My Goals with this Blog...

Are to document my experiences with various income streams and programs in my quest to becoming a full time freelancer working from home. I plan to list my current 'eggs' and to post the things that have and haven't worked for me.

Marketing for Freelancers

Posted by tehblogging trolless | 5:31 PM

As I was preparing for today's blog, I was hit up by Imogen Reed for a guest post. I said 'go right ahead' and was given this awesome post dealing with the importance of marketing yourself as a freelancer. I can vouch for this as clearly working from home can be a daunting experience, especially if you do not even try to put yourself out there! So enjoy this very informative article :D Thanks Imogen!

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As a freelancer, perhaps without any previous business or marketing experience, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to promoting yourself and your services. You might not enjoy selling yourself to others, but it is essential to do so if you want to make money. No-one’s going to know what you have to offer if you don’t tell them, after all. Too many work-at-home freelancers live constantly hand-to-mouth, relying on balance transfer credit cards and the like to keep the cupboards from becoming bare. Marketing won’t make you rich overnight, but it might just help.

What is marketing?

Marketing is the way you reach people, and the way you get them to pay you to do something. However small you think you are, you need to market yourself. What services do you offer, and who do you think would need them? These are obvious questions, but you need to be absolutely clear in your own mind what the answers to them are. Think about what you are offering, and then think about whether you can offer more. If you’re a writer, can you also offer editing services? If you’re a mobile hairdresser, can you also offer beauty treatments? You might not be able to offer these things right now, but you should always be thinking about how you can diversify in future. On the other side of that coin, don’t offer things you can’t deliver: no-one will thank you for that.

Offering your skills online

In order to be successful as a freelancer, you need to have something that others want and are willing to pay for. Who are those people, and where are they? You need to know that so you can target them. For many freelancers, especially those offering writing, virtual assistance or other similar services, many potential clients can be found online. There are plenty of freelance bidding websites around, but competition for jobs can be fierce, and you won’t stand much of a chance if you don’t have a convincing profile. Think about it like this: why would someone want to employ you if you can’t make the effort to get your own profile right?

Getting a good online presence is important for any freelancer. If someone searches your name, you want them to see lots of positive links about you and your work come up. If you don’t have a website, then get one. Hosting is cheap and software such as Wordpress is easy. A website needs to tell people about you, your background and your skills. It should include testimonials from clients, and examples of work. If you’re just starting out and you don’t have these yet, do some work for free to get them. Use social media including Facebook, Twitter and a blog to drive traffic to your website.

Making contacts

For many freelancers, personal contacts can be a great source of work. There might be networking groups in your area that are relevant to your business: if there are, make sure you get involved. Even if you don’t immediately get business as a result, there is a domino effect: the more you get yourself known, the more likely people are to come to you, even if they are a few links down the chain from the person you first met.

When you do make a contact with someone who might be able to offer you work, follow it up. If you don’t have any contacts, then make speculative applications. Remember that few people are going to chase you down: you have to call them first. When you do so, make sure you’re ready to negotiate. Don’t price yourself out of the market, but don’t offer your services for next-to-nothing either. Pricing is one of your most important marketing tools. In general, you should price higher than you think: pricing low means that you devalue your own work. If you don’t value your work, why should anyone else?

Marketing is the key to having a successful freelance career. Many people go into freelancing because they want to have a flexible career, or because they have a particular talent they want to use. They don’t normally go into it because they have great marketing skills. However, it’s important to learn those skills in order to have all the other benefits of being freelance.