Building Your Reputation as a Freelancer

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Jeff Quinn, Executive Chronicles | When you’re working as a freelancer, the ability to market yourself wisely is a top priority if you want to stand out in the crowd to gain clients and new business. You may be the master of your craft, but if you can’t self-promote your specialized skills, your business and livelihood as a freelancer can be at risk. Even if you have a website offering your services as competitive prices, there’s no point if you aren’t driving traffic to your site in the first place. And, in today’s market, you can’t always depend on word-of-mouth referrals.

Fine Tune Your Website

Your website is usually the first place that potential clients go to when they’re searching for a new business. If you’re not web-design savvy, be sure to seek help from someone who knows the ins and outs of this side of marketing. Understand the sort of clients you want to attract and decide what appeals to them. Make your website easy to navigate and have what sets you apart be the first thing that new visitors see. Additionally, including a portfolio, testimonials, and blog will not only help showcase your work, but also the type of experience that a client will have when they decide to do business with you.

The freelance industry is expected to make up “50% of the total workforce in the US by 2020″ and, with those kinds of odds, freelancers won’t be able to survive if they skip this critical step. Your website is your digital business card that establishes your industry authority and highlights your brand. As a freelancer, it’s possible that you do not have a physical office space for clients to seek out. If that’s the case for you, then consider your website the solution to the absence of a brick-and-mortar location. Be sure to keep your website updated and constantly check it for broken links. Understanding where traffic to your website comes from, with tools like Google Analytics, will help you grow your business and maintain a solid base of clients.

Strengthen Your Social Media

It’s common for freelancers to think that they can depend solely on their social media profiles, and not be dependent on their website. The truth is that both work hand-in-hand to maintain your brand and expand your reach in your industry. How you manage your online reputation demonstrates your knowledge of your industry and keeps you connected with your customers. Connecting with your community through Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram is a fantastic way to generate new leads or gain traffic to your website. It also allows you to easily interact directly with your clients or self-promote your services to potential customers online.

Digital video production through platforms like YouTube is another excellent way to promote your services. Consider doing tutorial videos, webinars, or product reviews that are relevant to your industry. Videos are easily shareable through all social media platforms and they’re a great face-to-face alternative to connect to peers in your network and exhibit your expertise.

Embrace Online Marketing Resources

Don’t let yourself be intimidated if you don’t feel like a “pro” when it comes to marketing yourself. Just remember that you are already an expert about yourself and the services you provide. The work you put into expressing your unique selling points will drive your brand. The strength of the freelance community is that there is a freelancer for everything, which means even you can find someone to match your budget and needs.

If social media is too time consuming, you can hire that out, or if you’re looking for an SEO expert to increase your website traffic, then you can hire someone for that specific service. As the freelance community grows, you’re never alone in the common challenges that new freelancers, or startups, face when they’re just getting off the ground. Don’t let your lack of graphic design skills be a reason that someone doesn’t take you seriously.

Most importantly, as you delve deeper into marketing your freelance business, always have a plan. In order to gain the right kind of clients, make sure you define the market you are trying to target. Plan your needs around that market and design a budget that will help you reach them. Be creative, but have an efficient process to work with your clients and continue to build your portfolio.

Being self-employed gives you full creative freedom and the ability to control your earning potential and schedule, but also the flexibility to present your best self and best work in an endless number of ways.