How to Find Clients and Market Your Freelance Business
If you are looking for flexibility in the way you work, or you are looking to leave the 9-5 world to work for yourself, freelancing is an ideal way to do so, and it is becoming even more popular in today’s world. Thanks to the incredible technology we now have available, it’s possible to begin freelancing from wherever you are, whether it’s from your own front room or while you are traveling the world. All you need is an internet connection and a way to build your client list.
However, two of the biggest struggles freelancers have are marketing themselves and finding new clients. For those who are just on the verge of giving up your day job and setting out on your own, it is something you need to think about carefully before taking the plunge. If you can’t find new clients, your freelance business is going to be dead in the water. It might seem like a daunting, challenging task, but it’s much easier than you think. There are clients out there waiting for you. You just need to work out how to find them, connect with them and convince them to pay for your services. Sounds pretty easy when it’s put like that. If you’re still not convinced, here are some tips.
Identify Your Target Audience
Before you can start any kind of marketing, you need to be clear about what you are selling and who you want to sell it to. If you know your market, it will be much easier to sell your business. Discovering your target audience will require undertaking market research, and it may be worthwhile to create a persona of the ideal client. For example, you may be a talented copywriter, but you prefer to work on a range of topics rather than one set specialty.
Therefore, identifying the type of writing you have expertise in will help you determine your target audience. Your target audience may be geographically set, perhaps you prefer to travel to clients, so they will need to be somewhat close to where you are located, rather than halfway across the globe.
Once you’ve decided on the audience, you can start to create a marketing strategy. How will you contact potential clients? Will you approach them directly or will an email campaign work more effectively? Are you going to need promotional material? Any marketing expenses will need to be included if you are creating a business plan with costings to ensure you start off on the right foot, with the correct capital saved and ready to use.
Create an Online Presence
In today’s business world, it is vital for you to have an online presence. Long gone are the days of word of mouth. Today’s prospective clients will be looking for services like yours online. A website is a must, and it should be professional and optimised. There are many online tools which can help create a website, but if your budget allows, you can also employ an expert website designer. If you need help financing building your own website, you can learn more here about a range of loans which are available to help you fund your freelance business. As well as a website, it will also be of benefit if you write a regular blog. A blog is a great way of becoming an industry influencer, promoting your business and creating a strong brand image. If you are a copywriter, a blog is the place to build a portfolio to show potential clients what you can do, and what you can do best.
Social Media is Free Advertising
Twitter and Facebook are useful for more than selfies, foodie images and keeping in touch with friends. They are great networking channels for connecting with clients or customers. Best of all, they’re both free. It will depend, however, on your business and expertise on which social media platform to use. For example, Instagram is ideal for photographers, where they can showcase their best work for all to see, inspiring potential clients to get in touch. Twitter is perfect for connecting with fellow freelancers, allowing you to build your professional network effectively. However, for a truly professional social media account, LinkedIn is the place to be; it is ideal for connecting with clients and displaying your experience for all to see.
Set Yourself Goals and Deadlines
You might have some fancy idea of where you want to be in ten years time, but you need to break this down into more achievable goals. For example, when are you going to start marketing your business? Do you plan to send out a selection of promotional emails in the spring? If these are in your plan, think about a deadline you can set and make sure you write it all down. Try and be as detailed as possible in your task list as this will help your productivity.
When you begin your freelancing business, you also need to ensure you can stick to the deadlines your clients have set. After all, you will quickly lose business, and your reputation, if you can’t deliver work on time. It’s vital, especially when building a loyal client list, that you are realistic with what you can do. If you can’t complete 5,000-word articles by the next day, you need to be honest with your client. They will appreciate your honesty, and they may even be able to work around your schedule. However, it’s a fine line when you are beginning to take on enough work to be successful and build a client list, while not burning out and taking on too much to handle. It’s up to you to find this balance and do so quickly.
There’s going to be a lot of footwork before your first client contacts you. Nobody will know anything about you unless you bring your services to their attention. You could start with family and friends as they will provide vital support if nothing else. Just remember, the more people know about your business, the better chance you have of hooking a new client.