Working as a freelancer has amazing perks: you keep your own hours, you do the work you actually want to do and above all, you do not have to answer to anyone else. You are your own boss and that is so liberating.
With the highs come the lows: the inconsistent paychecks, the odd working hours and the never ending search for more work. Until you build up a reputation and have people knocking at your door you have work twice as hard- for your actual content as well as looking for more business.
So how do you keep the business rolling in when starting out as a freelancer?
1. Be proactive
You have to look for the work and until you become a brand name, it won’t look for you. So spread the word among your friends, family, even the stranger down the street (jokes, don’t do that unless you really have to).
If you’ve left a previous job to become a freelancer ask your old colleagues to put out the word for you, even if recommending you for work they can’t take on. Referrals will help you get new jobs especially when you have a good reputation.
It might be worth it to talk to other freelancers in your field, hear how they built their business and they could also become someone worth partnering with. Approach people you want to work with/for, put yourself out there.
2. Be social media savvy
Thanks to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, your clients are literally a click away. I am not a fan of the, ‘Guys, my client could be on your timeline’ tweets but I also appreciate the resourcefulness.
If you use a website remember to link it to your social media so you can direct traffic to your site. Keep it updated, showcase your work and also engage with your followers. Social media is a great tool to build up and maintain your clientele.Until you have people knocking at your door you have work twice as hard Click To Tweet
3. Be accessible
Nothing irritates a potential client more than having to work for someone and not being able to find them. You don’t have a PR team behind you or a secretary so you have to balance your work and being available.
Make sure you keep your contact details and website up to date. When your clients want you, they should be able to find you. When there are events or opportunities to attend conferences for your field, go!
Get out there and get known, build your brand by being reachable. Having a good reputation is as necessary as producing good work.
4. Don’t be too picky
Sometimes, you’ll look at a work offer and be like, ‘I’m above this’ but when you a starting out you cannot be too picky. You’ve got to do some not so great work to get access to the more exciting work.
Sometimes this might mean doing work for free – which is a freelancer’s nightmare. Annoying but necessary in some cases especially when it will contribute to exposure and portfolio building. It is part of the process of starting your career. You get to be pickier when you have the choice to be. Right now you don’t.Talk to other freelancers in your field, they could become someone worth partnering with Click To Tweet
5. Plan, plan, plan
Without the daily structures of office life, it is easy to be lax when it comes to planning and having a set routine. In order to put out good work, you have to be efficient and structured. You are in charge of your schedule and it’s easy to let things slide but you have to create timelines for projects and mark down deadlines.
Put in a weekly reminder to track your progress, that way you are consistently putting in the work and not just waiting for the due date to get the work done. You have to be on top of your schedule to stay on top of your work.
6. Let your work speak for itself
You are only as good as your last job when it comes to freelancing. When looking for working on sites such as UpWork, you may be requested to give examples of previous work.
Your portfolio is as good as your CV. Always be consistent in terms of quality by making sure it is always up to date. Another way to get more clients is to have your previous clients speak up on your work.Freelancers need to get out there and get known, build your brand by being reachable Click To Tweet
Have them quote their opinion of your work on your site/ portfolio. This builds up your reputation and shows a history of satisfied clients.