Freelancing is fast becoming a full-time vocation for many workers. From writers to designers, ditching the office in favor of the spare room or even a cafe is becoming more and more viable. This is, largely, as a result of the online world. Job boards are the typical beginning for many freelancers, as well as selling yourself on social networks. But, there is also a surprising amount of work to be found in the offline world as well.
For the modern freelancer, it may feel counterproductive to go through slower offline avenues to find work. However, if you want to grow your client base then doing so through online and offline methods is a must!
Here are few ways to freelance both online and off:
Create a Website
The first and potentially most important aspect of freelancing successfully is the creation of a quality website promoting your work. This can be writing samples, design concepts or pictures of your products. It is also important, however, to make sure that something of your personality also comes across in your site content. As a freelancer, you don’t have to adopt the stuffy tones that many businesses do and can add a little extra to your profile to get yourself noticed!
In the long run, having an online resource that holds examples of your work and brings you to your client’s attention is an essential tool for freelancers. It can bring you online work, but it is also something which will most likely be assessed prior to your offline endeavors - all of your offline and online efforts are two sides of the same coin, after all. So, make sure your website is up to scratch!
Many freelancers either rise to the top or fall behind on the merit of their marketing efforts. And yes, this involves creating both an online and offline presence for yourself. It’s all well and good to have a website, social media profiles and other web ways of advertising your services. But, failing to market yourself offline can be a mistake which costs you a large percentage of your audience!
Newspaper advertisements are a classic way to grow your audience offline. Starting small, seeking out local publications can also be very budget friendly for the beginner freelancer. If your product or service is particularly niche then you may be able to buy advertising space in industry publications for a reduced rate - or even contribute guest articles for added exposure!
Moving on from the print world, you should also invest in a high-quality business card. These are perfect to leave in various relevant businesses and to hand out when you meet any potential clients or create a lead. Business cards aren’t necessarily instant conversions, but they are the perfect way to leave yourself as a lasting impression in someone’s memory and create a conversion down the road.
Online, you can also go beyond the simple social media promotion. Email marketing can be a great way to directly deliver your service to an established or potential customer base. Personalisation, offers and exclusive content can be a great way to reward your current client-base as well as reach out to a new one. This approach can also be taken offline with leaflets and door to door posting, slightly more expensive but effective if your target market is local to you. You will know each leaflet is falling through the letterbox of a potential client.
For many, freelancing is a way to avoid the drama and secret language of the office. However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid human interaction outside of emails altogether! Networking events aren’t just a great way to meet other professionals in your industry and talk shop, but it can be a great place to find work.
The same can be said for artisanal fairs or workshops if you are selling more of a product than a service. Attend a few of these events to get a feel for the market, look what your competitors are selling and see how your product compares. Once you feel you have an understanding of the events, then you can start to investigate the costs of showcasing yourself there.
Or, if you have a particular expertise in your freelancing niche then you could even set yourself the task of holding an educational workshop. This could present something of value not only to customers but also to your professional peers. Such an event is a great way to demonstrate your capabilities and even your product if you’re feeling cheeky, so don’t forget to take your portfolio or product along.
Also, don’t forget to hand out your business card at these events!
Friends and Family
Networking online can also be effective both professionally and socially - especially when first starting out - can have lots of unexpected benefits. After all, one Facebook share from the right person could put you in front of your next client in an instant.
This can be especially effective for products or niche crafts, as you can even begin by selling to your friends and family first! The happier with the product they are, the more shares you will receive and you will be able to grow your audience (it also isn’t as difficult to ask those close to you to help spread your products). Word of mouth can also be a powerful tool to gain more offline work, so reaching out to your family and friends can be a great way to get the ball rolling on that!
There you have it, the best possible ways to reach a new audience and successfully freelance via offline and online methods. With so much competition out there, you really can’t afford to not ensure your efforts are as thorough as possible.
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