Dear Gigging Moms,
As much as we’d all like to think our success springs up from our talents and abilities, I have to set the record straight, that some seemingly superficial things can play a significant role in the success of your freelance business.
In this post, I thought it would be smart as we’re starting our journey together and as you’re launching out on your own to talk about some simple, non-businessy things you could do to make more money freelancing and land reputable, high-value clients right out the gate.
#1 Upgrade Your Smile
Your smile matters. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to inspire confidence, spread good vibes, and make life easier for those around you. So, you want to make sure you have the best smile you can, and that’s going to be different for everyone.
For me, it means fixing a tooth I cracked by grinding my teeth during 2020’s political climate. For my daughter, it means deep cleaning. For you, it could just mean gracing us with those pearly whites more often.
This isn’t about having a front gap (which I think looks really cool) or crooked teeth. This is simply about taking care of your teeth and your breath. And smiling more.
#2 Slay ‘Em with Your Hair
Believe it or not, your hair is also a tool for getting better clients. When you value the way you look, most likely, you also value your work because it will affect your image. Or that’s the thinking, at least.
I’m not the type of person who loves to spend time or money at the salon, and when I do sit in a chair, it’s usually a barber’s chair. But the way you are groomed and even the style and color of your hair affect how and if people will do business with you. It may not be a situation where you can’t land freelance business. It may just be a situation where better grooming could have landed you more money. #facts
#3 Or Take Care of Your Wig
As someone who LOVES curly crochets, I’m not hating on you if you have a Moira-Rose-sized thing for wigs. But if you’re working to building your freelance business, take care of your You wouldn’t want that awkward look on your client’s face when they look at you. An old, dirty, and stinky wig may ruin a good conversation between you and your client. Don’t let it get in the way. Make sure to get a natural-looking weave that can get you positive attention.
#4 Keep Your Car Cleanish
Take care of your car. If you don’t have one, that’s fine. I couldn’t afford a car for YEARS while I was recareering. In fact, the whole point of this blog is to expedite the upskilling process so it doesn’t end up taking YOU years to be able to afford the stuff you want .
But if you do have a car, take care of it. Keep it washed and keep it relatively clean – no easy task if you have little ones, I know. Stanford University reported that 1 in 5 American meals are eaten in a car. But maybe once a week, get out there and clean the inside and outside of your car. A few Black Ice fragrant trees wouldn’t hurt either.
#5 Tighten Up Your Language
As much as we all love to flex on fools by representing where we’re from, when it comes to your business, it would benefit you to minimize the slang, colloquialisms, and maybe even your accent if you’re sounding either too Brooklyn or too West Virginian. (90s Brooklyn, not the current startup-community Brooklyn)
I knew a guy from Chicago, and half the time, I literally didn’t know what he was talking about because he wrapped every idea in slang that was popular on the Southside. And only understood by other people from the Southside.
#6 Be Confident
Easier said than done, right? It’s not the easiest thing in the world to be confident when you’re first starting out in your freelance business. Half the time you’ll feel like you don’t know what the heck you’re doing. That’s okay. For those times when failure feels like it’s a legitimate option, confidence will show up as faith in what God has given you to do and optimism that you can turn things around.
Confidence is not a feeling. It’s behavior, a stance, an attitude. It’s a value. And you can trick your body into feeling more confident by the way you stand.
Let’s Talk About the Imposter Syndrome for a Sec
A lot of women and high-profile people struggle with the Imposter Syndrome, an underlying fear that they are not supposed to be where they are. And I’m going to go against the general consensus and say for many of us, we aren’t supposed to be where we are. We are where we are because God favored us.
When I was asked to be the head of Content Marketing at The Shelf, I was coming in as a blogger with good marketing instincts, not as a bonafide, certified content marketer. I had been studying to land a job at an agency as a content marketer, but I wasn’t ready to come in and hit the ground running. I knew enough to move the needle in the right direction, but not enough to identify the goals we should have been targeting and implementing strategies to help us hit those goals.
But every day I’ve spent in the role, I’ve either been working my butt off to make sure The Shelf wins or training to make myself a better marketer. Literally every day. My driving music is marketing videos and content podcasts.
Should I have been hired for that job? Yes and no. Yes, because I love my work, I’m loyal, and my background as an entrepreneur makes me a pretty low-maintenance employee. But based on experience and expertise, I was nowhere near equipped to do the job.
This is the case with a lot of us, whether or not we want to admit it. Confidence is about faith in the God who put you where you are and optimism that your obedience [to God], hard work, dedication, and natural talents will help you succeed.
#7 Put on the Right Clothes
They say clothes don’t make the man. That’s not really true of women. Like it or not, your clothes communicate a great deal about you, namely how (and if) you value yourself and whether you should be trusted to do what you say you’re capable of doing. As a woman, how you present yourself to the world speaks loads about your experience and professionalism.
Here’s the harsh [possibly unfair] reality – showing a lot of cleavage, wearing super-tight pants, showing your belly, or sporting short dresses or skirts puts you in a position where you’re starting from behind, and you then have to work harder to prove to potential clients that you are the professional you say you are. It also limits your opportunities to do business in cultures (both domestically and abroad) where people believe women should dress modestly.
It’s okay to dress modestly. While the business world may be the perfect place to exert your feminine power, it’s not the place to exert your sexuality, and the wives and partners of the men you work with will agree with me on that.
Button up that blouse, girl. The way you dress influences how people view you.
#8 Wake Up to Make Up
There’s nothing wrong with wearing makeup but too much makeup might not be the right look for you when you’re trying to land the big contracts.
But the thing is the term “too much makeup” is highly subjective.
I’m like a lot of stay-at-home moms who are also working from home in that my makeup routine takes 5 minutes. On the days I feel “made up”, I’m not even wearing enough of anything for it to show up on camera. Every picture you’ve ever seen of me is one where I’m my version of “made up”.
My oldest daughter, on the other hand, takes 30 or 40 minutes to do her face, and she always looks perfect. She doesn’t look “made up” even on those days when she dots her face with freckles.
You can do business with your face beat, absolutely. But just know that showing up in a peacock eye may be a distraction for the person you’re doing business with, even if that’s your everyday vibe. So, go full-face, but consider going with a more natural look when you are dealing with a client.
We’re all precious in God’s sight, but your intrinsic value as a human being doesn’t really translate dollar-for-dollar in the marketplace.
We live in the era of social media where your image matters. Whether you like it or not, your clients begin their process of managing the degree of trust they have in you based on your image – the first impression they get from you. So, be really, really deliberate about the way in which you present yourself to the world. This list of eight things is a good place to start because these are simple, seemingly superficial things you can do to make more money freelancing.
Hope it helped you.