Being a freelancer isn’t always as easy as people make it out to be, but it can offer the dream life where you’re able to work your own hours, earn good money and also, work on projects that you’re passionate about. What’s more, you won’t have a boss yelling at you or telling you exactly how he/she wants things to be done.
Freelancing allows you a lot of freedom but the fact of the matter is that a lot of freelancers don’t even manage to get off the ground these days. There are a lot of freelancers out there and because of this, if you don’t know how to market yourself properly, it’s going to be tough to break into the market.
So how exactly should you be marketing yourself as a freelancer? Well, there are a lot of different things that you can do so I thought I’d round up a list of what I consider to be the best ways to give you a helping hand.
#1 – Get Involved With The Local Business Community
Perhaps the best way that you can really promote yourself as a freelancer is to get actively involved with your local community. Although it might be possible to work with clients from all around the world (depending on the industry that you’re in), you have to remember that there are also likely to be clients in your local area and more often than not, these are the clients that will be willing to pay good money for your services.
Not only this, but you also have the ability to meet local clients face to face which can make discussing the job a lot easier (as well as issuing the payment and collecting their money).
I’d recommend that all freelancers get involved with local networking events, business events and so forth in order to meet and interact with the local business community. You have to remember that this shouldn’t be viewed as a sales pitch, but rather an opportunity to seek out new opportunities.
This is a very cheap way to market yourself and often offers a high ROI. It’s likely that you’ll meet someone who could use your services pretty much straight away.
#2 – Join Freelancing Websites
As a freelancer myself, I can’t stress just how important joining freelancing sites is. I actually obtain a huge amount of work from freelancing websites and this year, it’s significantly contributed to my bottom line.
The amazing thing about the many freelancing websites that are out there is that they have a huge community and therefore, jobs are posted extremely regularly. Freelancing websites like PeoplePerHour.com, ODesk and other similar sites can offer a constant stream of work for most freelancers, so long as you’re good at what you do.
What’s more, most of these freelance websites have a number of different categories for jobs. This means that no matter what you specialise in, you’ll be sure to be able to find clients that are looking for your services specifically.
Freelancing sites also offer a great way for you to collect payments too. Almost all of these sites handle the payments between both parties which means that you can be sure that you’ll actually get paid for your work; thus removing the stress of chasing those unpaid invoices.
#3 – Advertise Online (Or Offline)
Source: Discount Banner Printing
Although joining freelancing websites could be classed as a form of advertising, it’s also important to remember that a lot of the more traditional advertising techniques still exist and also, work pretty well.
Online advertising can be a extremely powerful way for freelancers to market themselves and if you haven’t done so already, you might want to consider giving Google’s AdWords program a go (or another PPC provider). These services allow you to market your business on a budget as you have a great deal of control over the costs that are incurred. You set your own cost per click and also, your budget.
As well as online PPC and banner advertising, it’s also important to note that you can advertise offline with banners too. Just because you’re working in a digital industry such as graphic design doesn’t mean that offline banner advertising can’t be effective.
In some cases, you can kill two birds with one stone too. Take a look at the example banner ad above from the banner printing company, DBP. They actually used this in various online campaigns and also, in an offline printed campaign in order to maximize the effect.
#4 – Get Involved With Content Marketing
Unfortunately, a lot of freelancers still aren’t using this method of promotion and in my personal opinion, this is a huge mistake.
If you haven’t heard of content marketing, let me explain it briefly. Basically, content marketing refers to the use of content in which to market yourself to your potential client base. Content can come in virtually any form; it could be a written article, an image, a video; anything.
Let’s take a look at a real life example to better explain how you can utilise this. For the purposes of this example, we’ll assume that you’re a freelance designer specialising in website design. Now, if you have your own website (which you should have), you might write a blog post entitled “How To Find A Fantastic Website Designer”.
Anyone reading this guide will likely be looking for a website designer themselves and because you’ve written an article helping them, you’ll likely attract more potential clients.
If you are a graphic designer, it might be more fun (and appropriate) to design a cool infographic to use for content marketing purposes. It’s something to keep in mind.
The good thing about being a freelancer these days is that you’ve got technology on your side. There’s tonnes of freelancing websites, productivity applications and more to make your life as a freelancer a whole lot easier.
However, the bad news is that there’s more competition and because of this, you not only need to be a great freelancer to make your business work, but also know how to promote yourself, which hopefully this post will have helped you with to some extent.