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A sign that reads “social media” with colorful patterns for each letter.

How I Built my Freelance Career via Social Media

Chelsea BradleyChelsea Bradley
Chelsea Bradley
Chelsea Bradley

I have been working as a social media strategist since 2008, and a full time freelancer/contractor/consultant since 2010. 

I’ve always been one to want to help someone when they’re not doing something the best they could be and it’s an easy fix for me. That’s how I approach freelancing. Most businesses knew they needed it, but didn’t know how to do it or weren’t doing it very well themselves. 

I get my clients both online and offline. 

When local businesses I enjoy are not covering the basic essentials on social, I find a way to work that into conversation and ultimately land them as a client. 

I am often approached through Twitter, LinkedIn and because of word of mouth referrals from followers, colleagues, former clients and people I meet at conferences for freelance and contract work.

Marketing Twitter is the community you didn’t know you needed 

I don’t actively state that I am a freelancer (no harm in doing so) or for hire (other than my bio), my tweets and work speak for themselves. I’ve been told by more than a handful of people “your Twitter is the best resume, are you available for additional work?”

Before I moved across the country, I picked up 2 freelance clients and was offered 2 full time jobs simply because of my presence on Twitter. I didn’t ask for the clients or apply for the jobs - I showcase consistent marketing flaws and advice. 

At one point, I was a full time freelancer for 2 agencies, and had my own clients.  I essentially had 3 full time jobs at once, but when you’re working in social, have the drive and love what you do, it’s possible. I don’t recommend filling your plate that much, but I made a lot of money and never missed a deadline.

In addition to building an authentic presence on social media, follow these tips to level up your freelance career:  

  • Know your worth: what do you need to survive annually and break that down into an hourly rate in which you will keep in mind when scoping projects and contracts. 
  • Hourly vs retainer: I prefer to work on a retainer and not have to track my hours. You will charge more than an average hourly employee because it covers your admin expenses, taxes, healthcare etc. 
  • Create 3 lists: 1) Services you’re comfortable offering. 2) Skills you need to perfect and want to learn. 3) Services you’re better off outsourcing. (I have website and video guys)
  • Agree on payment terms that don’t mess with your well being: I have no problem requesting that I am paid on or by the 1st of each month. I am a freelancer and my income comes from several different places.
  • Be social:  Being active on social in your personal life is essential to staying up to date with platform updates and changes. 

Stop hesitating and just do it! 

I am a writer, I could write about this for 10,000 more words. Please reach out to me on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn


by
Chelsea Bradley
Chelsea is a social media marketing veteran and freelancer of 12+ years. She is a passionate storyteller, strategic thinker and skilled communicator with a track record of leading and growing social communities. Chelsea has a firm belief that brands need a real, human presence on social media and should always be connecting with consumers - not pushing out content and walking away. She often tweets what you’re thinking but afraid to say on her Twitter. When she’s not enjoying all that social media has to offer, she’s on her boat on the Pacific Ocean hanging out with and photographing whales - check out her Instagram.

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