To many of us, the modern day is seemingly obsessed with marketing. I mean, it makes sense. Media noise grows more and more by the day and the more traffic that exists, the greater the need to market ourselves, push our USP and our freelance business to the forefront.
For freelancers in particular, marketing and self-promotion is incredibly important. Finding work — and, correspondingly, income stability — is the top barrier for freelancers. And most freelancers want the security of knowing how to grow a business built around serving customers:
- 63% of freelancers believe it’s more secure to have a diverse roster of clients than to rely on one employer for your income
- 89% of freelancers would have preferred for school to have better prepared them for the freelance life
- 81% saying they could use more training in areas like networking and how to grow a freelance-based business
Because of COVID-19, some freelancers may be worried now isn’t the time to market their business. The fact of the matter is that decades of research studies show investing in marketing during a recession will position you to recover more quickly when the recession ends.
Caitlin Pearce, former executive director of the Freelancer’s Union said, “Freelancers are spending literally 50% of their time doing the prospecting, marketing, and administrative work that they need to grow their solo businesses.”
That’s why finding a consistent, repeatable process to acquire clients is the most important element in freelancing. Once you get that set up, you can spend more of your time working and making money.
Furthermore, only 25% of freelancers say they can find work within 24 hours. Let’s help increase that percentage this year.
Step 1: Update your personal network
Reach out to your friends, family, and former coworkers. Let them know that you’re a freelancer and ask if they (or anyone they know) could use your services. You can contact them directly, on social media, or even using email.
Ideally, you’ll use a mix of tactics to make sure potential clients know that you’re available to help them with your freelance services.
Step 2: Sign on to more job boards or get more active on the ones you’re already signed to
You can search for freelance jobs just like you’d search for a normal job. Companies have “Freelance” or “Remote” openings. Apply for them. You can search on Google, LinkedIn, AngelList, and even Craigslist. You can also create profiles on freelance marketplaces like Wishu and Upwork.
Step 3: Get out there…now that we can
The world is opening up despite some setbacks. If you feel it’s safe, network in-person at industry events, conferences, and conventions. Alternatively, you can attend online conferences or events.
Step 4: Show Your Expertise and Demonstrate your Skill Set
Tutorials and webinars are a great way to do this. If you’re a web designer, you can do critiques of existing websites. If you’re an email copywriter, tear-down the marketing emails you get in your inbox. This works with almost every profession.
Step 5: Pitch Your Services
Make a list of clients that you know you want to work with. Do some research on each one to make sure you understand their challenges and how you can help them. Personalize your message to each prospective client and write a cold email that shows how you can help with your services. You should also get comfortable pitching on the phone and in person.
Step 6: Don’t be afraid of TikTok
TikTok is a great place to grow in following and its worth capitalising on that now. Use trending sounds and hashtags to draw attention to your creations and make a further name for yourself across all demographics especially since that of TikTok’s is widening by the minute.
Step 7: Organize marketing partnerships
Partner with another freelancer who sells a different service to a similar audience. Of course, you want to make sure your partner isn’t your competitor. Think: Taco Bell and Doritos. Both companies market their products to the 18-34 year old millennials market. Their audience is looking for convenient, easy options for food. So they created Doritos Locos Tacos, a new product. You don’t have to create a co-branded product to take advantage of marketing partnerships. You can collaborate on a piece of content or opt-in offer, and share the results of that promotion.