Freelancing is the newest alternative for working from home. What’s not to love? No traffic, work in your PJ’s, hanging out on Facebook all day, watch Coronation Street, test new recipes, oh and maybe slip in some work in-between.
Ok, it’s not all that, but in a utopian world…
Businesses are looking for an alternative to having on site staff and there is literally a whole world to compete against. At one time you were competing against 100 people for that admin job, today you’re competing against 1,000 or more. How are you going to stand out?
Your future clients are looking for professional freelancers that can rely on, professionals who can deliver great results. Many are seeking niche skills such as medical transcription and billing, social media management, content writing, etc.
Brand yourself. We’re not talking a cow brand unless you are skilled in doing that and can do it “virtually” :-) Branding is the way people will recognize you and your business and consistency is the key. Nike has it’s swoosh, McDonald’s has it’s golden arches, “That was easy” is the current Staples catchphrase. Showcase your work and show you are an authority in your area and can be relied upon.
Create your online presence. Your website, blog, Twitter or Facebook profiles should all have the same theme, this will help people identify you and establish your brand. Don’t just retweet what you’re reading, create your own tweets, offer tips and tricks that you know will help someone but keep them coming back for more. LinkedIn is a great networking site and allows you to create your profile, network with others you may never have met otherwise, join groups related to your industry, market for new clients.
Be available, but not too available. Set your hours and keep to them. There will always be exceptions to the rule but if you don’t establish your schedule you’ll find yourself missing deadlines, overlapping schedules and eventually burn yourself out.
Create a portfolio. Many clients want to review what you have created in the past. This is your time to shine. Go through all of your work and pick out the best examples that showcase your skills.
Grow your contacts and network as much as you can. Look for brown-bag seminars at your local business development office. Talk to friends and family and ask them to suggest potential clients or to help spread the word about your service.
Starting any business can be intimidating, it will take time and lots of effort on your part. Just remember to present yourself with confidence and prove to your clients you are reliable and capable of helping them grow their business.
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