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10 Essential Steps to Making the Perfect Pitch

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To make it as a freelancer, you need to be able to sell your work. That’s why making a great pitch to a prospective client is one of the key skills you can develop to be more successful.

However, many freelancers screw up the pitch in a number of common ways, from talking too much about yourself and what you want, from not knowing what the client wants, to rambling on, to not saying who you are and why you’re perfect.

Don’t make these mistakes. Follow the steps below to make the perfect pitch.

1. Know the client. If you know the client well, you’re in a great position to make a great pitch. If not, you need to take the time to do a little research. Get to know their product, company, or publication. Google them, find out more via LinkedIn, contact others in your network who know the client. The more you know, the better your pitch.

2. Know their goals. Specifically, you want to know what the client hopes to achieve. Sure, they hope to sell a product or service. But how? What message are they trying to sell to the public? Who are they reaching out to? This is key. Talk to others, read their website, learn their message from promotions and marketing and advertising.

3. How will you help them meet those goals? Here’s why the client’s goals are key: because to make the perfect pitch, all you have to do is show how you will help them meet those goals. What service will you provide that they don’t already have that will move them closer to those goals? How will you be valuable to them? Why are you the perfect person to provide that value? If you want them to hire you, don’t show why hiring you would be good for you — show how it will be great for them.

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10 Phrases Every Freelancer Should Kick-Out of Their Vocabulary

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kick out1. “I can do it for cheaper” — If you could do it for cheaper, why did you quote me a higher price in the first place? You may think that this is what a client wants, but it can really undermine your professional standing in their eyes. Don’t drop your prices if you are confident in your abilities. It will backfire.

2. “I am not the best…” — You may not be the best, but this isn’t exactly awe-inspiring for a client to hear, is it? I see lots of very successful independent professionals play down their strengths — sometimes to the point where the client looses confidence in them. If you have a hard time talking about yourself, check out the book Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn, Without Blowing It by Peggy Klaus.

3. “Umm…uh..” — Okay, it’s not exactly a phrase, but umms and uhs can really kill a conversation. One of my MBA professors would never let us finish a sentence if we used sound fillers. It was agonizing at first, but really paid off by the end of the semester. If you feel speech is really a problem for you, get some coaching. Most universities with communication programs have PhD students who work with the general public for a great price.

4. “This is a side-gig” — And it may be a side gig, but don’t share unless you plan on keeping it a side gig forever. If your plan is to eventually create your freelancing empire, leave out this detail.

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10 Tax Deductions Freelancers Can Make

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piggybankTax time can be especially stressful for freelancers: despite paying estimated tax payments throughout the year, it’s rare that a freelancer doesn’t still have to come up with some money for April 15 — or come up with a long enough list of deductions.

There are quite a few deductions available to freelancers that may not seem obvious when you first sit down with all those 1099s and receipts. But as long as you have the right documentation, you can write off plenty of deductions you may never have thought of.

Unpaid invoices

Did one of your clients disappear over the course of last year, leaving you with an unpaid invoice or two? The IRS allows you to write off those invoices as bad debts. Writing them off as a freelancer is a little more complicated than for other types of businesses: that invoice must be included in your gross income, which means that you must use the accrual method of accounting (reporting income as you earn it). If you use the cash method, you didn’t need to report an unpaid invoice to the IRS at all. For more information, look at IRS Publication 535.

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