12 Incredibly Crafty Ways to Become a High-Profile Freelancer
As a freelancer, you’re constantly judged by the work you’ve done and who you’ve worked for.
Imagine if you could add a bunch of high profile names to your list of clients — or add a redesign of a Technorati Top 100 blog to your profile. Too good to be true, right?
I don’t think so.
If you can think of ‘payment’ beyond dollars and cents, all of the above is entirely possible. You can be paid in promotion, or in added reputation to your freelancing business — things that are easy and free for a big-time client to give, but incredibly valuable things to receive. In this post, I’ll be providing 12 things you can do to add value to your freelancing business and build your profile as a freelancer.
High-profile freelancers can charge their dream rates and receive a steady stream of work offers, so these things are all worth doing.
1. Offer to redesign a top blog for free. Nate Whitehill launched his web design business with a bang after doing a free redesign of John Chow’s blog. He got links, thanks and a high profile in return, which no doubt led to new clients and helped the redesign work pay for itself many times over. Source-out a popular blog in need of a fresh design and ask if they’d accept a free redesign in exchange for promotion of your freelancing business. This will also allow you to add ‘has done design for (insert name of famous blog)’ to your portfolio, which will in turn help raise your profile — and your rates.
2. Offer to freely design a new logo for a top blog or website. If you’re a Photoshop ninja and the thought of redesigning someone else’s blog without financial compensation gives you nightmares, this option might be better for you. Source out a popular blog or website with a lackluster logo and offer to redesign it for free (in exchange for a little promotion, of course). Having your logo design viewed thousands of times each day on a well-known blog or website will help take your profile as a designer to the next level.
3. Write an eBook or self-publish a book on web design. This will work best if you have a blog or website to promote it from, though being able to add ‘author of (insert book title)’ will add another layer of credibility to your freelancing profile.
4. Write a guest post for ten famous blogs. If you’re good enough to be working as a writer, you’re more than good enough to write a guest-post for some of the world’s most popular blogs. Find ten blogs on topics that you know something about and pitch an idea to their editor. Copyblogger might be a good place to start — it is, after all, a blog about writing. One post at a popular blog allows you to add ‘has written for (blog name)’ to your profile. Potential clients will see you as more desirable and valuable as a result.
5. Write posts tailored for the front page of Digg. It’s hard to write posts with a good chance of making the front page of Digg. They often require a lot of effort, or a bright idea. You can increase your chances by befriending a Digg power-user — and that’s not something that will happen overnight, or without a lot of persistence. In short, making the front page of Digg isn’t easy, but it will add immense value to your freelance blogging business. Being able to say that your writing has hit the front page of Digg (or even better, made it multiple times) will help you attract more clients and charge more for each post you write.
6. Self-publish a book. Being able to say that you’re a published author will impress clients interested in your writing work. You don’t even need to tell them that you’re self-published (though having the persistence to write and finish a book is still impressive, regardless of how many copies it sells.)
7. Offer to take free photos for a well-known blog or website. Popular blogs and websites tend to use stock photography or images from Flickr, but I’ve little doubt that they’d enjoy a source of custom free photos tailored to each post or category. Even if you only provide them for a week, you can still add the blog to your list of clients.
8. Start a photo-blog with the aim of getting a large following. A popular blog focusing on your photography will add considerable value to your freelancing profile. It shows potential clients that your work is popular with a wide variety of people.
9. Offer to create a free comic strip for a popular blog, website, magazine or newspaper. Freelance Freedom is really cool, right? Wouldn’t you want a professional-looking comic strip for your blog or website? Source out a well-known blog, website, magazine or newspaper and offer to create a comic strip for them. Whether it’s one, three or ten strips, you’ll be able to add them to your list of clients. If you need to make an ongoing commitment, make sure they plug your freelancing business in a byline attached to the strip.
10. Create and market a web-comic. Even if your web comic doesn’t become a money-earner, having a loyal audience and some notoriety online will add value to your freelancing business. You could even self-publish a book of your web comics and market it to your audience. Whether it sells or not, it will look impressive in your portfolio.
11. Offer yourself up as a free virtual assistant for a week. Contact a top blogger, author or other web celebrity and offer to work freely as their virtual assistant for an hour a day for one week. Encourage them to delegate the necessary tasks they would rather not be doing. Being able to add ‘I’ve worked for (insert name of web celebrity)’ to your portfolio will be a long-term benefit to your business — certainly enough to make the work required worthwhile.
12. Get a testimonial from ten of your favorite clients. Testimonials are under-utilized by freelancers. A reputable source raving about your skills might just be the tipping point in a potential client’s decision to hire you. On-going clients are your best bet for a good testimonial because they’ve seen your work and like you enough to keep paying for more. They’re also more likely to oblige because they have to deal with you on a day-to-day basis. More positive testimonials = better. I’d suggest adding a dedicated ‘Testimonials’ or ‘Satisfied Clients’ page to your portfolio once you’ve got enough good responses.
I’ve got not doubt that there are many more innovative things you can do to start becoming a high-profile freelancer. Feel free to add them in the comments on this post.