Congratulations! You've taken the plunge and decided to test your skills in the world of freelancing. Sharing that you're freelancing is an excellent way to network and let people know the services that you're offering.
One of the main reasons I'd recommend sharing with your network that you're freelancing is to build a clientele or to have people keep you in the back of your mind for potential future opportunities. One of the main challenges freelancers encounter is having a steady pipeline of clients. Even if you have scored retainer contracts, diversifying your workload is a way to make sure all of your eggs aren't in one basket. Having more clients asking for your services is another way to experiment with raising your rates. For example, if your current clients are paying you $50 an hour and you get another client to agree to $75 an hour, you can go back to your existing client and have them match the rate, or transition to the higher paying client.
In this article, we'll explore the different ways of sharing your freelancing service with your network and beyond to increase your existing and future clientele.
LinkedIn is the most obvious choice for sharing that you're now freelancing. If freelancing is your side hustle you can simply update your profile to include a new position at either your freelancing company name or as 'Self Employed'. Within the description section layout the services that you're offering. Are you an SEO consultant? Right out the types of deliverables you've executed upon and any results you've had from previous clients or previous positions. If you're in paid media, share which platforms you specialize in and the types of clients you like to work with (eCommerce, LeadGen, SMBs, etc).
Facebook / Instagram
Using other social media platforms to share that you're making a transition to freelancing is another good method of self-promotion. It helps reach more people than just your colleagues, and oftentimes more people are engaged on social media channels outside of LinkedIn.
As the demographic is slowly shifting where older generations are using Facebook and younger generations are using Instagram, I'd recommend targeting both platforms. I'm connected with many of my parent's friends on Facebook, many of who are business owners that have struggled with making the transition to digital. Many people are looking for your specific services or have been thinking about it, but don't know where to start.
Creating an UpWork portfolio and account is another way to show what services you're offering as a freelancer. On UpWork, companies are able to search for freelancers to find one who fits their specific needs. Although it's less common for companies to find you instead of creating a request for proposal on the website, it's a great first start and can allow you to begin to apply for work on the platform.
UpWork takes a portion of the profits you make, so I'd recommend trying to find clients outside the platform at first if possible.
Many online communities exist for freelancers. From Facebook groups, to coworking groups, there are often opportunities to share your services and the transition that you are making. Joining these is helpful outside of just announcing what you're doing but provides a place to ask questions, learn from other's challenges, find new tools, and connect with local freelancers.
To learn more about finding different communities, check out our blog Finding Freelancing Communities.
Creating a Website
I wouldn't say this is the highest priority step for new freelancers unless your in a field like design where people hiring you want to see a portfolio of what you've built. If you want to create a website so that people can easily access your services and background. Platforms like SquareSpace or Wiz allow you to create landing pages that are aesthetically pleasing and at a low price.
Are You Concerned About Freelancing When You Have a Full Time Position?
Some people may be nervous to publicly announce that they're taking on freelancing clients because they have full-time roles with other companies. Some companies have contracts that require their employees don't take on any additional work, while others worry that their bosses won't think they're doing enough, or the additional time should be spent on their full-time jobs. If you find yourself concerned about this, one way you can approach this is by sending out an email to friends, family, and colleagues.
This can include the work that you've been doing, what you're transitioning to, if you're looking for new clients, etc.
So where to go from here? Out of all of these suggestions I'd recommend choosing what resonates with you the most. All of these don't need to be done in order to be successful in announcing your freelancing services and building a clientele, but starting with some of these can provide a great start to get the wheels churning. As you continue your freelancing career, continuing to post about exciting projects and win's you've had with your clients is another great opportunity to keep people thinking of you and help spread word of mouth.
Hopefully as you continue to execute on projects your clients will recommend you to other people they know and your clientele will organically grow.