How to Market Yourself as a FreelancerNatalia Persin
With the drastic changes in the job market over the last few years, it is no surprise that freelance work has exploded the way it has. More and more employees are leaving the workforce in droves to join the gig economy to work for themselves.
One of the most important factors you have to consider when you decide to take the freelance route is how to get your name out there. As a freelancer, your work has to be split into creating what you do, and the other half has to be focused on driving new work to you.
Wondering just how to market yourself as a freelancer? Keep reading to find out how.
What is a Freelancer?
The term freelancer is used to describe a person who works for themselves. Whether they have professional credentials or not, they have figured out a way to monetize the way they do what they do best.
While many people choose to do what they do for a company where they have the semblance of job security, a freelancer is responsible for only themselves. As a freelancer, you are in charge of the work you create and how much work you do daily.
Many people choose to work for themselves for a wide variety of reasons including having more freedom than they might work for someone else. Freelancers, depending on the type of work they do, often have the freedom to work whenever they want and for however long they.
This means that when it comes to deciding how many hours they choose to work, they have the freedom to choose. While they typically have customers they serve, they can usually negotiate the terms with more freedom.
The bottom line is that with the job market, as shaky as it is, job security often seems like a term from the past. Instead of choosing to work for others, freelancers typically see a need in the world and strive to fill that role with what they do best.
How Do You Build Your Freelance Business?
Building a freelance business can sometimes seem like a daunting task, and most of the time it is exactly that. However, if you put your best foot forward and set your mind on a goal, you can typically make it a successful venture.
If you want your freelance business to be successful, which most people do, there are specific things you need to do as you get started. Keep reading for some important steps you should take while building your business.
Find Your Niche
One of the first things you need to do is find the niche that you want to work in. This typically comes from the area of your expertise and what you may have either education or experience in to start with.
Most people figure out their niche by realizing that there is a specific need that is not being met in the market and then filling in with their idea. Others find their niche by being passionate about something and realizing a different angle on which to focus.
Tell Your Friends and Family About What You Are Doing
Once you realize what it is you want to do, you make it more real by telling others about it. This does not necessarily mean that you have to go shout it from the rooftops for everyone to hear, but at least tell the people you are closest to.
By telling others about your freelance idea, you can get feedback and possibly support that you need to keep yourself motivated. This also gives you incentive to not back down since others are aware of what you plan to do.
Outline the Details of Your Business
Before you go any further, you should outline the details of what you plan to do. This could be the initial outline of the services or products that you plan to offer.
You may also want to consider doing some research to discover what you want to charge for the services or products you plan to offer. This also helps you solidify your plans to keep you from just going back to what you were doing before.
Expand Your Network
Once you figure out what you want to do with your freelance work and have solidified some of the details, you may want to consider expanding your network. This is especially important if you are planning to either sell products or offer services.
By expanding your network, you are inviting others into your world and can then see what others are doing as well. If you find the right people, they may even be able to help you get your business off the ground.
What Can You Do to Thrive in the Freelance Business
If you have decided to delve into the world of freelance work, then it is most likely because you want to be successful at something that belongs to you. To be successful at this new venture, you have to figure out what is needed for you to be seen differently so you can thrive.
- Knowing your value as a freelancer is one of the most important things you can do upfront. It is important to have this etched in your mind so that when you find yourself in a situation where you are asked to bend, you remember your value.
- Doing your research is another valuable factor in having a successful business. When it comes to offering your services to others, you want to know what your competitors are offering and who they are.
- Be confident in yourself to know that you have what it takes to create a successful business. Know that you are the one person that can fill the need in your specific field of expertise.
- Focus more of your attention on building loyalty than building your bottom line. While making money is vital, when you build loyalty, the customers will keep coming back for more of what you offer.
- When you do a good job for a customer, be sure to ask for references and testimonials for your website. This is how you show your worth to other potential customers or clients overall.
