Having a hard time getting a freelance job? Don’t worry, you just might be in the icy grip of a freelancing cold spell. While you’re putting together a gameplan to weather the storm, it’s not a bad idea to take the time to start thinking about how you can improve your value in the eyes of future clients.
We’re not saying that your work isn’t already awesome, but you occasionally update your wardrobe or get a haircut, don’t you? The same principle applies to your professional life. Here are a few ways to make yourself more appealing to potential clients, so you can emerge from your foxhole fresher than ever before:
Tailor Your Social Media to Fit Your Audience
A robust social media presence is your chance to show potential clients that you actually know what you’re talking about. Think for a moment— would you hire the person who emails you and says, “Yeah, I’m a pretty good web designer”, or the one who has a section of the web that backs up those claims? Keep in mind your audience and the kind of gigs you want, then make sure your personal social media accounts reflect that.
You might hear some self-proclaimed social media “gurus” talk about erring on the safe side, but it doesn’t always pay to be straight edge. You’re looking to write for a digital publication that treasures a writer’s voice? You’d better make sure editors can get a preview of that from your Twitter or Facebook feeds.
Fix Your Freelance Resume
An easy win. When you’re a monster freelancer who’s picking up gig after gig, you might forget to take a break and update your resume.
If you’re a bit of a freelancing jack of all trades, it might be wise to actually have multiple resumes with histories that cover every walk of your freelance life. Combining your editorial or consulting experience to fit on one page may save time, but it might raise an eyebrow as a potential client begins to wonder what your primary focus really is. We’re not doubting that a person can be talented at two different things, but you can’t deny that you wouldn’t find it slightly weird if a restaurant hyped up both its fried chicken and vegan cheeseburgers.
Make Sure You Blog!
Why spend time blogging when you could be outside playing stickball, or inside watching Friends?
No one likes extra homework, but the benefits of blogging are twofold.
- The first one is a bit obvious— future clients are able to see snippets of your work, and that you care about it enough to pursue your craft when there’s nothing in it for you.
- Secondly, you get to flex that writing muscle. It’s dangerous to only write when a deadline is looming, and blogging regularly will keep you sharp. It will also encourage you to stay on top of goings-on in the industry, as you’re looking for developments and breakthroughs in your particular field. Practice can be messy, so remember that not every post needs to be public. This isn’t limited to writers, either. “Blogging” could include web development, new site builds, and consulting scenarios that can be used as resources for other professionals.
Do Get Certified
Getting a freelance job becomes easier when you can say “hey, I’m good at this, and here is the proof.” You don’t have to go out to your local college or university and pass up a down payment on a car, but no one’s stopping you. For the rest of us, there’s plenty of places online (like Coursera) where you can take free university classes, complete with exams and certificates of completion. Not one for commitment? That’s cool too. Upwork allows you to attach the results of “qualification” exams to your freelancer profile, so clients can see just how smart you really are.
Planning on taking a cool vacation? Have plans to participate in a rally or outdoor event this weekend? Or maybe you got the hookup to a concert preview.
If it’s up your alley, reach out to potentially interested parties beforehand and suggest contributing an article or photography. It’s hard to imagine an arts editor turning down the chance to publish a review of an exclusive gallery preview or photos from a cool music festival. The trick here is to make sure your pitches are perfectly polished. You also want to reach out to an editor that is welcoming to freelancers of your level. If you’re looking to build clout, it may not be a good idea to bank on the Washington Post allowing you to cover a major street fair. But a smaller blog might be more receptive to the idea. And if it goes well, you just might get a regular freelance job.
Be Visible a Visible in the Freelance Community
We’re not just talking bylines, here. Make sure you are physically present. Part of the freelance hustle means knowing where organic connections can be made. Networking events are fine, but they can be uncomfortable for many people. It might be easier for you to go to events that are directly related to your creative goals. If there’s a panel discussion that’s related to the work you do, check it out— maybe an editor from your favorite publication will be there. When a friend asks you to spit some knowledge on an episode of their podcast, don’t pass it up. Keep the audio file and send it along to a potential client, or use it as fuel for your blog. Don’t become a sycophant, but remember that in the freelance world, half of the job is (literally) showing up.
Now that you’re looking extra-good, head on over to the AND CO job board and find your next all-star assignment.