Since working as a freelancer is gaining popularity worldwide, (by 2027 over 50% of the U.S population will be composed of freelancers) that means that the competition is fierce. To make your services stand out, it’s important to establish yourself in your industry, establish your brand and prove to potential clients that you are the right choice for them.
In this article, we’ll show you the steps you need to take as a new freelancer to get your business rolling, build credibility and attract clients.
- Starting Out as a Freelancer
- What is your niche?
- Who are your clients?
- Build your offering
- Pricing your services
- Establish Your Brand
- Have a Powerful Logo
- Create and maintain a Blog
- Be active on Social Media
- Create a stunning website
- Showcase your portfolio
- The importance of following up
- Getting client feedback
Starting Out as a Freelancer
Once you have taken the plunge and entered the world of freelancing, it’s important to build your credibility in your selected industry. Doing so will let potential clients know that you have the right skills and capabilities to handle whatever task they have for you.
Building credibility takes time, however, there are a few things you can do to help speed the process along and give your potential clients the peace of mind they need.
What is your niche?
The first thing you need to establish credibility is figuring out your niche. Are you a freelance writer? Graphic designer? App developer? Web developer? Consultant? This first decision will help you understand your niche and create a successful career as a freelancer.
If, for example, you are a freelance writer, you might be overwhelmed by the number of other writers out there. That is why you need a competitive edge and a niche to specialize in. The ideal niche will be one in which you are already knowledgeable as well as profitable.
If you plan on leaving a job in the pharmaceutical industry to become a freelance writer, consider writing content that is related to your industry. Doing so will let you combine your passion with your experience as well as make you an instant expert in your domain.
This will help you: How Technical Writing Saved Me From Unemployment
Who are your clients?
After understanding your niche, it will be easier to understand who your target audience is. This will help you attract the type of clients you want. If you are just starting out and do not know who your exact client should be, that’s ok. You do not need to have an exact persona, just a general idea of the type of client you want.
Do you want to work with big companies? Small startups? Individuals with established personal brands?
This will help you understand if that client needs your particular service and if they are willing to pay the price you need to charge in order to make a living. Be sure to consider who the decision-makers will be depending on the companies you want to work with.
Build your offering
Understanding your niche and the clients you want to work with is critical to building your freelance offering.
Your offering is dynamic and will likely change over time as you grow your freelance career, however, it is important to have an initial offering that you are comfortable with in order to start your freelance business the right way and build credibility.
If you are a graphic designer with significant experience designing mobile apps but less experience designing websites, do not be tempted to offer all graphic design services since you may end up disappointing clients, ruining your reputation before you begin.
Pricing your services
While it may be tempting (or even seem logical) to price your services at a low rate, you should avoid doing so. This may position your freelance business as low-end; something that will be very difficult for you to change down the line.
On the other hand, if you price your services too high, you may find it very difficult to attract clients – especially high-end ones with big budgets willing to take a gamble on a new freelancer.
Additionally, a crucial aspect of establishing credibility as a freelancer is based on consistency, and consistent pricing is key. While it is common to slightly raise prices occasionally, the price gauge cannot be drastic. That is why you need to start off with a price point that you are comfortable with.
This article gives practical knowledge of choosing prices on Fiverr: How to Make Money as a Freelance Writer on Fiverr
Decide if you want to price per hour or per project based on your skillset and the standard in your industry. Be sure that you are comfortable with your price point and that you can pitch your rates to clients without stammering.
Establish Your Brand
If you think being a freelancer means you are not a brand, think again. When you are a freelancer, you are your own brand. If you want to build credibility in the long run and start a successful career, it is important to establish your brand the right way from the very beginning.
Have a Powerful Logo
Your freelancer logo is one of the first things people see when they visit your website, look at your business card or look you up in any capacity. This is why it is important to have a modern logo that accurately reflects your industry.
If you are building your own name as a brand, you still need to have a logo that shows your name in a clear way. Be sure to include your tagline below your name so people know your industry.
Having a logo that is visually appealing is extremely important since it shows to potential clients that you are not just some person trying the whole freelancer thing out for giggles, but that you are committed to establishing yourself as a leader in your niche and should be treated that way.
Create and maintain a Blog
If you are looking for a great way to build credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader in your freelance industry, consider creating a blog on your website. Be sure to post content that is engaging rather than promotional in nature.
For example, if you are looking to gain clients as a content writer specializing in high-tech, routinely share insights into the high-tech industry, spotlight major events, provide valuable information on changes in the market, and so on.
By routinely updating your blog with content, not only are you able to improve your credibility and showcase to potential clients that you are truly knowledgeable, but you will also begin improving your organic search ranking, making it a win-win situation for your freelance business.
Be active on Social Media
A great way to build your credibility as a freelancer is by creating a public presence. The best way to do that today is through social media.
Create a LinkedIn profile and make it known that you are a freelancer already in your headline. Join local and global freelancer groups as well as groups in your niche. Do not forget to be active and engage in conversation.
Twitter is a great way to generate conversation and chat with other freelancers and potential clients. Do not buy thousands of followers – it is cheesy and can be clearly recognized by others. Take the time to slowly build your Twitter base by sharing relevant tweets about your niche.
If you are looking to offer freelance services in the design industry, such as graphic design or interior design, you may want to build and maintain an Instagram page to showcase your unique style, since that is what will make potential clients chose you over competitors.
Create a stunning website
One of the main benefits of freelancing is being able to work from anywhere. This also means your clients can be anywhere. Because of this, it is important to have a website that you can use to promote your freelance business.
Having a website is a great way to detail your professional experience as well as describe your services and key advantages. If, for example, you are a freelance developer, it is important to provide previous projects you worked on and point out the coding languages you are skilled in.
A website is also a great way to start working on organic traffic. Organic traffic on Google is generated based on the keywords you use on your website to describe your service. By making sure that you accurately describe your services, relevant potential clients that reach your site will be more likely to stay for longer, increasing your organic ranking.
Showcase your portfolio
Showing past work done is a great way to build credibility as well as establish yourself as a freelancer. If you are just starting out and do not have a portfolio you can showcase, be sure to leave room for it on your website. If you are going to be offering services you have performed previously as an employee, consider asking your previous places of employment if you can present projects you worked on.
If you do not have client works you can showcase in a portfolio, consider creating specific content just for your website. For example, if you are a graphic designer looking to specialize in logo creation, consider creating logos specifically for your portfolio.
As your business grows, do not forget to include new projects on your website to continue establishing credibility and showcasing your skills.
The importance of following up
Getting clients takes time and patience, but it also requires some following up. When you have a potential lead, it is important to routinely touch base with them to make sure that you are constantly on their mind.
A great way to follow up is to have automated emails sent out based on engagement. For example, if a potential client did not open your email, a follow-up one should be sent within 72 hours.
Another great way to engage potential clients is by sending a newsletter to your entire lead database. Your newsletter can showcase interesting things in your industry, spotlight a new project you have completed, or just give readers added value. Do not fill your newsletter with promotional pieces – instead, focus on creating interesting content. Be sure that all newsletter recipients have opted in to avoid being marked a spammer.
Getting client feedback
Once your first client is secured and you successfully completed your project, don’t forget to ask for feedback. Since word of mouth is still the most trusted source by many, testimonials can help convince potential clients that you are the right freelancer for their upcoming needs. Don’t forget to include the testimonials in a prominent way on your website and LinkedIn page!
See client’s feedback in this image: