Did you know that 59 million Americans had a freelance business in 2020? That’s equivalent to 36% of the country’s workforce! And that percentage is forecasted to hit 50.9% by 2027. Meaning it’s a crowded workplace, and it’s only going to get busier.
Here’s the problem: Your success as a freelancer depends not on how good you are at your job, but your employment is dependent on your ability to market yourself successfully.
So, you need a way to stand out from the crowd and make the right impression to land those gigs. Only then can you collect glowing testimonials and prove yourself as the go-to professional in your niche. But once you do, you’ll have a marketable brand, and that’s the secret to your freelance business success.
Here are 6 ways to do it.
1. Create an Online Portfolio That Sells
Your freelance portfolio is a collection of past projects and examples of your work, providing tangible proof to future employers of your ability to fulfill their needs.
Ideally, it should contain your most recent and impressive work, examples that high-light your skills and expertise. You don’t need to include every gig you’ve ever done, as this will only confuse people. The idea is to include projects that are eye-catching and relevant to the niche you’re advertising to.
You should spend time crafting your portfolio and update it regularly, and many websites enable you to create one with ease. Here are some to consider are: Behance, Adobe Portfolio, Dribbble, Carbonmade, Coroflot, Crevado, Cargo, PortfolioBox
And write a short and informative backstory about each piece you include to provide readers with context about who you created it for and when. If possible, also add a link to your examples, as this will enforce trust and credibility.
Many portfolios also contain a biography, enabling you to provide your information, which helps establish a connection on a more personal level.
2. A Logo Is A Must
You might think that only brands need a logo, but here’s the thing, you are a brand. And every brand needs a professional logo design. Your logo is a crucial element when building your online appearance, as it creates consistency across all your advertising platforms. And it’s consistency that builds recognition, enabling you to stand out from your competitors.
Brands invest heavily in their logo designs because they know their importance in engaging viewers’ attention and connecting on numerous emotional levels. Your freelance advertising listings are no different; they must convey your professionalism and connect with your target audience.
Fortunately, you don’t have to invest large sums to create a logo. There are a bunch of online logo-making tools that enable you to create the perfect logo design for your brand yourself, without having to hire a designer or an agency to do it for you. They also tend to be quite easy to use, which is why they’re a great option for people who don’t necessarily have any design experience.
Once you’ve designed your logo, it’s time to create that all-important consistency, and you can do that using social media. Here’s how:
3. Build Your Social Media Presence
Social media is an essential freelance marketing tool, and for the most part, it’s free. And if you’re not using it to promote your services and establish your business, you’re immediately at a disadvantage to your competitors.
And while you should have a website and other ways of attracting clients, social media is the simplest way to reach a large audience, create a consistent online presence, and build a professional appearance. But you’ve got to be innovative and only choose social channels that are proven to work for your niche, saving you time and maximizing your efforts.
Tips for finding the proper channels:
- Define your target market
- Identify where they spend their time
- Research your competitors, see which platforms they’re using
- Determine which social media platform will give the best return
- Reassess regularly.
How to build consistency:
- Use a consistent username across all your platforms, one that relates directly to your freelance business
- Create visual branding with your logo, header, and cover image
- Use one color scheme throughout
- Include your portfolio
- Contact information
- Link to your website
- Links to any previous work
- A clear description of the service you offer
- Say you’re available for work
Always use one brand voice throughout your social media channels as this reinforces the consistency and shows your professionalism. And as with your portfolio, only post material that’s relevant to your niche and future clients.
Want people to open your emails? Do this:
4. Use A Business Email Address and Signature
Two simple but often overlooked ways of creating a professional appearance are using a business email address and creating an email signature that includes your logo and profile picture. Both help provide the impression that you’re a professional who cares about brand-ing and how you appear. And most importantly, show future clients that you’re serious about your profession and obtaining work.
A business email:
Rather than using a generic email address, set up a branded email address using your freelance name. For many freelancers, this will be their name (firstname.lastname@example.org), and that’s fine. You can create one using one of the following companies.
An email signature:
An email signature is another step in creating a consistent, professional brand ap-pearance. But it also establishes and reinforces who you are and is proven to in-crease open rates significantly.
Includes the following elements in yours:
- Your full name
- The freelance company name
- Contact information: email address, phone number, skype, etc.
- A link to your website
- All your social media profile links
5. Why You Need A Website
Regardless of your freelance business, a professional website is essential for creating the correct appearance and landing gigs. And as 93% of all online experiences begin with search engines, if you don’t have one, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity.
But a website is more than just a place where clients can find you. It enables you to showcase your work, communicate on a personal level, advertise previous clients, and of course, display important testimonials (more on those next).
Today’s websites are minimalistic in design, providing an enjoyable and easy UX (user experience), which is great for freelancers. You only need a four-five-page website for landing clients.
What to include in your website:
- A landing page with a description of who you are, what you offer, and a call to action
- An about me page
- A hire me page
- A testimonial page
The secret to a website that converts is the simplicity of use, one that talks to the clients about their needs, highlights your experience and previous work, and makes it easy for people to hire you.
6. Prove It with Client Testimonials
Testimonials drive online conversions because they provide unbiased opinions about your service and create the trust required for clients to choose you over your competitors by showing your credibility.
You can use them on your website and all your social media platforms, and there are now tools that help you obtain and display them. And always use your best projects as case studies to give potential clients a taste of what you can do.
You now know the steps you have to take to create a professional appearance and grow your freelance business, and they don’t take long to do. But if you put the effort in now, they’ll continuously reward you by advertising you in a way that ensures you stand out from the crowd and land the clients you need.