LinkedIn makes sense for professionals, but what about for freelancers?
In my experience, LinkedIn is an important tool in my marketing toolbox. Being on LinkedIn allows me to showcase my skills and experience. Additionally, LinkedIn is a networking platform, which makes it perfect for finding prospects, hooking up with new clients or reconnecting with past clients.
In this article I show you how to set up your LinkedIn profile as an effective marketing tool. Setting up your profile for success is important because it provides the foundation on which to build your LinkedIn networking and marketing efforts.
Here’s what you want from your profile.
- You want people to find you on LinkedIn. In other words, your profile must be search optimized.
- In every aspect of your profile, from your headline right down to the nitty-gritty of your skills and experience, you want to draw people in and make them interested to find out more about you. Your profile must be well written, and structured in an accessible way.
- Often as freelancers, we have a broader range of experience than is typical. You want your profile to give a solid, focused account of your skills and experience, putting your best foot forward.
In this tutorial, I show you how to achieve these goals. Continue Reading
Freelancers interested in earning big should always be looking for opportunities to raise rates. Luckily, if you’re reading this in the fall, you’re at one of the easiest times of year to get a raise.
I’ll explain why in a minute.
But first, let’s talk a little economic reality about why you need to get aggressive about asking for a raise.
Freelancers need to continuously raise rates, because the cost of living isn’t stable. The price of oil and corn are both going up as I write this, for instance.
You need your rates to rise a bit just to keep up with inflation — and they need to go up more if you want to get ahead.
Fortunately, the approach of a new year sets the stage for pitching clients that you deserve higher rates.
Fortunately, the approach of a new year sets the stage for pitching clients that you deserve higher rates. If like me, you have a goal to earn more money from freelancing each year, rate hikes are key.
I know what you’re thinking: Asking for money makes you feel weird.
But standing up for what we’re worth is the only way freelancers end up earning fair wages. Companies won’t necessarily volunteer to pay you premium rates — but they might give them to you if you ask them the right way.
How can you get your clients to pay you more? Here is my list of effective ways to get a raise: Continue Reading
As a freelancer (or potential freelancer), you live and die by your ability to sell your services. And unless you’ve got some kind of agent or marketing firm doing your marketing for you, you’ve got to be your own marketer. If you’re like me, that doesn’t come naturally.
But by focusing, learning and practicing these 10 essential freelancing marketing skills, you can be a natural self-promoter and get more work than you actually need.
Let me first say that when I say “marketing” I don’t mean you should be one of those pushy, spammy, overhyping marketers that you see so often on infomercials and on spam websites and knocking door-to-door. Don’t be a huckster or a con artist.
The real way to market yourself is in a natural, professional, honest manner — show that you’re good, interact in a positive way, find ways to let people know about your services and talents without coming on too strong, and let your talents sell themselves. This gets easier as you’re more established and better known, but it can be done by anyone.
Here are the essential marketing skills for any freelancer:
Transparency is the buzzword that everyone conducting business online seems to be focused on. We’re all supposed to be open and share even the smallest details about how we do business and when we screw up, mostly in hopes of building better business relationships.
But while I believe strongly that we should take responsibility for our work, whether or not we’re freelancing, freelancers may not need to go to the extremes of transparency. Continue Reading
There’s a lot to learn when you’re breaking into freelancing, but the most important skills any freelancer will learn revolve around one thing: clients.
Every successful freelancer will eventually need to master the ability to find good portfolio of clients, manage your relationship with them through the project, deliver in a way that makes them repeat clients, and (very importantly) get paid promptly.
In this Tuts+ Premium video course, Wes McDowell of Deep End Design will walk you through every step of client management. Ready to turn your clients into your biggest fans? Wes explains everything you need to know about working with clients.
You’ll need to become a Tuts+ Premium member to access the full course.
Free preview lessons:
Startups are great, particularly when:
- They are free or freemium.
- They have easy-to-use products.
- They help you deal with daunting business tasks that make you lose valuable time you should be spending doing “real” work.
Here are five internet startups who can be really handy for creative freelancers, and whose core service is absolutely free of charge.
1. When you have to find a new freelance project: Working-Not-Working
There are a lot of marketplaces for freelancers, and they all have pros and cons. Working-Not-Working is a new network for designers and freelance creatives to get new gigs without having to scour hundred of job posting or cheapen your brand in generic freelance sites.
