More and more agencies are hiring freelancers rather than employees nowadays. That is really good news for anyone who’s freelancing. At the same time, though, the number of freelancers worldwide is over 1.1 billion and growing, so there is a lot of competition.
No matter what freelance niche you’re in, you will probably experience quite a bit of this competition. So how can you stand out from other freelancers in your niche, be noticed by agencies and get freelance clients?
Keep reading and you’ll learn nine ways that you can stand out from the crowd, get freelance clients and find freelance jobs that you want.
Connections, both personal and business, can be very important and powerful in the freelance world.
When you’re just starting out as a freelancer and want to get freelance clients, knowing someone who could hire you means you could get off to a very good start. And when you’re already freelancing, you’ll be making new connections all the time, which can mean more clients and more work.
Don’t be shy about letting people know you’re freelancing when you’re just starting out. They may have some work for you right then or in the future. If they don’t, they might know someone who does. Once your freelance career is off the ground, keep in touch with your clients, whether via email, text or social media. Let them know you’re available to handle more work for them.
Good connections with the right people can take you far in your freelance career and help you find freelance jobs that are right for you. So be proactive about creating these connections and, once you’ve got them, don’t lose them.
While existing connections with people you already know are an excellent way to open doors and get hired as a freelancer, making new connections by networking is also very effective.
The perfect place to make new connections by networking is on social media. Many freelancers have at least one social media profile on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. So get on social media if you aren’t already.
Be sure to use discretion in what you post. Don’t mix business with pleasure. You don’t want to lose a potential client because they don’t agree with your personal life or your political views or whatever else you may share on your personal social media accounts. It’s probably best to create a separate social media profile for your freelance business in addition to any profiles you may already have for your personal life.
A higher level of networking is in-person networking. This takes more effort and is much less common than online networking. It’s those very factors, though, that make this type of networking more valuable.
There is nothing as personal as meeting and talking face to face with people. So go to any in-person conferences you can find that are relevant for you. Meet as many people there as you can. If you discover you live near one or more people you’ve connected with online, suggest you go offline to get together for coffee or drinks.
When you meet someone in person, especially if you end up really connecting and liking each other, you’re going to be at the top of the list when they’re thinking about freelancers they can hire or recommend to be hired
3. Keep in touch
Once you’ve got those connections – both old and new, both online and in person – don’t let them go. Keep them.
This doesn’t mean you have to be in frequent contact with all of them. Follow their social media accounts and interact from time to time. Some day they may mention a freelance opportunity you otherwise never would have heard of. Since you’re already in their network, you can easily reach out and respond to them about it.
Stay in closer touch with people with whom you’ve made a deeper connection. Send them an email or text when something comes up that might interest them or be of value to them. If you have a question about something they’re an expert in, ask them.
Keeping in touch with the people you’ve met in your line of freelance work both online and offline can open doors that you otherwise may never have even known existed.
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4. Burn no bridges
You not only want to keep in touch with your connections, you also don’t want to burn any bridges with any of them.
Maybe you’ll have a disagreement with someone at some point. Maybe someone will promise you something and then end up not delivering. Maybe you’ll meet someone online who you really like, then you meet them offline only to discover that you really don’t like them in person. Whatever the case, don’t cut off communication entirely with that person. You never know what opportunities could still arise.
Now, this is different from someone intentionally doing harm to you personally or to your freelance business. Sometimes you may need to burn a bridge to save yourself. This is fortunately pretty rare, though. Most of the time burning bridges is something you want to avoid.
5. Project confidence
Most freelancers work online and usually never meet their clients in person. Because of this, it may seem that self-confidence is not all that important when you’re a freelancer. But it really actually is.
Anyone hiring a freelancer is going to want them to be confident in themselves and their work. It can be difficult to determine someone’s confidence level through communications on freelance job search websites, email or social media. But you very well may be meeting the people who hire you face-to-face in a virtual interview or in virtual meetings. You may be speaking to them on the phone from time to time. Then they’re definitely going to be able to tell if you’re confident or not.
Confidence is also very important for in-person and even online networking. People are going to more favorably remember a freelancer who’s confident in themselves and be more likely to hire or recommend them over a freelancer who’s not so confident.
