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reading a digital marketing book to get started freelancing

6 Expert Tips for Getting Started with Freelance Marketing

Eddie CarrilloEddie Carrillo
Eddie Carrillo
Eddie Carrillo

Effective marketing is not just “nice-to-have”. It’s needed for businesses—both large and small—to stay competitive in the market and build better relationships with their customers. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic, companies aren’t quitting on their marketing. They’re adapting and reconfiguring their strategies.

This is good news for you. Freelance marketing can be a highly practical and lucrative career—if you take the right steps. The field in 2020 is loaded with sub-categories, including:

  • Social Media 
  • SEO
  • Paid Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Digital Analytics
  • Graphic Design
  • Consulting

But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a jack of every trade beneath the marketing umbrella for your freelance career to be successful. In fact, it’s better than you aren’t. While it’s important to have a foundational understanding across all different areas of marketing, it’s much more beneficial to specialize in just a couple. And this leads me to my first tip.

Find Your Niche

Content marketing and digital analytics are both critical in a comprehensive marketing strategy. But it’s highly unlikely that any organization enlists the same person to perform both of these roles. Are you more creative or do you like digging your fingers into data and tracking campaign performance?

Potential clients are seeking experts, which means that identifying where you can effectively position yourself as an expert will lead to a more fruitful freelance career. Look at it this way: Would you rather hire someone who is kind of good at everything or a proven authority in the area you need the most?

Locate Beginner-Friendly Jobs

This can be the most difficult part. But according to Upwork, the freelancing industry in the United States accounts for over $1 trillion of income every year, making it a larger part of the economy than construction. This means a whole lot of jobs are sitting there waiting for you.

There are several different places you can look to get started:

  • Freelance websites, like Upwork or Fiverr: These are online job boards catered to freelancers. If you don’t have a strong portfolio, you can find smaller gigs to build that portfolio and continually increase the level of projects and clients you get.
  • Facebook Groups: Here are ten different Facebook groups for freelancers. These are communities that uplift fellow freelancers and provide information related to potential work.
  • Social Media: Post on LinkedIn about your freelance services. Make sure your bio states that you’re a freelance marketer. Social media is a powerful tool for connecting to prospective clients and getting the word out about how you can be of benefit to businesses seeking marketing help.

Have Flexible Rates

Don’t undersell yourself or your work when reaching out to prospective clients, but make sure that you aren’t as rigid as a rock when it comes to negotiation, especially when starting out. Go into meetings with a figure prepared but be open-minded in regard to final pay. Building a relationship with a client that pays more over time is more valuable than not pursuing a project because it was slightly under your goal rate.

Be a Forever Student

The digital marketing world is evolving rapidly. Even if digital isn’t necessarily your specialty, ensure that you’re staying up to date with trends and know which skills are most in-demand. Here are some valuable resources for continually learning and improving skills:

Get Referrals

There are no bigger advocates than happy clients. When you start getting your projects completed, don’t be afraid to ask your clients if they have any contacts that could also benefit from your freelance services. The chances are that they know someone. Leverage the contacts you already have to find new clients and avoid spending hours cold emailing and scanning job boards. 

Operate Like A Business

Freelancing 101: You are your own business. Ensure that you treat yourself like one.

Operating like a business—and treating yourself accordingly—is a more sustainable mindset than thinking of yourself as solely a freelance marketer. Freelancers take one-off gigs and make money here and there. But a business owner ensures that their clients think of them when in need of help. Having a growth mindset will prevent you from plateauing early on and instead keep you growing—and excited—about the freelance marketing business you’re good at.

Freelance Marketing Isn’t Going Away

It’s an exciting time to become a freelance marketer. Freelance work ranges from social media management to blog post writing to digital marketing and a whole bunch more. Pick your path and run with it—you’ve got a lot ahead of you as a new business owner.

Eddie Carrillo
Eddie began freelancing part-time in August 2020. He got a bachelor's degree in Economics, but working as a consultant taught him that his passion was not in finance, but in writing. Getting started with freelancing can come with a lot of question marks, so he loves writing for other freelancers to help them get their feet in the door and build their businesses. Eddie grew up near San Diego, California, but recently spent a couple years in Madrid, Spain. He's now headed to San Francisco, where he works for Strava as a copywriter.

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