Working as a freelancer offers many benefits, with perhaps the main one being the large amount of freedom and flexibility concerning the work you can take on or reject. There’s one major problem with a freelance career, however: if you don’t attract the work, you won’t get paid. There’s no safety net of a monthly salary, with someone else in charge of filling your day with work for you.
When it comes to attracting paid work, few freelancers have the services of dedicated marketers and advertising services to call on, and while it’s possible to outsource this kind of activity, for most freelancers this won’t be an option when profit margins are usually very tight to begin with. This means that most freelancers need to dedicate time to drumming up business for themselves, filling their diaries with work by hook or by crook. This is especially important in the early days of a freelance career, when you’ve not had a chance to build up a reputation and a base of repeat clients to fall back on.
Promoting yourself as a freelancer doesn’t have to cost the earth though, and here are some simple and cost-effective ways of giving your talents the chance to shine (and your bank balance the chance to grow!).
Show Yourself Off with an Impressive Portfolio
As a freelancer you need to prove your worth to any prospective client, and that means having a portfolio of work you’ve successfully completed. These days, it also means having a professional looking website to host your portfolio on, if this is possible and applicable. But what if you’re just starting out with no work under your belt? No problem – your portfolio doesn’t only have to show work you’ve actually been paid for, but is about what you’re capable of doing, so don’t be afraid to invent demo jobs to highlight your skills.
Network Like Crazy
As a freelancer you need to be proactive in attracting work. This means you need to be always open to an opportunity, so surround yourself with possible clients whenever you can. Attend local trade shows, charity events, business association meetings – anywhere where you can strike up a conversation about your work with someone who might need your services.
Always Carry Business Cards
It might seem old fashioned in these days of rampant social media, but a professional-looking business card such as the ones available for custom printing at Onlineprinters.co.uk is an essential for any serious freelancer. There’s no need to shower your cards like confetti, but if you make contact with a potential client then exchanging business cards is a time-honoured and effective way of taking the first step towards striking up a deal and a mutually profitable association.
Maintain Your Professional Client Relationships
Gaining a new client is much more difficult than retaining an existing one. If you want to attract repeat custom, then of course doing an outstanding job is the essential first step, but unless your services are truly unique then you need to keep yourself at the front of your clients’ minds when they come to commissioning new work. Do this with contact emails that keep your relationship alive without descending into pestering, but also by occasionally sending printed materials through the post. Have you had a swanky new business card printed? Send a copy to your previous clients with a brief letter letting them know that you’re still available for hire (and mentioning any new and prestigious projects you’ve recently completed won’t hurt either).
Life as a freelancer is always going to be more uncertain than one spent working a 9-5 job in an office, with all the security that that offers, but the rewards can be much, much higher. Your success or failure will depend just as much on getting the word out as it does on producing quality work, so ensure you pay self-promotion the full attention it deserves.