FreelanceSwitch is chock full of promotion tips. We’ve given you ways to use email to get your message across, showed you techniques to nab hot clients, talked about how to build buzz, and we may even have helped you embrace cold-calling.
But sometimes, before you learn all the techniques to promote yourself as a business, you have to step out of your own way. As in, you have to get over your fear of self-promotion.
Think about it: How can you tackle putting your best foot out there if you’re insecure and anxious about how it will all go down. There’s not much sense in spending the time to promote yourself if you doubt what you’re doing. Freelancers may be able to mask our insecurities by working solo–or even working from home, alone like myself–but when it comes to promoting ourselves, it’s best done with confidence.
That said, here are a few tips to help you nip your fear of self-promotion in the bud. When you overcome the perceived horrors of doing so, you will likely find that your business grows–and that self-promotion isn’t so bad after all. You may even grow to love it! Continue Reading
You may not be on the curb groveling with a paper cup for coins, but that is what starving artist mode can feel like for many creative professionals. Chances are you’ve been there a few times.
For many creative professionals, moments come and go when we feel like the traditional starving artist. Maybe we are not pulling in as much money as we’d like, or we know we should be charging more. Perhaps we take jobs we otherwise wouldn’t accept out of fear or the feeling that we don’t deserve much better—or because we are desperate for money. Or we’re working so hard and not reaping the benefits we believe that we deserve.
Those fleeting moments are one thing, but when it turns into a daily rut, you may be in what I call “starving artist mode”.
It’s something that you cannot exactly snap out of. You have to identify why you feel like a starving artist, then detect things you can control in order to shift the mindset. For example, I sometimes feel like opportunities are drying up or I will never find another great client—that’s pretty normal after a gig ends or work is slow. For me, the key is to take action in order to generate new opportunities and try to find awesome people I want to work with (and to remember that I can be selective because turning down one gig isn’t going to destroy my business!) Continue Reading
Finding gigs isn’t hard for most of us; actually a lot of freelancers know what works for them in order to secure jobs. Over time, however, we can become so busy with the influx of gigs that we forget to continually market our businesses. We know it’s something that has to be done, yet, we don’t do it.
If you cease marketing your business, not only can that dry up your pipeline of incoming work; it can also be a detriment if you’re relying on new business so you can increase your rates over time.
Working with the same clients regularly can be fantastic, but if you are raising your costs like many freelancers do, it can be hard to constantly ask for an income boost. Many of us take on new projects and set our “new” rates with fresh clients, then grandfather in the old ones if we like them.
I have to admit, I think I am in a rut. After months of working hard on many projects and penning my third book, I’m not hurting for work–but I have let my marketing efforts fade a little. And while it’s nice to know that it’s not hurting my business, I know I can’t ignore the need to market myself forever. I have to refresh and reboot my marketing!
So I’m regrouping and thinking of some fresh ways to enthuse myself and revitalize the way I market what I have to offer. I’m using a combination of new tactics and inspirational ideas to get myself rolling again. And you can apply these same techniques to your freelance business too. Continue Reading
I’ve been hard at work over the past months penning my upcoming book, When Talent Isn’t Enough: Business Basics for the Creatively Inclined. Writing is every bit as educational as being taught–I’ve learned so many strategies and heard so many lesson-holding stories. Armed with all of this information, my next few posts will relate to what I cover in the book due out in early 2013.
A lot of the creative professionals featured in the book spoke about the usual hardships: organizing and understanding accounting, generating leads and forging positive client relations.
When it came time to discuss networking, opinions were mixed. Some creatives say that networking is key because it drives referrals for their business. Others contend that it’s a waste of time and money and they use other methods to get the word out.
Funny, the exact same thing happened when we honed in on legal matters–some use lawyers and some go it on their own. Cold calling? Some love it and others loathe it. (Same went for taxes, but I don’t think anyone reported enjoying that process!) Continue Reading
I have written case studies for clients, but haven’t implemented this in my own business yet. It is definitely something I’m going to be working on in the coming months.
Why, you may ask? Because a case study, at its root, combines the all-powerful client testimonial with step-by-step details on how you attained a positive outcome. In short, once a prospect sees it, and relates to it, that could mean they contact you for business.
In writing up a case study and posting it on your website, you don’t have to do much to generate a solid lead–one that already knows a little bit about your process and is interested in what you have to offer! Continue Reading
It’s always nice to hear a good success story. That’s what struck me when I read about Andrea Wren. The UK-based freelance journalist successfully made a career out of freelance writing with no previous experience or training. Andrea is proof that as long as you can write well, you can start a thriving writing career at any time.
Q: Give our readers your “story” in a nutshell.
