Writing proposals that win you projects

How To Get Started Packaging Your Freelance Services

By Brennan Dunn

Did you know that by packaging your freelance services, you can greatly increase the number of clients you get and the profit you make per client? Today I want to showcase four steps you can take in your business to begin packaging up your freelancing services — whether you’re a web designer, developer, writer, or whatever it is you do.

Step 1: Evaluating how value aware your clients are

What’s the real reason people hire you?

No, not what they actually tell you. Clients don’t always like to air out their dirty laundry in public (I’m just barely hanging in there, I’m unsure about myself and my business, …) Dig deeper.

Remember, when someone wants a new logo, they’re asking to look more professional.

When they want you to rewrite their old MS Access database as a web application, they’re being eaten alive by the cost to maintain and own their existing system.

If they want a brand new website, they’re frustrated that their old site isn’t bringing in the business they were promised.

Step 2: What can you offer?

Clients approach you because they think (or at least hope) that you’re capable of solving whatever pain point their business has.

But what can you offer that surprises them? That thrills and delights?

If you’re being hired as a programmer who can rewrite a program written in A to a program written in B, what can you do that would blow away their expectations?

If you’re being hired as a writer to put together a sales page, what could you offer to deliver them more customers (the real goal) vs. writing a great sales page (the fake goal)?

Start thinking over some of the project requests you’ve gotten recently. Determine what the client thinks they need you for, and come up with a list of things you could do to benefit your client that they don’t know about yet.

Step 3: Segment your service offering into a few packages

I could rewrite that crufty MS Access application to be more stable and less dependent on whether or not someone flipped the wrong switch at your office.

Or I could do that and spend a few days interviewing and profiling your employees — the people who spend 8 hours a day in this software — to figure out how to make the application easier to use. To save them time. To save your business more operational overhead money, ergo more take-home pay for you — the owner!

Package A: Rewrite (6 months @ $XX,000)
Your decade-old MS Access application is expensive to maintain and unreliable. I’ll rewrite your application to be web-based, which will allow employees outside of the office to be able to access their work from anywhere, and IT won’t need to get involved in order to make any changes or upgrades to the application. I’ll also use development standards that will make it affordable and easy to extend the application in the future.

Package B: Enhancement (9 months @ $XX,000/mo, $8,000 for on-site interaction analysis)
I’ll not only rewrite your application, but I’ll also spend a lot of time upfront with your employees to better understand how they use the application. Then, relying on my experience in usability and software interaction, I’ll optimize the interactions your employees have with the application to dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to perform standard operations, which will save you thousands of hours of frustration over the lifetime of the application.

Remember: When you get clients to compete amongst your offerings vs. seeing a single price quote and continuing to shop around, the likelihood that they’ll settle on you skyrockets (a study by BidSketch.com found that package deals have a 36% higher chance of closing over traditional estimates.)

Step 4: Test it

There’s no need to wait for a brand new client to come around to provide more value to your existing clients.

Using the above formula, what can you do that goes beyond the scope of your engagement to delight and thrill your current clients? To surpass all the expectations they have of you?

And here’s the kicker… when you stop simply reacting to the project requests that come in the door, and start becoming proactive in coming up with ways to deliver even more value to your clients, you’ll become an increasingly rare sort of freelancer. A consultant — somebody who focuses on the business needs of their clients and applies their skills and talents to help their clients’ businesses flourish.