You need confidence not only for those person-to-person interactions but also to successfully meet any challenges that may arise in your work. Confidence makes it a lot easier to do everything, not only in work but in all areas of life.
So if you struggle with self-confidence, work on it. Make developing more confidence a priority. Read up on how to gain confidence. Take an online confidence-building course.
The more confident you are in yourself, the more confident people will be in you and your abilities. You’ll be able to stand out from the crowd of less-confident freelancers and more easily find freelance jobs and get freelance clients.
6. Build a good reputation
When you’re an employee of a company, your reputation is very important. When you’re a freelancer, your reputation is not only very important – it is frequently public knowledge.
When clients hire you from a freelance job search site, they’ll be able to leave public ratings and reviews of you and your work. Then when people do an online search for a freelancer in your niche, or when they do an internet search for your name, they’ll be able to see right away what your clients have said about you.
You’re going to want five-star ratings and reviews on every job search site from which you’re hired. Negative reviews – or even anything less than five-star reviews – can mean the loss of a lot of business.
When you find freelance work outside of job search sites, you’re going to want your clients to give you rave testimonials. Then you’ll showcase those testimonials on your own freelance blog so future clients can read them and hire you.
When you’re freelancing online, your professional reputation is online too. So always keep in mind not only the work you’re doing but what you want your clients to say about your work.
7. Know where to find freelance jobs
Where you will find work as a freelancer depends a lot on what type of work you do.
There are dozens – perhaps even hundreds – of freelance job search sites out there in the world. No two are alike.
Some of these freelance job sites are specific to a certain type of freelance work. Others are specific to a certain country. Some job search sites welcome all freelancers to create profiles and search for clients, while other job search sites are more exclusive and open to freelancers who already have a lot of experience.
You’ll need to do some research to learn what job sites are best for you and your type of work, your location and your level of experience. Look for freelance clients in the right places and you’ll be able to find work faster and easier than if you’re looking in places that aren’t right for you.
8. Create a good place for clients to find you
When you’re new to freelancing – and even when you’re not so new – you’ll likely be looking for clients rather than clients looking for you.
However, you still should create a place for potential clients to find you, learn about you and your skills, and hire you. This place will be a freelance blog or website.
A freelance website will contain information about you and your freelance skills – copywriting, graphic design, website design, social media marketing…the list goes on – along with your contact information and testimonials from clients who were happy with your work.
A freelance blog will contain all of that plus a blog section where you’ll publish blog posts relevant to your freelance niche. Those blog posts will serve two purposes: they’ll help potential clients see that you have knowledge of your freelance niche, and they’ll potentially increase your visibility in search engine rankings so even more clients can find you.
It’s not that hard to create your own freelance blog or website. Spend some time doing this, and you’ll be able to get freelance clients and find freelance jobs simply by being visible and reachable on the internet.
9. Implement SEO
Creating your own freelance blog or website brings us to SEO, or search engine optimization.
You should spend a little time learning and implementing search engine optimization. Good SEO will make it possible for your site to show up when potential clients do internet searches. SEO may sound pretty intimidating – and indeed there is a lot to know about it – but it doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort to learn some basic SEO rules.
There are many, many online articles about how to use SEO to optimize your website. When searching for information, don’t rely on just anyone’s advice. Read some of the articles that the experts at Google have written about optimizing your site. Also read what other reliable SEO experts have to say.
Implementing good SEO on your freelance site can help it rank high on internet searches, bringing clients to you who otherwise may never have found you.
When you’re freelancing there will probably be a lot of competition for work, but you can absolutely stand out from other freelancers in your niche, get freelance clients and find freelance jobs. Implement the advice in this article, and you will be the freelancer the agency chooses. After a while, you won’t need to look for work anymore – all of your business will be from repeat clients or new clients who come to you.
Sabina Lohr has always freelanced, in a variety of freelance careers, then created WorldofFreelancers.com to help other people learn how to freelance too. With World of Freelancers she shows people the many opportunities that exist to work for yourself so you can have job security and shares tips about how to fully enjoy the freelance lifestyle.