Working from home
• Have a reliable computer. Promoting yourself and then having your computer break down, is no way to gain a good reputation. Invest in a good computer. I have an iMac.
• Check your email. At least a couple of times a day - and be sure to respond to inquiries. I get inquires all of the time for cartoons, design work, etc. And take the time to respond to the questions, don't just send them to your website. If they want to go to your website, fine, but give them an answer. Sure, the information is all there. But take a few seconds to copy and paste it into the email. Doing this is part of "the cost of doing business". Learn to do it quickly and precisely.
• Set up and use Paypal. You would be surprised how easy it is to use. And it works all over the world. No, you don't need to accept credit cards. If someone prefers not to use Paypal, they can mail me a check. But, well, most people use Paypal.
• Pick up the phone. Many times people like to know that they are dealing with a real human being. You're in business. If you're afraid of giving out your cell phone number to prospective clients, you are making a mistake. Call them. Your number will show up on their phone and it will say, "this is a real person that you can trust, and hire."
• Be businesslike. I ask for a deposit before I submit sketches. I ask for payment before I release the final artwork. You won't scare away good clients by doing that - if your product or service is valuable to them, they will pay you. If not, they won't.
• Have a meeting place. Some clients like to meet me face-to-face, but it's inappropriate to invite them to my home. I meet my clients at the Starbucks on the corner. If you're a really big client, I will visit you, but that is rare.
My time is valuable, so I use every trick I can to avoid having to spend my time doing errands. I do most of my shopping online, that sort of thing. I like the convenience and the precision of getting exactly what I want, and I know my clients appreciate it, too!
Posted by Brad Hall