We often talk about the ruthlessness you need to run a startup, but in freelancing, you also need to be uncompromisingly dedicated.
One of the main things freelancers struggle with, though, is the “freedom” fallacy. You’ve probably been told how easy it is to make your own schedule, be your own boss, and work on many exciting projects.They ring true until the emails start trickling in and there’s no longer space in your calendar to slot in “time for the boys”.
Today on this post, we’re running through a few ways you can set your freelancing career in motion; whether you’re a copywriter, Art Director, or Graphic Designer.
1. Network Like crazy
This is the time to start reaching out to professionals in your field and potential clients in your area, and beyond. In this day and age, you don’t even have to get jobs from the city, or even the country you’re in. But it’s important to get in front of as many people as you can. Go to industry events. Attend conferences. Make calls. Send mailers directing people to your website. You need to get your name out there, you cannot just expect work to come to you. Freelancing is all about hustling for work, and it never ends.
You will also need a good set of business cards to hand out at these events. They don’t have to be fancy, but they should say something about you. Try and get cards that are on good quality card stock, and have something memorable about them.
2. Create a website…fast
You cannot rely on a physical portfolio anymore. It’s dated, and costly to mail to people.
No, the only way to get your work in front of as many people as possible it through a website. Fortunately, you do not need one ounce of web design knowledge to do it. You can set up a simple website within few minutes using WordPress.
You can also go one step further and buy a domain name for yourself. Hopefully, your own name is available. If you have a very common name, that’s not going to happen. So, think of another memorable name.
3. Get ready for clients by creating an information packet
Besides a solid website, you may also need a print information packet. These days, it’s really not necessary, and can be costly. However, some clients are old-fashioned and want a leave-behind. This could also become a mailer, which used to be the way to get work. Now that everything is online, a mailer could make you stand out from the crowd.
First off, design a simple letterhead that you’ll use throughout your packet pages. You’re trying to land a freelancing project, not get a job in a stationery store. So don’t go into elaborate detail on your design.
Bottom line: Clients want to find out what you can do for them. They’re not going to call you because you used a Helvetica font over Arial.
Include pricing information, what you guarantee (if anything), turnaround time and your general procedure over several pages. Sure, you really don’t have a general procedure just yet. But you will soon and clients need to know how you’re going to work with them.
4. If you don’t have samples, get busy with spec work
Well, this is going to make your life tough. But, it’s not impossible. After all, we all have to start somewhere. This is when spec work becomes invaluable. Take a look at a print ad in your favorite magazine, or a current online campaign. If you’re looking for copywriting work, rewrite the ad. If you’re seeking graphic design projects, create this ad with different graphics.
This tells a prospective client you have a creative mind, despite your lack of credits. Plenty of people have made it in this business with nothing but sample ads in their portfolio prior to their first project.
Be sure to drop your thoughts in the comments section below!