Created by Justin Gignac, art director, it is a platform where you can quickly build your profile, and specify your availability: are you working or not working? Do you have time to start a new project? WNW does a great job in populating the site with quality creative companies that need freelance talent, like Ogilvy, Mullen and Etsy.
The best part is it that the hiring managers pay a monthly subscription for taking a peak at you, making this the most freelancer-friendly job board out there. The only catch is the invite-only policy, but you can apply on the site. Continue Reading
One of the things that makes would-be freelancers nervous to quit their day jobs is the whole issue of paying taxes. When we’re employees, our company handles most of our tax responsibility for us, deducting required amounts so we never miss the money.
As freelancers, this responsibility falls squarely on our shoulders. But tax-phobia shouldn’t keep you from pursuing the freelance life.
There is some paperwork you’ll need to do, but it’s not overwhelming. You can do this. With a small amount of forethought and planning, you can reduce your tax burden and make sure you get all the tax breaks allowed for freelancers.
Just a note up front — my experience is with paying U.S. taxes, and it’s U.S. tax-code issues I’m referencing below. If you’re in another country, be sure to consult your local tax authorities. Continue Reading
One of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal to maximize sales as a freelancer is your own personal career portfolio for your freelance business.
The location of your portfolio is important. It resides at the center of your freelance business marketing.
You should host it on your own website using any number of (free or premium) awesome portfolio themes. Start with a strong template, then customize the WordPress theme for your portfolio to make it unique to your branding and freelance business goals.
This is a fairly standard workflow to follow. But how you set up your portfolio, the language you use, and the weight you give to design elements, is where the most important portfolio marketing decisions you will make reside.
The sales process is one of guiding a potential customer to understand how your work benefits them.
The sales process is one of guiding a potential customer to understand how your work benefits them. The key here is to understand that this is a process. In most cases, you cannot simply put your portfolio online and expect potential customers to automatically “get it” and jump to buy from you. First, you need to put some thought and craft into your portfolio design.
The good news is that the mere fact potential customers are looking through your work is a great sign! You’ve attracted attention and they’ve found their way to your portfolio. But is your portfolio set up to maximize sales? Or do you risk losing the customers that are finding you to the competition?
This guide is filled with professional portfolio tips and walks you through the important considerations for staging your portfolio in such a way that you drive sales and engage potential customers.
A few simple portfolio design tips can dramatically change the way that your customers take in your freelance portfolio, and in turn can make all the difference between them clicking the link to your contact page or clicking away from your portfolio altogether. Continue Reading
Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytics packages available online, in part due to its price. Where most analytics software is relatively expensive, Google Analytics is entirely free to use — you just need a free Google account to use it.
Analytics gives you invaluable information about what happens when prospective clients visit your website, including what pages they look at before contacting you or sending you money.
It isn’t the most user-friendly piece of software, though. It’s easy enough to get some basic figures, but for anything more, you have to learn how to use Google Analytics effectively. Continue Reading
Business writing is one of the most lucrative forms of freelance writing out there. Yet, many writers avoid this niche.
In my experience, that’s often due to a misconception of what it’s like to do business writing. There’s a lot of confusion out there about what it really takes to land business clients and successfully write these assignments.
I know, because once a few years back I was a journalist — and I thought agreeing to do copywriting was equivalent to joining the Dark Side of the Force.
Then, I accidentally did some business writing. I just sort of fell into it.
When I left a staff-writing job, a CEO at a local startup I’d reported on asked if I would ghost his blog. Maybe write a few advertorial articles for his website.
At the time I didn’t honestly know what a blog was, but I said, “Sure, I can do that.”
Then a funny thing happened.
I enjoyed myself. It was fun and challenging, trying to talk in another person’s voice.
The articles weren’t much different from reported stories I’d done in the past, except that the company gave me the topic and pointed me toward experts who knew their company and would say flattering things about their type of solution.
It was all pretty delightful, interesting, challenging work — and I felt no need to take a shower afterwards.
I went on to write for global, $1 billion consultancies, and Fortune 500 retail chains.
It was all pretty delightful, interesting, challenging work — and I felt no need to take a shower afterwards.
Recently, I taught a class on breaking into business writing, and discovered many writers are intimidated by this niche.
Writers also have many misconceptions about this writing niche. So I thought I’d pull back the curtain and bust a few myths about the world of business writing.
Here are the seven myths I hear most: Continue Reading