Taking the plunge and going freelance can be tough but ultimately rewarding. The first steps are the most challenging but soon enough you’ll be able to find work on a regular basis, setting your own workloads and your own salary. Before you get started, here are some tips to consider that will help you to turn your freelancing career into a success.
Network like crazy
The first and most important step to freelancing is networking. Every friend and family member could be a useful contact to have – this is where most freelancers find their first work. From here you need to expand your social circles.
Community groups and events are excellent marketing opportunities for this. Join business groups and attend conferences and conventions where you’re likely to find people in your chosen trade. Print off a business card or leaflets that you can hand out to people that you meet.
For online networking, social media is the most useful tool to use. Create a business page for yourself on Facebook and Twitter and invite all your friends and family to join. Get them to invite their friends and family and you may find some interested potential clients. You should also make use of Facebook community groups and online forums, but be aware of rules regarding promotional posts.
Reputation is important when freelancing. Encouraging testimonials from happy clients can give you something to build up your credibility. Testimonials can be placed on your website and will give potential clients/employers proof of previous work. Gain enough testimonials and people will start believe you’ve been in the game a while. It may be worth offering your services for free/half price to several people at first just to build up these references.
Outsource a personal assistant
There are telephone answering services such as Receivr in which you can outsource a personal assistant to take calls for you. This is useful if you’re a freelancer who is often out of the office on work, as well as helping to filter out any sales calls that could take up valuable work time. It can also help to reinforce your reputation – potential clients will have no doubts that you are credible if you have your own personal assistant.
Know your competition
As a freelancer you must realize that you are up against many other freelancers. Knowing their methods can help you to separate yourself and find your USP (unique selling point). Find and follow rival freelancers on social media and monitor their marketing tactics. Visit their websites and read their testimonials. You may be able to adjust your services in order to offer more than your competitor. It’s important to have a mutual respect between you and other freelancers in your trade, so don’t go badmouthing a competitor – it could have a reverse effect and damage your own reputation.
This post has been contributed by Ryan Gatt, it may contain affiliate links.