When you take an in-person meeting with a prospective freelance client, do you ask them to meet you in a dark alley and then stagger up late in a pair of ripped jeans with your hair uncombed?
I’m going to bet you don’t. You make the effort to choose a businesslike venue and come professionally dressed and groomed.
When prospects visit your freelance blog, it’s like you’re inviting them to take a meeting at your office. Does your blog look professional and ready for business?
If not, you may be losing a lot of clients — great clients who were turned off by what they saw on your blog and left without ever trying to contact you.
Just as it’s important to write blog posts that attract clients, the design and layout of your blog is critical, too. A great design and feel on your blog will help attract better-quality clients — the ones you really want.
Those of you who are design professionals probably have this side of things down cold, but if you’re a freelance writer, you may not have been paying much attention to blog design. You should, though — it’ll really pay off.
What do you need to know? Here are eight basics of blog design and layout every freelancer’s blog should have to attract clients: Continue Reading
Nearly every freelancer I meet seems to be starting a blog, or at least thinking about it.
But there’s a problem: Many freelancers tell me they’re posting like mad on their blog…but nothing’s happening.
No comments. No shares on Twitter or Facebook.
Even worse, no client nibbles, and especially, no firm new clients.
Blogs are a big time investment. So if you’re blogging away and not getting results, that’s not good. If you can’t get the hang of this, you might want to consider spending your marketing time another way.
As a freelancer, I often forget that there are valuable books out there in addition to all of the online reading I do. Recently, though, I’ve taken back up the art of reading a book, rather than just blog posts. And I’ve found a world of knowledge I had been sorely missing.
The following list of 15 freelance business books are ones that I would recommend for any freelancer to own. A few are industry specific, but most are ones that freelancers in any field can benefit from, whether you’re a graphic designer, freelance writer, or specialize in another niche.
The range in the topics below include general business advice, freelance lifestyle advice, marketing advice, and more. I have to admit that I haven’t read all of these, but the ones that I have not personally read come with the highest recommendations.
Effectively taking on a huge freelance project can be daunting if you don’t know where to begin. This article shows that by breaking the project down into bite-sized deliverables, combined with leveraging the experience of outsourced, professional specialists, can yield positive results in terms of both quality of output and freelancer happiness.
The most treasured of all freelance consulting gigs are the ones that offer huge pay and high prominence. Successfully implementing one or two of these types of projects can be a huge boon to your portfolio and can help garner you even bigger and better contracts in the future.
Is your holiday gift shopping done?
There are plenty of good deals to be had on high quality presents for freelancers. The clock is ticking down to that big present opening occasion. It’s time to get those purchases finalized, gifts wrapped, and sent off in the mail (or email for digital purchases).
The best gifts for freelancers are those that assist them with expanding their client base, help them organize their schedules, keep them in the work groove when on the go, and allow them to streamline their business more efficiently. We have an awesome assortment of gift ideas that fill those needs.
All of these gifts are practical and would help freelancers in their business, though some are more on the wishful end of the spectrum, like finding a new iPad mini under the tree. Jump into this freelancer holiday wish list and check out all the cool hardware, useful accessories, mobile apps, cloud services, and top quality gear to go.
Be sure to link to this post on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, which will make it easier for Santa to add this to your holiday wish list. 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:
As a creative professional, your work is often governed by copyright law.
It’s not exactly a topic that most of your clients will be familiar with, so you need to make a point of having practical expertise. You don’t need a law degree to know the applications of copyright law in your particular niche, though it never hurts to take a class or two in this topic.
For the record, I am not a lawyer. You should certainly talk to a legal professional about the details of your own situation because no one offering advice over the internet is going to be familiar with the nuances of your particular situation. Furthermore, copyright law varies dramatically from country to country.
Here, we will be focusing primarily on U.S.-copyright law. There are similarities in most countries, but make sure you’ve got the details right for your locale. Intellectual property, particularly copyright, can mean big money, so you need to make sure you get it right.
But I can offer you a starting point when it comes to dealing with copyright questions. Continue Reading
The most visited page on most websites is the about page. That holds particularly true for freelancers — on my site, almost half of my visitors wind up there. That’s because a client looking to hire some help wants to know exactly who he’ll be working with.
When he’s found you online, he’s not going to have a sense of who you are and why you’re worth your rates until he’s found out more. Your about page is the easiest way to do so.
Of course, most clients will do a little more due diligence when deciding between freelancers, but a good about page can put you at the top of the list and even direct how that due diligence will proceed. Continue Reading
So you’re a brand-new freelancer with no work for your portfolio. How can you get started building your business?
We all know it’s tough to get a job without experience, and tough to get experience without a job. But you can break this cycle and start getting some samples. You really only need three or four to get started marketing your freelance services to paying prospects.
The trick is, your want these samples to look great, so you’ll choose your targets carefully. If you’re a writer, for instance, clips from Associated Content or other content mills are unlikely to impress anyone.
Instead, target small publications, local nonprofits, or small businesses that have a great reputation. How can you find these first gigs? By using what I like to call the low-hanging fruit method. Continue Reading
If you’re renting an apartment or buying a new home, you’ll probably be asked to provide proof of your income. In some cases, the same goes when starting a new service or opening a line of credit. Before I had health insurance, I even had to provide proof of my income every time I needed to get a doctor to sign for a renewed prescription.
Freelancers can’t exactly present a pay stub, though, making what should be routine paperwork much harder. The fact that the situation isn’t all that common for most of the people you’ll be dealing with just complicates matters more. When you tell an apartment manager that you don’t receive a pay stub, it’s very possible that he or she won’t even know what sort of paperwork can substitute for it.
But you can prepare yourself for these sorts of situations, providing the necessary information. While a customer service rep or a manager may not be able to figure out what to do with you, just by having some sort of paperwork in hand, you can often resolve the issue and move past it. Continue Reading
Certifications are not just for the employed because they can be equally beneficial for those that are self-employed, such as freelancers.
The benefits of getting a certification can include enhanced knowledge, more clients, more authority in the field, and more income.
Some creatives do not have certifications available to them, but it is very much an option for programmers, IT professionals, web developers, and graphic designers.
Certifications are generally not required by most clients, but some of them will prefer to hire certified professionals because they view them as being more qualified, higher skilled, and more reliable. Here are some of the most useful credentials for freelancers to pursue. Continue Reading
How do you feel when someone steals your ideas?
At some point in your freelance career, you may find yourself successful at what you do. Chances are, if you’re reading this, that you have or that you’re on your way. Unfortunately, one common indicator of success is the proportion of individuals who attempt to copy, borrow or steal original content from you. Realistically, this has likely already happened to you at some point in the past without your knowledge.
I’ve been frustrated by this numerous times. I’ve had carefully crafted text that I’ve sculpted over the years lifted from my website and used without my consent on a competitor’s site. Occasionally, I’ve stumbled across an entire duplication of one of my original website designs, something that I consider less than flattering.
You’d think that this would get easier with time. It doesn’t. It’s nothing short of a violation of your hard work. Knowing that someone else is benefiting on your behalf and at your expense is a royal pain and, from a business perspective, a serious threat. Knowing how to prepare, identify, deal with and respond to this type of copyright infringement is quickly becoming one of the necessary skills for any serious business owner.