By: Maggie Aland – Staff Writer at Fit Small Business,
Many small business owners utilize freelancers. Businesses, regardless of industry, are always looking for writers, marketers, programmers, designers, accountants, and more — all of whom they can hire on a contractual basis.
The freelance economy is booming as it offers more freedom and flexibility than having a full-time career path. However, freelancing can be quite challenging especially if you are in a very competitive field. That’s why you have to make sure that you stand out among other freelancers. You can do this by looking more valuable and professional. Here are some tips to achieve that goal.
When you apply for a freelance position, employers usually research you online to see your previous work. Make sure what they find is something impressive and worthwhile. The better your online reputation is, the more jobs you’ll likely secure.
Here are 3 things to have in place to ensure a credible online presence:
Having your own website with your portfolio will instantly make you look more professional. Focus on your best clients and include examples of your previous work. Don’t simply put anything and everything you’ve ever done on your site. You might have some early projects that are not up to your current standards. Make sure to include your contact details and to keep your website updated regularly.
Almost all businesses have their own social media accounts, so you should, too. While creating a name for yourself can take time, building your presence on sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can help speed up the process. Use your social accounts to connect with potential clients across the globe. Like with your website, make sure that the information you share on your social accounts will help you build your reputation as a credible and experienced professional.
LinkedIn has become one of the most important websites for job searching. But don’t just create a profile, make sure to create a detailed and powerful one so you have better chances of standing out from the crowd.
Use a clear head-shot that makes you look professional and pleasant at the same time. Craft a compelling headline and use keywords related to your expertise. Showcase your experience by listing the best clients you’ve worked with as well as list a few of your invaluable work skills and accomplishments. Also, take the time to build quality connections and get recommendations from anyone you have worked with. Doing this will help make your LinkedIn profile stronger.
Developing a brand requires that you have a clear vision of your professional style as well as where you want to take your freelance work. Having a logo may not be a common practice among freelancers but this will help you in building your brand as an industry professional. There are plenty of free tools available online that can help turn your brand identity into visual art. After you developed your own brand and logo, you can print it on your business cards or use it to work alongside your portfolio.
Remember that your email address is a reflection of you. Every email you send can either build or detract from your reputation. So make sure to use a professional-looking email address like email@example.com. You will definitely appear more credible when you reach out to potential clients using an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com. Plus, creating a business email is free and easy to do, so there’s no excuse not to have one.
Using an email signature will also help you make a good impression. Plus, it’s a great way to promote yourself and your services. Add your contact details such as your phone number, links to your social media profiles, and website. This will provide your potential clients with plenty of options to connect with you and will give them the impression that you take your profession seriously.
Have previous customers write reviews that you can post on your website or on freelance sites. This will help boost your credibility and establish trust. Testimonials work because they are not strong sales pitches and they are given by unbiased voices. Using real people to show the quality of your service is an effective way to prompt potential clients to contact you. If possible, add an image next to your client’s testimonial. It will help your prospects feel more secure and confident in the review.
Contracts provide not only protection for you and your client, but they also a provide a great way to build trust and manage expectations. Defining what’s expected of you and your client in writing will ensure that both parties will be happy at the end of the project. Prepare a well-written contract before you start any job. You don’t need a legal professional to draft a contract. Determine what works for you and write it yourself. Make sure to include details on pricing, payment method, copyrights, revision terms, deadlines, etc. Be as specific as possible.
Having this kind of formalized agreement will not only prevent awkward confrontation down the line, but will ultimately help create a more professional image for yourself.
Being a freelancer can be both a liberating and overwhelming experience. It’s not enough that you do what you do well, you also need to project yourself in a professional light so that your prospects will choose you over your competitors. But just like with other things, a combination of good practices and determination will help you succeed.
Maggie Aland is a staff writer for Fit Small Business, a website that provides small business owners with information to help their businesses succeed. She writes on a variety of marketing topics, ranging from newspaper ads to how to market your business on Facebook. Before joining Fit Small Business, Maggie worked as a marketing associate at a niche publishing company.
Glenn Carter is a sharing economy expert and is sharing his passion for side income through new digital platforms with his readers.