When you make the hugely liberating decision to break free from the world of employment, it can be extremely exciting, but there is no denying that it is also daunting, with the main concern of whether you will be able to earn any money from it! Fear not though, if you put in the time and effort required, you can grow your freelance business and enjoy all the benefits of escaping the 9 to 5 rat race, without worrying about finances. These are some avenues you might want to explore as you strive to grow your business.
Attend networking events
How will anyone know about your services if you don’t promote yourself? There is no point in sitting back and waiting for clients to come to you, you need to be proactive if you want to grow your freelance business. A huge number of clients will not only buy into your services, but also you, and if they like you and relate to you, they’re more likely to want to offer you some business. You can’t do this if you don’t go out and get the business, no matter how terrifying you may find it. One of the most important things you can do as a freelancer is to attend networking events. These give you a chance to meet people who may be interested in your services or who may be able to take some work off your hands when your business starts to grow. Many networking events are free, so if you search on Google, look at local events on social media or search on Eventbrite, you will find plenty of options. If you want maximum results, aim to attend 1 to 3 networking events each week. It may feel like a nerve-wracking experience, but after you’ve done a few, you’ll soon get used to it and it won’t seem so intimidating. It is important to be open with who you speak to at networking events. Don’t just stick to your target market as you never know what opportunities might arise if you keep your options open! It can also be highly motivating to surround yourself with like-minded people, so consider everyone has a potential friend, rather than just as a customer (although this is obviously the main aim!)
Build a portfolio
If you are new to freelancing, you might not have a portfolio, and this is something you will need, regardless of what service you are offering. You may need to start by doing some freebies or work at a low cost, just to get your portfolio up and running. This is certainly not ideal, but once you have a few examples of your work, it will make it a lot easier to acquire well-paid opportunities.
Alongside your networking, it is a good idea to make contact on a one to one basis with companies in your area. You can achieve this by dropping them an email or a quick message on LinkedIn to see if they’d be willing to meet up for a coffee and a chat. You might not get any positive responses straight away but if you stick with it, you will get some leads, even if it’s for future requirements. Consistency is key!
There are no two ways about this one, if you are a freelancer, you need to have an online presence as part of your marketing strategy. If you don’t already have social media set up, it is time to do it. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good ones to use and you should aim to post content at least once a day. If you do this, you will build momentum and increase your brand identity, which can help bring in business. Your content should not be too ‘salesy’, although that is an element of it. It should be engaging and interesting, as this will attract interactions, which can then increase your presence.