How to get your freelancing career off to a successful start
As a freelancer, you have to be good at what you do, no matter what it is. That much goes without saying, but there’s still lots of contributing factors you’ll need to think about and learn in order to assist your freelance career in taking off. More importantly, for it to offer a stable source of regular income. Simply because you’re good at your chosen craft, be it writing or social media consultancy, or something else entirely, this alone isn’t enough. You have to market yourself.
Here is a guide to assist you with getting your freelancing career off to a successful start, from Chorus Commerce.
Offer work samples
Anyone can say they can do something, but when it comes to exchanging money for work, clients are going to need a good indication you’re not all talk. That’s why you need an array of work samples to showcase your craft and whether or not you’re the right fit for the job. Whether it’s previous jobs you’ve done or samples you’ve whipped up for the purpose of getting new clients on board, anything goes, especially when you’re starting out, as long as it can prove your talent and abilities. Examples should show versatility in what you do to give the impression you can adapt to different briefs and client-types and, in the case that you do have previous work to show off, pinpoint your most recent work.
For those that have work published, ensure you’re saving via screenshots and word documents just in case these work examples are removed at any point if a business was to close and so on. You never want to be caught short when building your portfolio.
You can also create a profile on the Freelance Directory to start attracting clients.
It’s always a good idea to come already highly recommended, so it’s worth biting the bullet and asking past clients whether they’d be happy to provide a few words on your work and the exemplary job you were able to do. This builds on the already solid work examples you’ve provided and helps to build a bigger picture on who you are, especially in a professional environment. Functioning as a host of references, this just continues to reassure future clients that you’re the one to get the job done with an arsenal of positive feedback at your disposal.
Utilise your social media profiles
Social media is another great way in which to give potential clients a better indication of what you’re all about, simply by keeping your feeds up to date with relevant posts about who you are, both personally and professionally. Social media can also show dedication and passion for your craft, even without garnering a large following. Whether you’re a designer with an Instagram feed dedicated to your products or a writer with your very own blog, these show determination and a real passion for what you do. It is also a fantastic tool to include when applying for freelance jobs and so on.
Make yourself reachable
This may sound sort of obvious, but it can be those small details that get overlooked or forgotten about in the process of sprucing up CVs and online portfolios (more on that in a second). Ensure you have clearly displayed ways in which to get into contact with you. Any potential employer that has to really search around to find out won’t spend long doing so, because, let’s face it, it really shouldn’t be that hard. Provide clear contact details and ensure you include a number of ways in which to reach out, including email, phone number and any applicable links like social media or your LinkedIn account. Using Skype? Why not throw in that username, too?
Build an online portfolio
All these elements should be thrown into an online portfolio so that clients can find out everything they need to know in one place. Especially if your information is forwarded on from one person to another, building a portfolio that sits online makes it accessible for everyone and easy to digest. Your online portfolio should showcase your personal brand with a small introductory summary and a picture of yourself along with the aforementioned work examples, testimonials and contact details.
It’s also worth noting an online portfolio needn’t function as an online CV. If your freelancing career perhaps involves crafting products for customers, your online portfolio could very much be a marketplace to commission or purchase readily made items. Whether you use the likes of Etsy or tools offered by specialised agencies, you can include all the necessary details in an online portfolio turned shop.
Write compelling pitches
A portfolio is all well and good, but if you’re trying to create work for yourself and seeking out clients rather than the other way around, you need to have some creative ideas up your sleeve that you think not only fit the brand but that the brand is also sorely missing. For instance, if you are a writer and looking to get a piece commissioned for a specific publication, it’s a good idea to do your research. Check out the kind of articles they’re currently publishing, or whether there are any specific campaigns they’re running you may be able to offer your own spin on. It’s also worth checking out social accounts of any businesses you are trying to get in there with to see if they’re open to pitches and if they’re looking for your services at that moment. Even if they’re not specifically open, if you can track down their email address and come up with a pitch you believe in, it’s always worth a shot.
Know your worth
For your first few freelance gigs, it’s best to see what kind of rates your client offers for different projects and weigh up how big a task it is based on how much of your time it’ll take etc. Starting out, it’s best to see what the average rate is and work out what you think your expertise and time is worth from there. As you progress and gain more work and experience and maybe even a reputation you can think about upping your rates. If nothing else, it’s important to acknowledge your worth and not undersell yourself. You’re putting in the work to give clients the results they want and this should not be underestimated or undervalued.