Remember, you are a product. You have to sell your product like any retailer would.
15 Jan, 2018FORBES.COM
So, you have a website and a blog. You have social media accounts, already joined several freelance groups, and your LinkedIn profile is smashing. Now what? How can you scale your business so that you can actually eat well? Become that freelancer you see in all of the stock photos – you know the one typing on the beach? (Have you ever tried that? The sun is so bright, you can barely see the screen).
Remember, you are a product. You have to sell your product like any retailer would. So far, you are on the right track, but now it’s time for some more brand spreading – getting your name out there. Here are some old-school and some guerilla marketing ideas to give a try.
If you don’t have one, get it right now. This is your 30-second “sell” to anyone – yes, anyone. You never know who is ahead of you in the checkout line or sitting at the net table at the coffee shop. And you probably attend weddings and other social events. Maybe you visit a church on a Sunday. Wherever you are, you have to be ready with that pitch.
When anyone asks you what you do, you give them the pitch. Your pitch should always end with, “You can check out some of my work on my site.”
If you have joined a few, that’s enough. My experience has been that high quality work is not found there. Think about it. Everyone in these groups is looking for work – do you think you are going to get good leads? Probably not. Still, everyone needs support groups, so stick with them.
Here’s what you do instead. Join every business networking group you can. If you only work for one specific niche, let’s say you specialize in building funnels for infopreneurs, go and join the groups where those folks hang out. Offer some free advice, bring value and push your name to the community without being too sleazy and those leads will come.
With the permission of the conference host, you can stand outside the meeting room and down just a bit (away from the registration table) as attendees come in. Take a camera and a friend who is willing to costume up in something related to the niche of the attendees. Offer to take photos of them with the “mascot” and then get an email address where you can send the photo for free. Most will think you are a part of the conference in some way.
Another variation is to print out the photo right there, give your elevator pitch and hand them your card.
You have to be outgoing and aggressive for this kind of activity. If you are truly an introvert, and don’t like the idea of approaching complete strangers, this will not work for you.
When you have a happy customer, ask them to recommend you to colleagues and friends who may need the type of services you provide. Did you know that 84% of solopreneurs earning over $100,000 per year receive the majority of the work through word of mouth and referrals?
You can scout for references both in person or offline. If you have joined LinkedIn groups related to your niche, you can easily show your expertise through conversations and get some leads. Alternatively, offer to guest post for someone more influential than you within this group and then ask for the recommendation/reference later.
Leverage your credibility and your skillset by getting a couple of leading industry certifications. Some of them are free. Others require you to pay a flat/subscription fee for obtaining your “diploma” and come with additional benefits such as getting a professional member page or getting listed on the platform’s specialists page. That means additional exposure to clients and more “bragging rights”. After all, whom would you chose - a regular Jack of all trades Johnny or Email Marketing Specialist Marion?
If you are a writer, consider Copyblogger Authority Program. If you are an online marketer, you can make your profile shine by getting a couple of inbound marketing certifications from Hubspot. And if you simply want to brush up your business management savvy, go for something like the SBU's online MBA program. Browse Udemy, Coursera and Lynda regularly for new offerings from top universities and speakers. They have a bunch of great e-courses designed for a variety of freelance niches.
Sometimes it’s easier to get a reputation locally and expand from there. If you don’t live in a mid-sized city or larger, pick one close to you and focus on target there first. You can keep an online campaign going at the same time. Learn to think outside the box as you market yourself – it’s fun and can really pay off.
This article was first published by Abdullahi Muhammed on Forbes