When you decide to go it alone as a freelancer, you accept the fact that you’ll no longer be spoon fed work. Instead, it’s up to you to put yourself out there and attract your own business – and keep it once you have it.
Although this can be the most liberating aspect of a freelance career, it can also be the most frustrating. It’s a competitive marketplace out there, and if you’re complacent or fall into bad practice, it can become very hard to find work.
You can’t always guarantee success, and sometimes it just takes a little luck to get a good gig and keep it, but there are a few things you can do to give yourself the best possible chance.
4 Ways To Get More Freelance Work
Here are some ways to get more freelance work:
1. Use freelance jobs sites
Freelance job sites are great because they let you set up a profile, which gives you an easy way to sell yourself to potential clients.
Popular sites include Elance, Odesk, and People Per Hour. The concepts are very similar. People with jobs that need doing post an outline of the task and the budget, then prospective freelancers bid for the jobs by suggesting a price and writing a bit about why they’re the best pick.
The problem with these sites is that they’re totally free markets and very popular, meaning that there are many poorly paid jobs, and also that the well-paid ones attract heavy competition. You might be better off looking at sites that are more specialized to your profession. Writers should take a look at Contently and designers should check out Smashing.
2. Stay focused
Advertising yourself broadly as just ‘a writer’ or ‘a developer’ is going to lump you in with thousands of other competitors. Having a better idea of what your specialty is – and sticking to it – not only hones your skills, but also positions you as an expert in the market, rather than just an odd job man.
Find your niche, research what competitors are doing and what they offer, then develop your services to make sure you’re giving clients more value. If you can, find out what your competitors are charging and position yourself competitively.
You might want to consider creating a brand for your services. This gives the impression that there’s an establishment behind your work and can make potential clients trust you more.
3. Take client service the extra mile
Freelancing isn’t just about finding new clients, it’s also about nurturing the ones you already have. Whether your client works with freelancers all the time, or if you’re the first, making a good impression is the best way to get repeat work.
It may sound cheesy, but adding touches like sending your client personalized thank you notes for their business or giving them unexpected deal sweeteners is a great way to forge lasting relationships.
It may not always be possible, but try to speak to your clients on the phone as much as you can, even if it’s just to check in. Or, even, better, try to meet them in person. It’s easy for them to start seeing you as a disembodied email, otherwise, and you could be easily forgotten.
4. Build a network
This point very much moves on from the last. Once you’re in a client’s good books, you should ask them to connect with you via social media. If they see your name popping up on their Twitter or Facebook, they’re more likely to remember you for future work.
You should also ask for endorsements wherever possible. Tell your client that if they write something nice about you on your LinkedIn then you’ll do the same back. Getting good feedback on freelance jobs sites is crucial to getting more work, as it shows you can be trusted to deliver a high quality service.
It’s also a good idea to interact with freelance networks, both on and offline. Join groups over social media and contribute to the discussion, or find when your next local networking event is. It’s a great way to find more personal clients that you can rely on for well paid and, hopefully, consistent work.
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