How to be a successful, profitable freelancer by building a freelance sales funnel

The secret to being a successful, profitable freelancer is to treat it like a business. Set aside time to work, set aside time to live. Manage your expenses and income. And most importantly, build a sales funnel and fill it with contacts from your target market.

If you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer, or if you are already one and trying to improve your success, start by creating a sales funnel. A freelance sales funnel will help you to focus your time by marketing in the right ways to the people who are most likely going to buy from you. And, by constructing your sales funnel effectively, you will reduce the amount that you need to sell (and increase the amount of people who come flocking to you).

ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS TO BUILD YOUR FREELANCE SALES FUNNEL
Start with the Audience stage of your sales funnel.

  • Who is your target market?
  • Where do those people spend time?
  • What problems do they have?

Next, think about the Leads stage of your sales funnel.

  • How will you know that they are Leads?
  • How can you show them that you are an expert at what you do?

Next, think about the Prospects stage of your sales funnel.

  • How will you know that they are Prospects?
  • How can you offer your services to them?
  • What specifically will you sell to them?
  • How can you provide your Prospects with the assurance that you can be trusted?
  • How will you know when they’ve agreed to buy from you?

Next, think about the Customer stage of your sales funnel.

  • How will you know that they are Customers?
  • How will you deliver your services?
  • How will they pay you?

Lastly, think about the Evangelist stage of your sales funnel.

  • How will you know that they are Evangelists?
  • How can you get them to buy from you again?
  • How can you get them to promote your services for you?

MY FREELANCE SALES FUNNEL
I’m now going to write out the sales funnel I used when I was a freelancer. I’m only going to give you the most basic version of my sales funnel. There were other elements, but you can build out and scale up (or down) your sales funnel as you see fit. But here’s a starting place if you want it:

  • Audience: I would search Guru.com for freelance writing projects posted by business owners.
  • Leads: When I found a particular project, I added it to my Watchlist (a sort-of short list that is built into Guru’s interface).
  • Prospects: This was a multi-step stage of the sales funnel for me: I would submit a proposal and then point the business owner to my blog. We would usually exchange emails or a phone call and then he or she would accept me as the professional for their project.
  • Customers: I would write the content they needed and submit it. When they were happy with it, they would pay me.
  • Evangelists: This was another multi-step stage of the sales funnel: I would usually connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter, solicit at least one testimonial from them, and offer them additional services from time to time.

That’s it! That was a very basic version of my sales funnel. Over time, I added other elements at each stage, but if I ever had to start back at zero all over again, I’d do the same thing with this basic sales funnel.

If you’re a freelancer, feel free to adopt this sales funnel and apply it to your business. You don’t have to be a freelance writer — it works for all kinds of freelancers, consultants, coaches, and more.