The employment landscape has been changing considerably over the course of the 21st century, with one emergent pattern being the steady growth in freelancing. According to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), the number of freelancers in the UK have grown by 46% between 2008 and 2017 – a number which has increased significantly in recent years.
There are many draws to freelancing. You can schedule your hours, work to your own strengths and seek out work you find personally fulfilling. Freelancing is possible in nearly every industry and has become all the more prescient a career choice in the time of coronavirus – where remote working and control over workload has reduced stress for many.
But freelancing is also hard work. Growing your client base can be difficult, especially for those not well-versed in marketing strategy. If you’re thinking of starting out as a freelancer, whether as freelance project manager, copywriter or any other profession, the following tips can help you leverage your skills to find success in your field.
Getting the word out about your services and skills is a must, and there are numerous ways to do it. If you already work with visual media, you can use this to your advantage; design bespoke adverts for yourself, and target them to your client demographic via Google Ads.
Promotional material can go a long way to advertising you as a competent and professional contractor and is accessible even if you don’t have a graphic design degree. You can create a business card using an online template, to provide a sleek looking way to introduce yourself to potential clients. Business cards can also act as impromptu flyers – don’t be afraid to leave a stack in an appropriate venue or location.
Craft a Strong, Accessible Portfolio
You will need to be able to provide evidence of your quality of work, and the primary way to do this is via a portfolio. If you’re new to freelancing, you will not have much in the way of work to showcase your skills. It is not unusual for freelancers to create work, especially for their portfolio, by creating and responding to an imaginary brief by a well-known brand.
As well as quality, your portfolio must be accessible. If a potential client struggles to find your work, they will not necessarily go the extra mile to find it before moving on. Hosting a digital portfolio as a website or on a portfolio site can help you maintain visibility, and give you an easy way to forward your work to potential clients.
Networking is key to building an established business as a freelancer. Not only can networking introduce you to new higher-profile clients, but can also bolster your business in other ways. By meeting professionals in your field, you can expand your contacts list and form partnerships. For example, a graphic designer might receive a client who also needs copy editing; if you have met, they are more likely to recommend you to their client.
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