Whether you are just starting off your freelance career or have been in this field for a few months, marketing yourself and your brand is one of the most important aspects of your business. No matter how good of a designer, graphic artist, etc. if you don’t know how to properly market yourself your business won’t grow.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Marketing Yourself
I have only been full-time freelancing for just over 6 months, but I would say one of the biggest bits of advice I could offer anyone looking to get into freelancing is you can’t be afraid of marketing yourself and definitely can’t be afraid of hearing no!
No matter how good you are at what you do, you won’t get clients if you don’t put yourself out there. Being able to completely list out all of your services and pitch people is how you get business. The steady stream of clients won’t ever just come to you until you build that solid network of referrals. Referrals are a huge part of this business but don’t expect other people to vouch for you if you can’t even vouch for yourself. Until then, research, pitch and repeat until something lands. That might mean hearing hundreds of no’s or nonresponses, but once you get that one yes, it will all be worth it.
It is also important to remember when pitching a potential client to always show your value that you can offer them. As you are already aware, there are thousands of people who provide the same list of services as you do. However, no one else can provide the same experience working with you as opposed to someone else. For example, when you are pitching a client always remember to sell them on what you can do to fix their bottom line. Sell the potential client on why hiring you would be the smartest move that they can make.
A Strong Network Leads To More Work
I still spend hours upon hours a week researching and pitching potential clients, and I don’t expect that to stop anytime soon. I hear a lot more no’s than any yes, but I never let that discourage me. As a freelancer, you can’t let hearing a no or someone not getting back to you as a letdown. You have to just simply find more potential clients, reach out and pitch them, and repeat that process until you get a client that wants to work with you. I’m not saying that it is easy by any means, but the fear of rejection and the fear of putting yourself out there has to go away in order for you to grow. Every successful business owner, freelancer, or consultant has for the most part gone through the process of finding and retaining clients, and it all starts with reaching out.
Beyond just finding new clients to work with, it is also super important to build upon the existing relationships that you have already made. Even if you only have 20 people in your network, it is important to reach out to them and keep building. You never know who is in their network and what potential business could come out of it. For example, I write two blog posts a month about my freelance business and any insight that I can offer my network. I also send this blog post to my newsletter which I have been building up these past few months. I do this for a couple reasons:
- I believe this is a better way of staying in touch with previous clients and people in my network than also just checking in. Sometimes repeatedly sending “hey just checking in to see if you need any help” type emails can easily annoy the person in your network.
- More importantly, I am offering my value for free with these emails. I take a few hours out of my week to research, write, edit, and send out these emails. I do this because I feel that these insights will help my clients grow their business, and also I want to keep showing myself as an industry leader so when the time comes that they need help, my name will come up at the top of their mind.
Mentors Always Play A Key Role
If you are not at the point of pitching potential clients but want to learn more about how to do it, find yourself a mentor in your field. No matter what industry that you are in, mentors play a huge part in your growth process and will be good to practice with before actually pitching clients. More times than not, they’d be happy to help out someone who has taken the initiative to reach out to them for help. I always make an effort to help anyone who has reached out to me in some way about getting into freelancing, because I know how pivotal a role mentors played in my own growth.
My number one bit of advice from this article is to just reach out. If you are new to freelancing I am sure that there are people who you look up to as a fellow freelancer. Send them a note and if they’re local invite them out to coffee and just ask them questions. The more knowledge you have, the easier it is to grow and learn.
Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Growth is scary and isn’t always the best feeling in the world. However, you’re not going to learn and grow if you don’t step outside your comfort zone. Stepping outside my comfort zone meant that I needed to learn how to write more effectively and also learn what it takes to run my own business. I am not going to say it is easy or that it happens over night, but it is definitely one of the most rewarding experiences that I have had.
Guest Post by Max Pete
Max Pete aka One Hand Wonder Man is a freelance website designer and digital marketer. Max Pete also specialises in the areas of social media management, email marketing, content creation, and paid advertising. You can check out his work and get in touch with him via his portfolio