It’s never been a better time to become a freelance marketer. There are a number of factors that have been driving more employees than ever before to turn, sometimes permanently, away from traditional 9-5 jobs.
The COVID-19 pandemic left huge amounts of working Americans without jobs and in desperate need of an income.
Calls for employees to leave their homes and return back to offices have led more employees to question how they really want to be spending their workday.
Technology is making it so that workers no longer have to be tied down to one physical location to make a living.
Whether you’re testing the waters and still working in a full-time role or plunging head-first into the world of full-time freelancing, one of the most important skills you need to learn as soon as possible is how to find your first freelance marketing projects.
These seven tips will help put you one step closer to receiving your first signed agreement as a marketing freelancer.
1. Discover & Lean Into Your Niche
When you’re brand new to freelancing, one of the first things you need to do is decide what kind of work and services you want to offer to clients in need.
An average freelancer might decide to focus on a specific specialization like content creation, email marketing, or Facebook ads.
But if you really want to stand out and create demand as a freelance marketer, you need to go deeper by centering your work around a specific niche.
For example, you might decide to create content for CBD brands. Or, maybe you want to design email marketing programs for NFT startups. Or, perhaps you know based on your past experience that you can help subscription box startups run successful Facebook ad campaigns.
Picking a niche can help you differentiate from other freelance marketers and make it easier for prospective clients to find you.
Not sure which niche is right for you? Read through this helpful article on how to find your niche as a freelancer. It’s written by Benten Woodring for a publication called Better Marketing.
2. Ask Your Network for Help
When you’re new to freelancing, it’s important to recognize the power and value of your network.
As soon as you have landed on a niche and you have a good idea of what kind of services you want to offer as a freelance marketer, you should reach out to your network.
Whether you realize it or not, you likely already have a strong network of people that could connect you with prospective clients who need your services.
For most people, that existing network includes people that fall into one of the following groups:
1. Family members
2. Friends outside of work
3. Industry friends
4. Past employers
5. Past coworkers
When you’re ready to take on freelance clients, you need to reach out to people within these groups, tell them what you’re doing, and ask them to introduce you to people who might be interested in working with you.
Making this ask can feel uncomfortable for some people—one of the biggest mistakes new freelancers make is thinking that they can and should build their businesses completely on their own.
But referrals from the people who know you best are powerful. They can go a long way in helping you land your first freelance clients.
Want help crafting your message to your network? Take a look at this article on how to ask for referrals the right way. It’s written by Adrian Obar for a publication called PulseBlueprint.
3. Join a Freelancer Marketplace
Joining a freelance network or freelancer marketplace can be a great way to launch into your freelance career and land your first clients.
Freelancer marketplaces like GrowTal take time to learn about your skills, experience, and the type of projects you’re looking for so they can connect you with the right clients.
Joining a freelancer network is a good option if you don’t want to worry about generating leads and hunting for new business.
These platforms also usually take care of some of the tedious back-office tasks like client invoicing that take you away from what you do best.
Want more tips on how to interact with freelance marketplaces? Check out this helpful article on how to navigate a freelance marketplace and get clients. It’s written by Mike Demo for GoDaddy.
4. Build a Personal Brand Website
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to build a website around your personal brand that prospective clients can find.
Ideally, you already own a domain name that incorporates your own name (i.e. YourName.com) or your business name (i.e. YourBusinessName.com).
Having this website is important because it often acts as the first impression people will get when they go searching for you.
Your website should include:
- A photo and bio that helps people learn more about who you are and what you do
- A portfolio that illustrates examples of past work you’ve done as an FTE or freelancer
- A list of the services you provide to clients and your pricing
- A blog where you can publish valuable content under your own name
- A contact form or button that makes it easy for people to reach you
The thought of building a website from scratch can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before, but thankfully there are a lot of tools out there that make it easy, like Webflow, Squarespace, and WordPress.
5. Start Participating Consistently on LinkedIn
To become a successful freelance marketer, you need people in and out of your network to become more aware of who you are and what you can do for them.
That’s where LinkedIn comes into play for most freelance marketers.
A smart freelancer will use LinkedIn to promote their business and their services, create original thought leadership content related to their niche, and engage with prospective clients who might want to hire them in the future.
To make LinkedIn worthwhile, you have to make time for it.
That means carving out a block of time every day to publish updates, comment on other posts from people in and out of your network, and send connection requests to people you want to help.
Not sure where to start? Read this article that offers actionable tips on how to use LinkedIn to find a job as a freelancer. It’s written by Adam Enfroy for CopyBlogger.
6. Watch Job Boards & LinkedIn Job Posts
While you’re on LinkedIn, you should also keep an eye on the opportunities that get posted to the Jobs section of the website.
You can also use the search functionality on LinkedIn to search for keywords like “freelance marketer” or “freelance writer” to find posts written by business professionals looking to hire someone like you.
It’s also worth checking out other job boards, especially if you can find ones that relate specifically to your niche or area of expertise.
For example, SEOjobs.com sources & curates job openings from thousands of businesses & agencies around the world looking for marketers who specialize in SEO.
Use these sites as another lead generation channel for your freelance marketing business.
7. Be Consistent
The most important thing to remember as a new freelance marketer is to be consistent. Whatever your strategy is, stick with it.
Put the time and effort into networking regularly with people in your network and your industry.
Create new thought leadership content under your own name as often as you can.
Seek out networks and marketplaces that connect you to people and businesses that need your help.
You won’t become successful overnight, but you can build a sustainable freelance marketing business if you’re willing to invest in the right activities consistently over time.
Learn more about the power of consistency in business by reading this Inc Magazine article by Eric Holtzclaw.
Getting your first freelance marketing project is easier when you take intentional steps like the ones outlined above. The only way to make it happen is to start. Good luck! You got this.