To someone with a full time job and a reliable salary, the life of a freelancer must seem truly blessed. They see only the perks, while scarcely anticipating the many perils and pitfalls that come with working for yourself on your own terms. They may assume that you are free to sleep in for as long as you want, and to take the day off whenever the heck you feel like it. They may resent your having the luxury of working from home when they scramble in the rain to make their morning commute to work.
But the grass is always greener on the other side. And while freelancers certainly enjoy a modicum of freedom and autonomy that salaried workers envy, they also exist in a state of near-perpetual uncertainty. Especially in the current climate, where COVID-19 has put paid to many of the assumed certainties of the business world. Indeed, many freelancers have found of late that their clients are either closing down or radically rethinking their operations in the current climate. As such, many have had to re-learn a new skill that they haven’t developed in years… hustling for new business. But if you’re a freelancer who’s sick of being passed up by prospective clients or never getting noticed online, here are some tips that will help you to take action…
Know how to handle yourself at networking events
Networking events are great opportunities for freelancers to meet new people, introduce themselves and make an impression. But so many misunderstand the concept of networking events. They are intended to be a meet-and-greet. They are not an opportunity for a hard sell. It’s important to know how to conduct yourself properly at networking events. By all means tell people what you do, try and get their contact details and follow up later with an email. But focus on building a relationship rather than hustling for work.
Master the subtle art of business card design
Your business card says a lot about you, and even in the digital age it’s important to have one. But when you hand your card to someone who gets handed dozens of them every day, how will you make yours stand out? You’ll need to master the subtle art of business card design. You want to make an impression, but be wary of anything too bold and ostentatious. Focus on the basics. Keep one side as persuasive and eye catching as possible while making the flip side as informative as you can. Remember that the quality of a business card is felt as well as seen. The kind of card stock you use and how your lettering feels can add a great deal to the impression your card makes.
As well as containing your contact details, your business card should also contain a URL or QR code that links to your portfolio. Which brings us to…
Take the time to create an awesome portfolio that shows your skills and versatility
Your online portfolio should tell prospective clients everything they need to know about why they should hire you. Yes, it should play to your strengths. But it should also showcase your versatility, representing a broad spectrum of the work you’ve done for different clients. Keep your portfolio filled with professional work rather than work you may have undertaken at college. While some clients may be willing to take a risk on a freelancer at the start of their career, you want your portfolio to make you look as established as possible.
Stay active (and professional) on social media
Is it likely that prospective clients will make contact with you over Twitter? Not really. Is it possible? Absolutely. And you want your social media presence to be a calling card for professionals in your industry. But that means you have to conduct yourself as a professional on social platforms. Post often, be civil and be wary of sharing any content that could be considered inflammatory.
Always Be Creating
Finally, one of the best ways to boost your on;line visibility and make clients take notice is to keep giving them something for nothing. This means you should remember your ABC. Always. Be. Creating! Whether you’re writing blog posts that showcase your skills as a wordsmith, posting sketches of character designs you’ve been working on or simply writing about your experiences in your industry or offering insights into your creative process, the more content you post, the more visible and appealing you make yourself to prospective clients. So make sure you add something to your online repertoire every day, even if it’s not a finished piece of work.