The most challenging task for the majority of freelancers is knowing how to promote yourself. For both beginners and experienced ones, getting new clients, and finding new work can be a struggle if you haven’t got a solid brand.
That’s right – if you’re self-employed, your brand is your income.
So, forget about what your mom taught you about how bad it is to brag about yourself! As a freelancer, this is exactly what you need to do to get your name out there in front of the right people.
Whatever business area you’re in – web design, content writing, coding, or translation – there are some techniques used by expert freelancers that helped them to build a steady customer base.
Let’s find out what it takes to promote yourself as a freelancer and get clients!
1. Invest in Online Presence
The Internet may be the only place for finding clients for you, so you need to ensure that your presence there is significant. There are a number of ways to achieve that:
- Website: An elegant-looking, updated website with all information about you, your experience, samples of work, services you provide, your clients, and qualifications will go a long way in helping you learn how to promote yourself (see examples of great freelance websites here). Keep in mind that when it comes to websites, simpler is often better; a six or seven page website built on a responsive WordPress theme is all you need.
- Blog: It could be a separate website or a section of a website. The biggest advantage of having a blog is that provides new information on a regular basis while a website is basically static. Articles on your blog should share professional tips, talk about freelancing, and lead readers to you. Don’t forget to work on SEO, as a blog could be an important source of traffic.
- Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram – these could also be sources of clients if you establish an appropriate presence there. By setting up business pages and marketing yourself in a proper way, you can connect with agencies and individual clients. Share entries from your blog, testimonials from your clients, connect with other people in your industry, and give people news from the industry.
2. Look like Business
To promote yourself through the Internet, you need to create a good first impression by “dressing the part.” This means that you should have a professional email address, website, phone number, business cards, and, in many cases, office hours.
For example, many expert freelancers recommend buying a web domain to look professional because regular Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail email addresses simply don’t appear professional.
“Also, you have to have a Skype for business users to ensure that your clients get that “business-like experience” as well,” says Cam Davidson, a freelance business coach. “And don’t even think about answering a call from a potential client with something like “what’s up?“”
Even if your office is your home, consider having office hours. They will help clients to know when to call and when to expect an answer from you.
If you’re looking to set yourself up on freelance job sites, check out this great article from The Freelance Hustle on how to make your profile stand out.
3. Network Online
Networking means constant interaction with the online audience, including your followers on social media, professional organizations, and everyone who connects with you. Networking on social media, for example, provides a perfect platform to promote yourself, as you can engage in conversations with the online community, and build relationships with colleagues and potential clients.
Social media and blogs also provide an excellent opportunity to establish credibility as a business person. For example, by sharing helpful and interesting content related to your business, you can become a source of reliable information and an option for future projects.
4. Begin Creating Tutorials
You’re a professional at what you’re doing, right? As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This is 100 percent true because how can one call themselves a professional and not be able to explain something they do regularly?
So, consider recording a video tutorial or write a tutorial about a common project in your industry (depends on what you want to talk about, both video and text are common). Often, freelancers admit that they find something new even in projects they have been doing for years when they explain them to an audience.
Creating a tutorial thus could be a learning experience for you as well. Plus, it works well to create an image of you as being a professional confident enough to share his or her knowledge.
5. Finding your First Client
In this section, we’ll discuss how you can increase your chances of finding the first client to help beginners. Of course, clients should be coming to them, but to get to that, they need to have a good portfolio and a solid work process. If you already have them, feel free to skip this section, but make sure to stick around if you don’t.
People beginning their way in freelance business should start looking for clients among family, friends, past employers, and other people they know. Just telling them about what you’re doing could help because they may think of you next time they need a professional to do what you can. Besides, they can be your first referrals.
Then, compile a list of email addresses or social media profiles of potential clients, recruiters, or businesses (or persons from a business that could have the influence to hire you). Create a simple message to send to them but tailor each for the person you’re contacting.
Here is an example:
Hi [person name],
Thank you for reading this message. My name is John Thompson and I’m a content writer based in Massachusetts.
I specialize in web content writing: creative writing for blogs and businesses. If you’re interested, please feel free to check the full list of my services on my website [link].
I’m contacting you to determine if you have a need for the services I provide.
Examples of my works can be found here [link].
If you have questions, please feel free to ask them by replying to this message.
I appreciate your time.
Refine this message with time so you can get new clients faster.
Stick to Your Marketing
You should constantly promote yourself and your freelance business. Be ready – nothing will make you an overnight success, so be as patient as you can and carry on. At some point, you’ll realize that your marketing is working and you’re becoming a known professional in your industry.