work templates to and who they sign contract templates with. However, earning money through freelancing can be challenging. In fact, more than 50% of freelancers surveyed by Paypal said that their biggest challenge is irregular income.
One of the ways to combat irregular income in freelancing is to be more proactive in terms of finding clients, commonly done by sending cold emails to potential clients. This means soliciting business from clients who have had no prior contact with you. Having success with cold emails to potential clients can be daunting and it can backfire if you don't know what you're doing.
The key is learning how to send cold emails that get responses. Before you send a cold email to a potential clients though, you must first learn to avoid these common cold-pitching mistakes.
Research shows that the average email user receives 147 messages a day and ends up deleting 71 of them in under 5 minutes. You don't want your cold-pitch to be one of those that people delete.
Optimizing emails by using the right words and length, plus knowing the best times to send them can help you optimize your cold emails to get responses. However, these email tactics are not enough if your email is not personalized to fit the client.
Before you craft a sample email to a client for new business, do your homework first. Learn not only about the company but also about the specific person you are writing to. People will appreciate the time and effort it took for you to do so and will most likely show that appreciation by reading your email at the very least.
Pitching to the wrong person is a waste of your time and energy and this is why doing your research prior to sending a sample email to a potential client is necessary. To increase your chances of drafting cold emails that get responses, make sure that you're contacting the person qualified to make that decision.
A company, especially a big one with several departments, may have several decision makers as well. Depending on the nature of your proposal, you will need to research not only on the specific department but most importantly, the person who is likely to be in charge of deciding on it. This will make personalizing your proposal a lot easier.
To really make sure you’re not pitching to the wrong person, find potential clients who need exactly what you’re offering by asking for referrals from your existing clients.
A business proposal is a document you send to a potential client that details the products and services you offer and how their company can benefit from them. It must be professional, clean, and easy to read. Most importantly, it must also be winning and convincing, whether you're preparing a freelance proposal, making a quotation for your freelance work, or if you're writing a book proposal.
Creating a winning proposal takes practice but it's something you can get better at in time. It is composed of various elements but the most important action you need to do first is to research. Know what the company requires for the job and see if it matches any of the products and services you offer. It is only then that you can decide how to design and write your freelance proposal.
There are sample proposals online that you can use as a guide or you can also try the Bonsai freelance proposal tool that makes creating, sending, and tracking proposals online easier.
When cold-pitching to a new client, you should make sure they will be able to get to know you and what you can do. This enables them to make an informed decision to either hire you or not. Traditionally, this means setting up a physical office to show clients that you are legit and professional. These days though, you can present yourself professionally online through your own freelance portfolio website.
Whether you are a freelance writer, a web designer, or an owner of a link building agency, there are more benefits to having a website than not having one. A freelance portfolio website not only allows you to market your services and establish your authority and expertise easily but also gives potential clients a quick and easy way to get more information about you.
You should take note though that there are many elements that go into creating a portfolio website. You can either hire someone to create one for you but you can also learn how to build one from scratch using one of the website builders you can find online.
Branding is essential to every freelancer and consultant because it helps create a powerful reputation for yourself. Some think that it only involves designing a logo or creating a look for the business. However, it also involves all the aspects that go into creating a perception for your brand, including everything from the message you send to customers, how it is delivered, to how you work together, or what kind of project management tools your freelance business uses.
Branding is not limited to companies though. Personal branding is likewise an essential factor to your success in freelancing. Remember that there are hundreds of freelancers out there who are competing for the same sets of clients. Having a personal brand sets you apart and makes you more memorable.
Take the time to explore your unique personality and focus on that. This also involves understanding who your audience is. It is better to have a defined target market rather than a broad one. Understanding how you wish to be perceived by the market helps you become more strategic in incorporating it into your personal brand, thus taking you one step closer to sending cold emails that get responses. Once you have defined your personal brand, don’t forget to apply it in your proposals, as well as your freelance contracts, invoices, and other documents.
We've already established that when sending a cold email to a potential freelance client it's important for them to learn more about you. However, it's not all about you either. Rather than boasting about your accomplishments, take the time to research more about the client to identify their needs and their pain points. Doing this allows you to better offer the services that will provide solutions to their problems. It's all about providing value to your clients, and showcasing it in a sample email to the client for business.
Your value proposition not only differentiates you from other freelancers and demonstrates the benefits your clients can gain from it. Having one will not matter though if you do not know how to properly communicate your value proposition to your clients.
It must be communicated clearly and consistently through your words and actions. Include it on your portfolio website, your other online or social media profiles, proposals, speeches, articles, and even in your freelance invoices. It can also be showcased in the work that you do, not only for your clients, but also through your speaking engagements, events, and other means.
Cold-pitching is not all about sending pitches though. While sending a sample email to your client for a proposal can help initiate a conversation, it's the follow-up emails sent after the proposal that help close the deal. Most people are busy and might even forget about replying to you though. So don't hesitate to follow up on it but be sure to do it only once so you don't end up annoying the client.
As a freelancer, knowing how to send cold emails to potential clients effectively is a skill you can’t do without. It doesn’t have to be such a daunting task though, especially if you have access to freelancing tools that will help you manage your freelance business better. With Bonsai’s all-in-one suite, you don’t have to worry about that. Sign up for your free trial today.
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?