Few years ago, the term freelancer was considered as an excuse to avoid calling yourself jobless. Nowadays the situation is very different; there are many cases of highly specialized individuals that prefer working from home. Much more, many companies accepted the idea of working from home…it is a real growing trend. Definitely, the Internet and the way of working evolved and it seems that freelancing won’t be dead in the near future.
The common conception is to associate the notion freelancer with the statute of a web designer or a web developer. Nevertheless, a freelancer might be also an accountant, a writer, a designer, or a coder and is no surprise that in the future the plateau to considerable increase.
Obviously, for any freelancer is an advantage that their approach was embraced by other people but there are also few disadvantages. The most important disadvantage is the fact that the competition between freelancers became harsher and harsher and the clients have enough opportunities. In this context is harder to obtain good projects to do. On the other hand, a very good specialist surely will be noticed by a potential customer and is impossible not to have people interested in his services.
As the number of freelancers is constantly increasing, it is more that evident that any freelancer should work on two separated fronts:
The conclusion is simple and effective: nowadays isn’t enough just to be a very good expert, a freelancer must have a clear policy of marketing and advertising. Marketing is a too common word and many people are very bored with it, but it’s really important and any freelancer should have a strategy of marketing.
Well, as I above mentioned, there are tons or marketers and surely a freelancer will may hire one to advice in how to market his services. A quality adviser is expensive and I am not sure that everyone allows himself the luxury of hiring a real expert. In these conditions, instead of paying a marketer, why don’t try yourself to market your skills? It sounds a little bit overcomplicated to work on the two fronts, but in practice, it isn’t so difficult.
In order to help you, I want to describe the main chapters of a marketing plan that may help you in attracting more and important clients. By far, I can’t guarantee that it works, but keep in mind: not even the best marketer in the world may guarantee the success of a strategy. The strategy isn’t finished, therefore I ask you to use the comment form to share with us your proposals or past experiences. I am waiting for these!
Each person has his own personality and a freelancer should let people know his mentality, approach, and way of working. More exactly, a freelancer must have a direction to follow, he may be an individual that takes only small size projects, but another one may be specialized on more complicated and complex tasks. The same, there are freelancers that ask for very big amounts of money and invest all their potential in just few projects, while others prefer “smaller, but more fish”.
Personally, I think that any freelancer should follow his specificity…he must attack a very targeted segment. It’s true, in this case the potential customers are fewer, but clearly, it’s tenfold times easier to transform them into real clients.
It costs nothing to say that a quality portfolio is mandatory, but to practically do it is the real issue. In spite of this, any designer that indeed cares about his future will try all his best in making a stand apart portfolio. Three aspects are vital in the overall success of a portfolio:
It must be wonderful, eye-catching
A boring portfolio may contain tens of Mona Lisa similar projects; the visitors surely won’t notice these. The purpose of a portfolio is to exhibit the projects of the owner, but also the websites itself must be a good online presence. It’s pretty obvious; the visitors first interact with the website until admiring the gallery of the works exhibited.
A portfolio must be well tailored
It’s common to exaggerate the potential as a web designer, but the effect is mostly negative. More exactly, it’s very common for a web designer portfolio to have rated the skills of the services provided and the majority of portfolio owners consider themselves being capable to offer only five stars services. Well, I am in doubt that someone is perfect at coding and in the same time is the best designer…In conclusion, a well tailored portfolio, that presents honestly the skills of the owner is a much better solution. Also, is very important to establish very clear your services…is much recommended to “sell” only what you are really sure that may suit to your skills, don’t make experiments with your portfolio!
Exhibit only the best items
Let’s be honest with yourself: if you visit a portfolio that contains ten items and nine of them are very good creations but one is very poor, how do you consider the owner of the portfolio? A good designer, that has 90% chances to provide good services or you are searching for other solutions? Personally, I am looking to other portfolios; the Internet is a huge pool of opportunities, so I have many other solutions. Briefly, it’s vital for any portfolio owner to present only the best items!
Everytime, everywhere, everyone will appreciate the altruist people and it’s written in our DNA to help the community. It’s a smart marketing strategy to offer, from time to time, giveaways; usually these create enough buzz that compensate the effort invested in creating the respective giveaway. Fortunately, there are tons of blogs ready to present and give to the readers your “gift”, therefore you may contact some blog owners. The good news is that you may find even websites that help in creating relationships between sponsors ready to offer a giveaway and publishers ready to make content their readers.
The intrinsic idea of marketing is to let people know that you exist, you provide some specific services and these are qualitative. A very good solution to inform people about you and your skills is to write guest posts. It’s simple and effective: you contact some blog owners, email them a good post and it will be published. Usually, the guest posts have a short bio presenting the author and here you may offer some modalities of getting in touch with you. A good post will be appreciated and shared on various social networks and in this way, the author will benefit from good exposure.
A good marketing strategy supposes not only to have the guest post promoted via social media, but also the writer should be active on various social networks. Facebook and Twitter are almost mandatory but someone interested in his future will have an active profile on LinkedIn. People are addictive with social networks, spend a lot of time on Facebook and other social networks, sometimes without a special purpose and the job of someone interested in self marketing is to capture their attention. Yep, the marketing via social media is deprecated but it can’t be ignored.
On short-term perspective, being engaged in some pro bono works is a waste of time and resources but thinking on long term the situation is a little bit different. A good pro bono project may create some buzz around the creator and it enormously helps in establishing a positive image. The potential clients appreciate that the respective service provider is flexible and hearted and it’s an advantage in the overall equation of attracting clients.
Everyone wants fast results but a healthy self-marketing strategy can’t satisfy this condition. Anyway, anyone that avoids superficiality will understand that a brand can’t be created in just few weeks. In conclusion is very important to set up very clear standards to follow across time. These must be the base of an ethic behavior and should contain some checkpoints to have an idea about your progress.
All the above tips are very important and are the pillars of a sustainable self-marketing strategy. Unfortunately, there is a single mistake that may instantly ruin all the marketing endeavors: ignoring the news in the activity field. It’s capital to be updated with the latest news, to have very good skills…in fact to be a real expert in what you are doing. Keep in mind: you can’t market something that is poor quality!
I really hope that this mini guide will help you in better marketing your skills but don’t forget, you should be a very good expert before following a marketing strategy, else all the endeavors are just a waste of time!
Image Credits – communities already exist