Freelancing is no longer just a side hustle for many. In fact, it can now be considered a lucrative career. People gravitate towards starting a freelance business because of its many benefits (such as being their own boss), but the thought of having to market themselves can be daunting. After all, a freelance business typically has no big advertising budgets or a PR team to do marketing for them.
Thankfully, there are many strategies that any freelancer, newbie or veteran, can take to get out there and put their business in the market today, in 2020, and beyond. Here are some of them.
As a freelancer, the internet is your door to a world of opportunities. It's critical that you have a strong online presence that puts your name out there. To start off, build your branded assets, such as your logo, letterheads, and professional photo. You will need these for most — if not all — of your freelance business marketing. Next, work on the following:
Your CV should always be on hand, but nothing speaks more for a freelancer than their previous work. You should compile your best work and put up a portfolio on your website, your social media pages, and professional profiles where you advertise your services.
Portfolios make the most sense for visual creators (such as designers, photographers, and videographers), but they need to be utilized by all freelance business owners. Writers can keep their best articles, blog posts, and other writing content on display (just add pictures to make them look good — Unsplash is a great free resource). Developers can take screenshots of websites and apps they developed and explain the functionalities they developed. If the work is publicly available, add relevant links.
If your clients own all rights to projects you're working on (i.e. you ghostwrite), then you need to work on personal projects to add to your portfolio. Web designers and developers can do sample website designs or create redesign concepts of popular sites. Are you a writer? Try guest blogging — it will likely be unpaid but you'll get a byline and a link back to your website.
A blog can provide clients valuable information about you. When you put out quality content, you can establish your credibility as an expert in your field. You can use your blog to provide value to your prospects, such as giving them advice on areas of their business that your services can help address.
Also consider sharing stories. Talk about what you're working on right now, maybe even the struggles you have on a particular project. You don't have to name the client or the project itself; being genuine is the best way to engage your audience.
It may also be important to note that while you may or may not be a good writer right now, writing is a skill you will want to develop as a freelancer. You'll be sending emails, writing proposals, and doing other written forms of communications a lot. Blogging regularly can help with that.
We have all sorts of advertising thrown at us every day, but nothing will probably ever beat word-of-mouth. In fact, 64% of CMOs and marketing executives consider word-of-mouth to be the most effective form of marketing.
Reach out to friends and family and let them know what you do. Even just a message on Facebook could work out well for you. Try: "Hey, I've been working on building my freelance writing business. If you or anyone you know needs writing work done hope you can send them my way! Thanks!"
Most importantly, get in touch with current and former clients and ask for referrals. If they were satisfied with the work you've put out, then you are likely to get new business through them. You might also consider giving clients incentives by offering a discount for successful referrals.
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