When it came to my higher education I was a late starter, enrolling for my Bachelor’s degree once my son began school. I graduated with a First Class Honors in Applied Human Communication in 1999, working in several jobs before getting recruited as a specialist drug and alcohol worker within a youth offending team in 2000.
I loved this job for a couple of years but after the personal crisis of my son’s father dying in 2002, it became stressful. I ended up having to take time off work with anxiety in May 2004. I was so desperate to change my work-life balance and live on my own terms, it was at this point I decided “I want to be a writer” and follow my childhood dreams.
I began researching exactly how I could make it happen for myself, then started making connections, building a portfolio and contacting editors with ideas. Once I’d returned to work two months later in July, I’d received my first paid freelance writing commission, a travel feature, and was over the moon! Continue Reading
It’s hard to deal with, actually, because you spend so much time learning how to launch your business and probably less on learning how to cope with it when it’s running like a fine-tuned engine. Just because a business is successful doesn’t mean it can’t be stressful!
Here are a few tips on how to deal with business when the phones literally won’t stop ringing–and you need to buckle down and get to work! Continue Reading
Sometimes, the freelance world can seem like one big sea with too many fishes. There are plenty of designers, writers, crafters–but then there are a few that stand out. You know the type…you look at their work and you know they are the real deal.
Courtney Mason is that type of illustrator. With a glowing portfolio full of inspiring work and Lemonaid Illustration as her agent, Courtney’s career has gotten off on the right track.
It started with two degrees in graphic design, but it’s her real-world experience and clients such as Hyundai, Ford and Sony/BMG that have helped her carve out her own unique niche. And with a business name like Punky Chicken, well, how can you not be intrigued? Continue Reading
While the end of the year is likely not in the minds of many, it’s closer than you may think.
So before the ball drops and that tax deadline gets even closer, it’s a good time to think about the many things you can do to prepare for the end of the year–and the promising year ahead.
Here are 4 tips to get you started.
1. Create a New Filing System
If you’ve been meaning to find a better way to get organized, now may just be the time to do it. Put new systems in place for organizing your files. I work out of my home office, which is also a hub for my personal paperwork–so having a work file cabinet and a personal one was key to helping me stay together. Continue Reading
There is no one set strategy for setting your rates, which is why the process can be so confusing for freelancers. Basing your rates off regional competitors’ prices is a very smart tactic, but I think many freelancers forget about something important when putting together rates, and that is their value.
It seems that so many of us are quick to assign the highest price we could be making–but that’s not necessarily the most practical strategy. Why? If you have little experience and a non-brag-worthy portfolio, why should someone pay $100 an hour to hire you?
Instead of pricing yourself at a point that seasoned freelancers are getting, there’s nothing wrong with pricing yourself at a competitive wage that reflects your skill set. You can still make a good salary, plus you won’t be excluding the opportunity to build your skills and your portfolio. Continue Reading
When I began freelancing, I was open to anything. I would take just about any job, at just about any pay.
I’m still like that, sometimes, although my standards have grown. Still, I don’t buy into the “I’m above that” mindset that many freelancers have. If there’s a gig out there that offers flexibility and the chance to do work I like, I’ll consider it.
So when an opportunity recently came up that offered less-than-stellar pay but plenty of other perks, I wondered why I was intrigued. After all, money is everything, right? Well, not really. It was the work that I thought I would enjoy–and I did.
So I took the job, thinking that there would be some flexibility, and that I would be part of a team that communicated well. Turns out, the only good thing about the opportunity was the work…everything else wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, and I’m not even talking about the pay.
At FreelanceSwitch, we get plenty of mail from teen Web designers that want to be featured on the site. It’s hard to weed out who has something valuable to say, because we like to interview people with experience and wisdom to share — at that usually comes from having a few years of professional experience. But when we heard from Trevan Hetzel, we knew something was a little different about this “kid” from Iowa.
This 20-year-old has a flawless eye for design, a knack for doing business — and even his own office space. Read on to learn more about how Trevan does business. We think you’ll be inspired!
Tell us how you got into design.
I’ve always had a creative personality. I remember as a little kid playing with Legos nonstop. That’s what my parents used to ground me from when I got in trouble! It may be a bad example, but I really do think those types of toys foster creativity in kids. I actually got into Web design my freshman year of high school when I took an elective class on Web design and loved every minute of it. There were no boundaries to what you could create, and I just loved how there were endless opportunities to learn more.
I spent probably a year tinkering on my own personal project (www.hetzelracing.com) and then got asked to design a site for my school’s elementary sports program. I guess you could say the rest is history! I then got into logo design and spent my study halls and after school hours learning Web and graphic design because it was so much fun! Continue Reading