Freelancing can be a great way to spread your entrepreneurial wings, build a portfolio, and tap into additional income streams. Thanks to project matching websites, like LinkedIn ProFinder and Upwork, today’s service-based entrepreneurs don’t have to look far to land their first project.
Freelancing allows you to set your own hours, focus on projects you’re passionate about, and enjoy entrepreneurial autonomy. By positioning yourself as a member of the ever-growing gig economy, freelancers can explore self-employment without the extensive financial outlay new businesses typically require.
Here are three tips for developing a career as a freelancer:
Don’t be afraid to go niche.
Newbie freelancers often try to offer too many services to too many people, overlooking the potential that niche offerings can provide to their business. While there are lots of freelancers in the market, you can distinguish yourself and your services from the competition by providing highly specialized services.
Instead of casting a wide net into the deep ocean, focusing your freelancing services within a niche or specialized service is like fishing for a specific type of fish with the right kind of bait, from the right place, and at the right time of day. Focusing your work within a narrower sector provides higher accuracy in landing ideal clients.
Message to your target market.
Before posting your first ad, it’s important to identify your target market — who you’d consider a dream client. Maybe you want to build mobile websites for clients in the health care industry. Maybe your target market is mommy bloggers looking to outsource technical services. Identify and define who you want to work with (AKA your target market), and consider what type of messaging and ad placement will appeal to them.
Running Facebook ads can be a great way to drum up new business. However, it’s wasted money if your target market doesn’t see the ads or doesn’t respond to them. By customizing your marketing and public relations strategy to the needs and preferences of your target market, you can maximize your profit while minimizing the headache that comes from working with clients who aren’t a good fit.
Prioritize the collection of client testimonials.
A freelancer’s most influential marketing strategy is the testimonials of satisfied clients, who willingly vouch for the freelancer’s capability and professionalism. By prioritizing the collection of client testimonials, freelancers gain a valuable asset that can be showcased online and in print materials to help generate new business.
Don’t be bashful about requesting written testimonials following a successful project — contact clients directly, detail your request, and consider providing an easy to use a link for clients to submit reviews (either to a specific freelancing site or online form). Specify what you need (for example: three to five sentences detailing the project scope and client satisfaction), how you will use it (where the testimonial might be posted) and when you need it (within 30 days is always a reasonable timeline).
Freelancing done right can be a great way to provide additional income streams and get your entrepreneurial feet wet while minimizing risk. Don’t be afraid to go niche, focus messaging to your target market, and prioritize the timely collection of client testimonials to turn your freelancing dreams into a reality. Through the development of a successful freelancing strategy, today’s military spouse professional can experience the entrepreneurial freedom provided by freelancing.