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How To Make Time For Marketing Your Freelance Business6 min read

April 28, 2017
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How To Make Time For Marketing Your Freelance Business6 min read

You’re completely buried under client work. You have so many projects in your pipeline, you feel like you can’t keep up.

During those hours you spend blurry-eyed and exhausted, cranking out assignment after assignment, there’s likely one thing you’re not worried about: marketing your freelance business.

Things are good right now. You have a revolving door of clients that are keeping you more than busy, so why would you need to concern yourself with finding new work?

But, as any freelancer will be quick to tell you, work can dry up just as fast as it seemed to arrive. One day you’re swamped, and the next day you’re staring at an empty inbox wondering if you’ll be able to afford to go to the grocery store that month.

Freelancing is notorious for this feast or famine sort of lifestyle. And, unfortunately, in those moments when you’re stuffed totally full from that deliciously rewarding feast, it becomes all too easy to forget about (and prepare for!) those moments of starvation.

Sure enough, they’ll arrive again. And, much like anybody, you’d rather be prepared than panicked.

It's important to market your #freelance business, even when you're busy with client work. Click To Tweet

This is why it’s important to actively market your freelance business and look for new leads—yes, even in those moments when you have more than enough work on your plate. Committing yourself to continuously promoting your business will help you build a solid pipeline of work and prospects that you can turn to when your seemingly endless buffet dries up.

But, when you’re so busy with client work, how can you give yourself the necessary time to market your business? Here are a few tips to help you consistently tackle this oh-so-important activity.

1. Schedule dedicated time

Predictability is your friend as a freelancer. So, one surefire way to make sure that you leave some time for marketing week after week is to work it into your regular schedule.

Perhaps you want to set aside an hour each morning. Or, maybe there’s a certain day each week—like Fridays, for example—when you’re feeling a little more unfocused and unmotivated. That could be a great day to switch gears and dedicate a few hours to searching for new clients and refining your business presence.

When and how much time you dedicate to marketing your business is up to you (although, I’d recommend an hour each week at the bare minimum!). The important thing is to block out some time in your calendar and then honor that as you would any other meeting or commitment. That way, you can rest assured that you’re prospecting and marketing on a consistent basis—regardless of what your current client load looks like.

Pro-tip: Track time spent on non-billable activities like new business prospecting and marketing projects as you would your billable work. At the end of the month, take a holistic look at where your time went, and specifically take note of which non-billable activities moved the needles, and which did not. Need help tracking time? AND CO offers an easy to-use mobile time-tracker to help you monitor these non-billable activities.

2. Keep a running list

You know how good ideas never seem to come to you when you need them? You’re desperate to come up with something and get moving. But, instead you draw a total blank and end up staring at that menacing blinking text cursor for a half hour.

Marketing your business can work this very same way. You know it’s an important thing to do. But, when that dedicated time you reserved rolls around, you’re left wondering, “Uhh… what exactly am I supposed to be doing?”

This is why it’s smart to keep a running list that you can lean on. I recommend keeping two different types of lists:

  • Prospective Clients: Whenever you stumble upon a website, social media profile, article, or anything else about a place that seems like it could be a good client, add it to your list! That way, when you have some time to cold pitch, you’ll already have some prospects to start with.
  • Marketing Activities: You’ve been meaning to revamp your website for ages. Or, you keep forgetting to update your Twitter profile to match your new brand. These are things you could do during your designated “marketing time”—if you remember you wanted to do them, that is. Keep these sorts of notes and reminders on a running list, and you’ll always have something to work on.

From Trello boards to Google Docs to good old fashioned pen and paper, there are plenty of methods you can use to keep these lists. Just make sure you keep them handy, and you’ll be able to leverage your marketing time to your advantage.

3. Set goals

Marketing your business can be a little discouraging—mostly because you don’t often see instant results. Sometimes, it takes a while for your efforts to really pay off.

For that reason, it’s helpful to set goals for your time spent marketing. Maybe you want to reach out to so many potential clients during that hour. Or, perhaps you finally want to update the “About” page on your website.

Stay motivated by setting goals for your time spent marketing your #freelance business. Click To Tweet

Each time you sit down with the intention of spending some time marketing your business, set a goal for yourself. Not only will that keep you focused on channeling your attention into the right things, but it’ll also give you a much-needed sense of accomplishment.

4. Evaluate what works

Dedicating some time to marketing each week is a step in the right direction. But, that alone won’t get you results—you want to make sure you’re spending your time on activities that will really make an impact. It’s important that you keep an eye on what’s working for you, and what isn’t.

For example, I used to spend some time posting updates and information about my work on Google+. But, I soon realized that I had almost no engagement on that platform, and that I was really only wasting my time. Similarly, I paid a monthly subscription for a listing on a website that targeted people who were looking for freelancers—a website I never got a single lead or client from.

Make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of continuing to do certain things simply because you’ve always done them. Keep an eye on what’s going well and what could use some adjustments. Narrowing your focus to the tasks that truly make a difference will give you much more impact, meaning your time marketing will be well spent.

Wrapping up

Even when things are going well in your freelance career, making the time to actively market your business and keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities is important for avoiding those dreadful famine phases that plague all freelancers.

But, it can be tough to strike a balance and find the necessary hours during those periods when you’re swamped with client work. Use these four key tips, and you’re sure to set aside that much-needed time for marketing your business.

Got any tips to share? Tell us in the comments below!

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Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer who has a real passion for helping other freelancers find the work they love and grow their businesses in the process. Her career, productivity, and self-development advice has been published by Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, Business Insider, Time, and Mashable. When she manages to escape the chains of her computer, she loves reading, baking, babying her rescued terrier mutt, pretending she's a runner, and talking her husband into yet another DIY home renovation.

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