You finally decided to launch a freelance career. You may still have a day job, or you may have decided to completely get off the corporate ladder and create something of your own. When you work for a company, you are usually not responsible for finding clients or promoting your services–you simply rely on an employer's network who assigns you a steady stream of tasks. However, now it's your responsibility to generate a client base from scratch.
In this article, you will learn about eight practical ways of promoting your freelance business and reaching your potential clients. Here are our tips:
1) Build your portfolio
Building a solid portfolio is one of the most crucial steps when it comes to promoting your freelance business. Before hiring you, your potential clients will want to know about your previous works and experiences.
One of the best practices for showing your portfolio is building a mobile device-friendly website, where you can exhibit your best work while providing as much detail as possible. While showcasing previous work seems straightforward enough, make sure that you have not signed a contract with your old employees that prohibits you from sharing old projects. You may also dedicate a page to introducing yourself and describing your skill set and services.
After you build your portfolio website, you will need to optimize it for search engines to generate more traffic to your website and convert your visitors into new clients. Content writing is a handy way of doing this. For instance, you can create a blog post to share your knowledge about the industry, which helps attract more visitors, especially if you share links to your posts through social media.
If you don't want to invest in a portfolio website, you can always host your portfolio on a site related to your industry, like Dribbble or Behance . Whatever method you use, just don't forget to keep your online portfolio updated.
2) Use social media sites
Social media platforms are instrumental when it comes to promoting your freelance business and finding new clients. It is good to develop an informative and helpful persona while regularly posting interesting facts about your field based on your expertise. When done tactfully, adopting a proactive approach can be beneficial–therefore, don't be afraid to occasionally reach out to people you think may benefit from your freelance services.
In addition, consider creating tutorials for your social media followers to exhibit your problem-solving skills, which will help attract people to your business. As you grow your online presence and gain followers, you will convert a subset of these individuals into paying clients.
3) Attend industry events
Even if you are set for work and have enough projects to carry you through the next few months, remain hungry and proactive in your marketing efforts to land new clients throughout the year. One key way to effective networking is attending industry events and talking to people, which will help extend your digital network into the physical realm.
Regardless of what industry you're in, there are likely a lot of potential clients among the participants, so don't be shy to initiate conversations. Take advantage of the important social cues that are not available during virtual interactions, such as a solid handshake and good eye contact. Demonstrate genuine interest in the other person, and allow the conversation to naturally lead to your freelance business, at which point you can present your business card.
If you are a graphic designer, for instance, you may find it helpful to wear a tag that includes your name along with a "graphic designer" label, which can also serve as an ice-breaker.
4) Join online communities
There are tons of online forums and communities, with many people looking around to find qualified freelancers. Join relevant social media channels such as Facebook groups and online job boards to find a suitable projects. By doing so, you can build a network in these communities that can support your freelance career.
Posting well-crafted answers to industry-related questions on websites such as Quora will also help people take notice of your knowledge, which adds to the credibility of your online presence and may translate into future clients. Furthermore, it will demonstrate your generosity by showing that you are willing to offer free solutions to people who may need your services. This will bolster the impression that you are always prepared to go the extra mile to help your clients, an essential component of building trust in professional relationships.
5) Collaborate with other freelancers
Another way to acquire clients who may need more comprehensive services is combining your skill set with other freelancers. For instance, if you are a web designer who doesn't know how to work with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you might miss a potential client who desires to build a website that employs SEO practices. Partnering with the right person to supplement your web design skills with SEO tools may increase your chances of securing such projects.
Forming collaborations will allow you to tackle projects requiring a diverse skill set that you may not feel comfortable taking on by yourself. As a result, the more people you collaborate with, the higher your chances of generating a steady income. Beyond finding a prospective client, your networking efforts in other domains will also help you meet partners who can complement your knowledge deficits.
6) Make referrals and collect reviews
Word of mouth is one of the most time-honored ways to land freelance work. Ask your current and past clients if they know someone who may need your services. You can take it one step further and offer them a discount if they bring you new clients. In addition, you may consider talking to your friends and offering them a finder's fee for any client they send your way.
Collecting reviews is also vital for your online marketing efforts to create a good impression on prospective clients. After successfully completing a project, you can ask your client if they would feel comfortable writing you a strong review that you can post on your blog or social media pages. Five-star reviews are one of your strongest allies!
7) Small businesses, big opportunities
Every freelancer wants to work with big companies. However, if you struggle to get jobs from these organizations, it is worthwhile to focus your efforts on small businesses and start-ups.
Working with a team with finite resources who may not be familiar with your area of expertise can be tricky, especially when it comes to communication and expectation management. However, small business owners tend to appreciate the challenges of building something of value from scratch. Therefore, you may be pleasantly surprised with their willingness to help you with referrals if you prove yourself capable.
An additional potential bonus is working closely with management, which yields a special opportunity to form long-lasting professional relationships. Therefore, as the small business grows into a large operation, your network will grow with them.
8) Use freelancer websites
There are plenty of websites dedicated to recruiting freelancers that can help you reach new clients. Be warned, though: the competition tends to be stiff on these platforms, so it's time to be creative and diligent when marketing your freelance business skills. Remember that your time is valuable, and while it's tempting to send proposals to every posting, you will be well-served by being targeted and selective. It's wise not to bite off more than you can chew, so knowing your limits will also help avoid bad reviews.
Many of these platforms will feature your profile more prominently and help boost your profile views if you are actively working on projects. Therefore, don't remain idle for long periods and keep your profile updated if you hope to garner more clients.
You work hard, and you deserve to get the freelance jobs that will help advance your career. Whether you’re starting your freelance career full-time or as a side gig, successful marketing is assuredly essential to creating a sustainable business and a solid client base. We hope that our tips and techniques have inspired you to diversify your marketing efforts. Follow them to see what works for you, and over time, your freelance business will flourish.