How to Market Yourself as a Freelancer
Marketing yourself as a freelancer is the one way that you will build your business in a way that is not only sustainable but also successful. Knowing how to market yourself can be overwhelming, but it is not as difficult as it seems.
Here are some tips on how to market yourself as a freelancer that you may want to consider:
1. Create a Unique Website
As you begin to put together your marketing plan, you should start by creating a unique website for your business. This will show people that you are serious about what you are beginning with and will give you a professional edge.
There are many options out there to build your website whether you decide to save money initially by doing it yourself or hiring a professional. Whichever way you choose, just be sure that the website positively represents your brand.
2. Make Social Media a Part of Your Marketing Plan
Most people know that social media platforms are the best way to spread the word about just about anything. This is because the platforms are a never-ending source of networks that can extend exponentially.
By including social media in your marketing plan, you have the opportunity to reach more people than just those in your community. Social media has become one of the fastest ways to reach millions of people with just a click of a button.
3. Don’t Be Above Trading Services
When you are just starting your freelance business, you cannot afford to be picky about how you get your brand into the hands of those who count. This means that if you are approached by some other freelancer to trade services, it may be a good idea to say yes.
For example, you may offer bookkeeping services while another freelancer is a social media manager. You may want to team up to help each other out by doing their books while they run your social media campaign.
4. Consider Starting a Blog or Podcast
Some freelancers have further marketed themselves by starting either a blog or podcast that is linked to their website. The advantage is that if you have the knowledge to share about your industry, and you share it, you then become an authority on the subject.
By creating blogs or podcasts and then sharing them on social media, you have the opportunity to reach more and more people than you wouldn’t have before. Blogging or podcasting is a great way to attract new customers to your website that may end up needing your services or products.
5. Create an Online Portfolio
Another step most freelancers do as soon as they can begin to create a professional portfolio that they can display on their website. This allows potential clients to see the kind of work you are capable of doing.
Before you create your portfolio, you may want to do a little research to make sure you are developing the best possible portfolio for your business. It is important to send the right message to your potential clients and creating a professional portfolio is one way to get that done.
6. Join Groups and Forums on Social Media Platforms
Since you are doing at least a portion of your marketing using social media platforms, it is also advantageous to find groups and forums that may fit your business’s needs. Try to focus on those that are within your industry but are not competition for you.
By joining these groups and forums, you may be able to help someone in the group with a problem and then they may become a client. This is how many people have been able to expand their businesses quickly.
7. Ask for Customer Testimonials
Once you have done some work for a customer or two, don’t be afraid to ask them for a referral or testimony. In most cases, word-of-mouth advertising is better than paying for any ad you may be considering.
When potential customers see that you have satisfied clients it may make them feel more confident in your services. Clients often want to see what you can do for them in terms of a portfolio, but having an actual person speak highly of you can speak volumes.
8. Develop a Referral Program
At the beginning of your work, you may find that creating a referral program is a great way to drive in new clients. If you think about it, daily there are people everywhere that are telling someone about a company they recently used for something.
Because of this, what would be the harm in offering those customers a way to earn free stuff just by referring you to someone else? Referral programs, if done correctly, can lead to many more customers coming your way.
9. Be Consistent
Whatever you decide to focus your marketing efforts on, just make sure you are consistent. If it seems that you are all over the place, this may make some clients a bit nervous.
Try to focus your attention on a few areas so that you know exactly what is working and what is not. There is nothing worse in a new freelance business than throwing money at advertising that is ineffective.
10. Consider Cold Calling
If you are still not driving in the business the way you expected, you may want to consider cold calling. This may feel a little sales-focused at first, but calling on potential clients can work if it is done correctly.
To do this, you should use part of your day to seek out 4-5 companies that may benefit from what you offer. Then, you can either call them or send an email that is focused on what you can do for them and ask them for a quick chat.
Ready to Market Yourself as a Freelancer?
Now that you are familiar with many tips that you can use to market yourself as a freelancer, it may be time for you to go out and do the work. Keep in mind that the only way you are going to drive in the business is to put yourself out there by marketing yourself.