As an aspiring freelancer, soon to be cast adrift from corporate life, I’ve obviously been taking all opportunities to get advice on promoting my services and attracting clients. Three great posts have come to light in the past couple of weeks:
- First up, Andy Budd lists 7 Habits of a Highly Successful Freelance Web Designer – some great tips, and ones I shall be keeping in mind for my own career development.
- Andy also raises some interesting questions in his Blogging For Business and Pleasure article. One way to raise your profile in the web sphere is to blog regularly, and whilst it might not attract huge numbers of clients beating down your door (depending on their tech-savvy research), it can certainly pay dividends in terms of securing freelance work with other design companies, for instance. Andy employs freelancers on a regular basis, and says:
By building your reputation as an expert, people will be happy using your services and recommending you to others. Blogging is a particularly good way of doing this and is something I highly recommend. When looking for a new freelancer I’ll get a much better sense of their interests and abilities though their blog than I’d ever get from reading a resume.
- One of Andy’s recommendations is to get a killer portfolio. On this theme, Jeff Veen gives us Five Steps to a Better Design Portfolio. Again, lots of good advice from people that have been there and done it (and done it very well).
Back to the networking theme…
I’ve just attened a two-day workshop, run by Penna, which helps people with their career transitions – what a nice way of saying “redundancy”, LOL. One statistic to come out of that was the fact that only 10-20% of new appointments are actually filled via advertised recruitment – the rest come from personal recommendations or individuals targeting the right people with their resumes. I was really surprised by how low that figure was, but our course leader pointed out that most people will spend their energies concentrating on this 20% and completely ignore the other 80% of, albeit hidden, opportunities.
Networking in a formal, business sort of environment has always struck me as particularly dull, but I’ve had a great time at recent geek events, chatting over a beer, and getting to know people. Now that sort of networking, I could really get to enjoy!
And of course, it’s not a case of bounding up to people and saying “gizza job!” – oh, no. The seeds might be planted now, but the rewards might not be reaped for months or even years. It’s a long term bet, but one in which it’s well worth investing.
Great post. With this you make me more stronger to pursue my freelance career… i have one question though i know you will laugh at this one and say.. another question…. hehehe
well my question… where dyu get your first project? and how are you looking for projects now? how do you schedule your activities?
Thanks for your comments.
There are many ways to get your first project. Perhaps you could volunteer to make a site for a local charity or group. Prospective clients will want to see some of your work first, so this can be a good way to build your portfolio with non-paid work.
Alternatively, make a project for yourself, to showcase your work. This is how I started out, and as many of the jobs I have done in work are on intranets, there is not the possibility that clients can see sites I’ve done. So I put together two sites for myself:
http://www.cazphoto.co.uk and http://www.rugbpyix.com.
Looking for new clients is always a challenge – word of mouth recommendations can be great, but you have to build some momentum with the people you know.
Scheduling is again, a matter of how much time you have and what’s the highest priority. Always build in some contingency time in your quotes, in case things take longer than you think!
Good luck in your freelance career!