If you’ve learned one thing as a freelancer, it’s that quiet periods are inevitable.
But don’t lose sight of the big picture.
More companies than ever are extending their online reach – and recognizing the benefits of incorporating freelance work into their business model to help them reach their goals.
It’s a rapidly developing market that will continue to provide opportunities for you to get paid for your freelance expertise.
In this article, we’re breaking down the 5 things you can do during quiet spells to win more work and further your career.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Search Job Listings
It’s possible you’ve been inadvertently cutting yourself out of viable work opportunities.
When you scan job listings, don’t rule out the full-time category. If you have the right qualifications and experience, don’t hesitate to present yourself as a candidate for a job that sounds like a good fit.
Ask the employer if they’re open to contract work. You may be pleasantly surprised: many businesses are now beginning to recognize the financial and functional value of hiring freelancers on a temporary basis.
Employers get the benefit of your niche expertise – without the inherent costs of maintaining a full-time hire.
Grow Your Network By Getting Social
Strategic networking garners both clients and referrals.
Think about the platforms your ideal clients are likely to spend their time on, and start growing a network that’s a blend of fellow freelancers and clients.
Join the social channels used by your target audience, then start a dialogue by offering helpful and engaging posts. This will not only grow your network – it will keep you on their radar for future projects.
Three of the most effective channels are:
- Facebook: join groups in your industry to multiply connections
- Instagram: Interact with fellow creatives as a way of word-of-mouth advertising and to connect with new clients
- Linkedin: It’s “the” networking tool for professionals. Daily engagement with your feed will make you more likely to pop up on a potential employer’s radar.
Finally, if you’re not already a member of an industry association, now is the time to join. It gives you professional clout and offers great networking opportunities.
Build Your Client Base with Email Marketing
You want your information to be delivered to the inboxes of prospective clients. Email marketing allows you to reach your target group without being at the whim of social media guidelines or search engines.
Use a pop-up lead capture form. This creates a notification on your site which prompts users to provide their email address in exchange for a benefit, such as a discount or an ebook. It’s an effective and relatively easy way to expand your email list.
Keep potential clients engaged by sending out regular newsletters. This can be done manually, or with a software tool such as Mailchimp.
Get Listed & Get Reviewed
If you want your freelance business to be found, it needs to show up on popular search sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
The site you choose to list on should be specific to your skills. You want to be seen by users who are searching for the services you offer.
After you’re listed, ask clients to leave reviews of your work. Research proves that personal testimonials are powerful persuaders.
Collaborate to Cross-Sell
A partnership created to cross-sell can bring you more new clients without having to pass up work you’re not an expert in.
For example, if you are a website designer, you could partner with freelance writers to also take on content marketing campaigns. This way, your client could get both the website and content tied to it. You and your partner now get more work – and, ideally, great advertising through word-of-mouth.
If you’re in the market for a collaborator, check out online resources such as:
- WordPress Meetups: a hub for a diverse group of aspiring business developers eager to exchange ideas and explore collaborative opportunities
- Facebook: Groups like Freelancers’ Hub are great interactive forums for people looking to start new projects
- Co-working spaces: an ideal way to network in person. These shared spaces allow you to connect, brainstorm – and get your work done!
Extend Your e-Reach
If your experience includes working on digital marketing campaigns for eCommerce businesses, this is a perfect opportunity to reach out to other store owners. Your experience in the industry could help you get your leg in the door and possibly lead to new projects.
Google should help you find such businesses you can target. You can also visit the app store of eCommerce platforms like Shopify where potential clients have offered reviews of the various apps they use. Build a database of such businesses, and use a service like LinkedIn to find the relevant person from the organization, or an email lookup tool to help you find email addresses.
Turn To Your Hobbies
If you have some – ahem – spare time, this could be an opportunity to turn to a hobby project. Thinking about creating a niche blog, or a micro-Saas tool? Starting on it now will keep your brain active and your skills sharp. If you continue to grow it, over time it can potentially generate a decent passive income.
Many blogs that started out as spare-time projects have become hugely successful. (Does the name Perez Hilton ring a bell?)
Blogs are a great tool for attracting the attention of a select audience. If you haven’t already, invest time in creating one. Craft content focusing on topics or offering solutions that your targeted client group would be searching for.
Bundle Up to Add Value
Highlight and leverage ALL your areas of expertise – not only the one or two you generally rely on to market yourself. For example, if you’re a blog writer, you can also offer to do copywriting for their social media ads or email marketing.
Market yourself as a one-stop-shop. By offering various skills as a bundle, you’re giving prospective employers two powerful incentives: you’re simplifying the logistics of outsourcing, and you’re helping them manage their marketing expenses.
In the end, whether you’re a marketing specialist or a website optimizer, successful freelancing is all about building relationships and establishing your value as a professional.
Treat the “pause” in your workflow as simply that. A pause.
Use the opportunity to regroup, review your goals, refine your portfolio and, most importantly, reach out to make new connections.
Then hit “refresh” – and get to it!