One of the biggest challenges for freelancers is marketing their services (getting other people to know about them), signing contract templates with good clients, or finding great prospects worthy of drafting scope of work templates or quote templates. Gone are the times when you might use the yellow pages and classified ads to advertise your services. In today’s tech-driven era, people often turn to online directories and Google when looking for a service or product.
As a freelancer, this trend to search online provides you with a great opportunity to market your services using a freelance portfolio website, and allows you to go toe-to-toe with the big businesses.
If you are a freelancer with your own business website, you can easily present yourself and your services in a professional manner without the need for a physical office. Your own freelance business website helps to establish your authority and expertise in your field and gives your target clients a way to easily and quickly get more information about you and what you can do for them.
If you don’t have one yet, check out our 10 tips to help you get started (and this guide on how to build a website from scratch).
Depending on your expected traffic volume, your hosting server must be capable and sufficient for your needs. Look for a hosting company that offers almost zero downtime, powerful mainframes, and state-of-the-art software, as well as premium support and 24/7 helplines. This will help your own business website function round-the-clock without errors or bad gateway problems.
Your website’s user interface must communicate to your visitors very well. Navigational buttons must be placed comfortably, menu items must be clear and free from industry jargon, and your visitor should not feel like they’re in some sort of mystery treasure hunt on your website. Use the proper backgrounds that can ensure readable text and other elements. Avoid fancy fonts and opt for easy-to-read ones.
There are a lot of website platforms or builders such as Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, but the most popular of all is undeniably WordPress. Whatever website builder you end up choosing for your freelance portfolio website, make sure you are familiar with it and you can capitalize on the platform’s strengths at your advantage. Do proper research and do not hesitate to ask other freelancers for recommendations.
If you have no idea of the kind of website you want, get inspiration by browsing online and looking at other freelance business website examples. Take note of various styles and elements such as layouts, fonts, colors, and navigation. Look at as many websites as you can and list down any specific things or elements that you like. Check out the various themes offered by your chosen website platform and play around in your mind with how you want your own website to look like.
Branding is a way you can distinguish yourself from other freelancers who offer the same service. Choose your brand colors and design your logo, then make sure to apply it to your own website design (a branding questionnaire can ease the process). If brand design is not your forte, feel free to get help from other freelancers who offer these services.
Keep this branding consistent throughout your website and everywhere else. If you have a social media account for your freelancer services, apply it there as well. Do the same for any document that comes from you such as your web design invoices, downloadable resources, freelance contract, freelance proposals, and the like. Creating these documents with your branding is easy with Bonsai’s suite of freelancer tools.
Your freelance portfolio website is all about you as a freelancer and the services you can provide your potential clients. Make it easy for your website visitors to access all the information relevant to you and your services.
Details such as what services you provide, how to get in touch with you, the process of hiring you, your working style, and the prices of your services (if available). You can even allow your visitors to download a copy of your resume outlining your freelance work. Think of all the questions that potential clients ask you and make it easy for your website visitors to get answers by putting up a Frequently Asked Questions page.
Do not make your website visitors guess when it comes to what you can do and the quality you can provide. Include a freelance portfolio of your previous work on your own website, such as samples of your writing, design, or freelance translations. Present it with the use of images and videos, if applicable, then remember to include descriptions of what you did for each project or freelance client.
If you can also include a testimonial from a client, that's even better. Do not worry if you only have a few projects to showcase; even a single great project that is presented well can win you more projects to work on.
Whether it is a helpful how-to PDF file or free extra service to clients, having a freebie on your own freelance portfolio website will be appreciated by your website visitors. Do not think of this as ‘working for free’ because freelancers should not make the mistake of working for free for the sake of gaining clients.
Think of your freebie as a way to showcase your expertise and a sample of what you can do for your clients and keep it that way. Not all who claim any free resource you offer will sign up to be your client, but they will appreciate it and some of them may refer someone else who needs your services. Any freebie you offer will simply serve as a gesture of goodwill and even if these do not provide you with any immediate rewards, you will be planting the seeds of goodwill.
Having a website that is not optimized for search engines is like having a billboard placed along a deserted street and can only be seen by a handful few. Make sure your online presence can be seen by search engines so that your website will come up on search results pages.
Read up on search engine optimization and use what you learn when you build your freelance portfolio website. Decide on your target keywords and use them throughout your website.
If you offer local services, then it will be helpful to observe local SEO best practices such as embedding a Google Map that pins your location, claiming your business in Google My Business, and using your location name in your content. Most website platforms also offer plugins or extensions that help you optimize your website for search engines. Do not be afraid to install one (after adequate research) and use it to help manage your on-going website SEO.
Your website visitors will not all be viewing your website on a computer using the same browser. In this tech-driven times, a lot of people access the internet often from their mobile devices. Make sure your website is compatible and view-able on various devices and screens such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops. Do not forget to test by viewing your website using each of these devices and from different browsers.
Having your own website can provide your freelancing services with a huge boost. With the right tools and help, you can have your website and your freelance service front and center of your potential clients’ views, ready to highlight when you send cold emails for jobs. With the tips listed above, you are on your way to growing your freelance services and gaining more clients.
Focus on your freelance portfolio website and let Bonsai do the rest - sign up for a free trial and get access to a suite of freelance tools that will make your life easy and seamless, from creating proposals, to drafting contracts, to tracking time, and to billing clients.
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?