1. Your response timeYou're not always logged in, and you don't have a customer support team. (In a world of micro-businesses, who does?) So, say something about when they can expect to hear back from you. 48 hours, perhaps?
2. Your availabilityIf you're going on a holiday for an extended time, you might want to mention that too. Or if you already have more clients than you can handle, you don't have to pull out your profile or make it invisible. Some potential clients might be willing to wait until you are available again. Maybe tell them to contact you anyway to get on a waiting list.
3. List of services and pricing structureIf you haven't thought about it, consider offering "service packages" with different levels of services that customers can choose from. A detailed listing would help potential customers make better comparisons.
Each service niche has a different way of doing things. For example:
- Most profile photographers provide pricing packages based on the number of photos plus a sitting fee.
- Machinimatographers base their pricing structure on the filming time and number of minutes in the final video.
- Writers and editors might charge by the word or by the page.
- Lawyers / psychologists / coaches pretty much have a set per-hour or per-minute rate plus expenses, just like in real life.
- Musicians / DJs / performers tend to negotiate with the venue owners/managers, and the rates are based on a set hourly fee and/or a percentage of tips.
- Sim builders have to negotiate based on the complexity of the project and the timeframe.
You don't have to copy what other people have done. If you can offer something unique and innovative, but still relevant, you might improve your chances of getting the attention of prospective clients. In fact, differentiation makes it difficult to compare you with others, so the competition is not based on price only, but on other factors, like originality and creativity.
4. Past workIf you've been providing the service for a length of time, like a few months, your prospective clients would want to see your past work, so you would want to add links where they can get an idea of the quality of your work.
- Sim builders: Add SLURLs to the sims you've built or designed, if they're open to the public.
- Musicians / DJs / other performers: Add SLURLs to the venues where you've performed. If the venue owner/manager is willing to vouch for you, you might want to add their names, or ask them to write a review for you. (You must have a Featured or Premium listing to allow people to post reviews about you.)
- Photographers: Add a link to your Flickr photostream or whatever website you use to display your photos. If you don't have an account, you can post some samples on Google Drive or a similar repository and add that link.
- Machinimatographers: Add a link to your YouTube or Vimeo channel(s).
- Writers: Add a link to your blog, of course! Or to your contributions to other blogs. Or to your social media pages. Or to your book's page on Amazon.com. Or to anywhere your words are published.
- Lawyers / psychologists / coaches: Because of confidentiality agreements, your previous clients might not be willing to be mentioned, but they might give you permission to quote them if you anonymize their names.
If you're just starting out, no worries. Just say so in your profile and see the next item below. You just might be lucky enough to find a client who is willing to give you a break and help you get started. It happens in virtual worlds a lot!
5. Guarantees / Discounts / Promos
- If you're new to the business and willing to do gigs for tips only, say so.
- If you're offering a special discount for work agreed upon during the current month or before a specific date, say so.
- If you are willing to give volume discounts (like a cheaper hourly rate if more than 20 hours are guaranteed), say so.
- If you're willing to match your competitor's price, say so.
What else would you recommend other service providers to add to their profiles? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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