Do you dream of the day when your passion projects are finally your freelance career? Are you unsure on how to grow your passion project(s)--be it writing, design, or whatever gets your creative energy flowing--into a fully-fledged freelance business? Sure you do! And you’re not alone. The desire to turn your a passionate freelance gig into a series of jobs in that field has been around forever (way before the term freelance came around), and now it's more possible than ever.
Sure, finding the first freelance gigs that put you in your desired field, and then starting your own business, can be terrifying. Here’s the good news, it doesn’t have to be so hard if you position yourself properly. There are some tricks of the trade to help turn that craft, writing, or any other freelance business into a reality! Here are some tips to get you started:
Get on the Right Freelance Job Boards!
Websites such as Guru and Upwork are great at covering a broad set of skills and building your portfolio with a diverse array of clients ad freelance gigs that define your skillset. Once you've scoped those two out, check out this job board for more options, with some delving into more specific searches. They connect customers with freelancers over a variety of professions including admin, web development, sales, engineering, and finance. However, focussing on smaller, more specific job boards, will help you reach clients who are better matched to the services you offer. For example, DesignCrowd is a website that lists jobs solely for graphic designers, and Toptal is only for software engineers. Check out this very thorough list of specific job websites, find the right board for you, and get to work!
Once you've targeted the ones you're best suited for, pursue those boards the most. That doesn't mean giving up on other promising boards you haven't had luck with yet. Even if you stumble with one board, but see the benefit in those projects, keep pursuing them as well! It's your passion after all.
Get an SEO Optimized Website
If you're an SEO pro, consider your website the first entry in your SEO portfolio.
For the rest of us, gone are the days when websites were for the coding masterminds out there. With companies like Squarespace and Wordpress, building your own professional website and getting your services out into the big wide world of Google and Bing has become much easier with a little effort on your part.
SEO can appear like an insurmountable challenge at first, but it’s important to understand. From anchor text to metadata to nofollow links, there is a multitude of facets that could change your position. Much of it is trial and error, even when the experts suggest some new trick.
That's why today, it’s not enough anymore to just build a website. You need to know how to hack into the golden undercurrents of the internet and use them to your advantage. It's crucial to harness the power of your keywords effectively, and to fill your website with easy-to-read content with a clear message. Check out this simple list of SEO tricks to help your website, and your company, flourish!
Remember though, proper SEO takes constant work and effort. So, once you have these SEO basics covered, keep exploring on how to optimize your page until it reaches the top 3 ranks on your desired keywords.
LinkedIn isn’t just for corporate CEOs and awkward profile pictures. Most social media sites operate with one foot in the social world, while LinkedIn has maintained its professional persona. Signing up is free, and you can start connecting with possible clients, reading industry blogs, and searching the LinkedIn job postings, without having to watch videos of ice skating rabbits. Delving further into social media, it’s also important to take advantage of Facebook Ads. We’ve all seen them, but few of us use them! Check out this great guide from Hootsuite about advertising on social media. The benefits (and freelance gigs you land) can be immense.
Remember to venture off of social media as well! That's because everything from your local coworking spaces to professional networks to even a mentor can drastically improve your network. You never know, stopping by your local WeWork space or attending your next CreativeMornings event can turn into an opportunity to meet new people and get the ball rolling on a new project. Just like social media, the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to see gainful returns. And even if you only come away with a pleasant conversation, you've shown your personality to a fellow creative. You can't underestimate how important it is just to get on someone's radar.
Reach Out to Fellow Freelancers!
It takes a village. Starting a business or fleshing out a hobby isn’t easy and takes determination and focus. The skills that you offer don’t always align with the skills needed to start the business in the first place. If you want to take your photography business to the next level but it means keeping track of expenses and tax returns, it can seem overwhelming to the creative mind. Let AND CO help! Your AND CO Chief Operator can deal with the back end, so you can focus on taking the perfect picture!
And remember that great conversation you had from the last section? Well, turns out they know someone who knows someone that can help your crafting with some SEO optimization you were trying to learn a few sections ago. AND turns out they have a need for some new crafts like yours...
So you never know, reach out. It won't always end up like the scenario above, but it very well could. So what's the harm in asking, right?
And Remember, It's All a Wave
Pursuing your passion as a freelancer is almost never going to be all smooth sailing, but with some hard work you can turn choppy seas into sunnier days. Like any freelance endeavor, there will be ups and downs. Try to prepare as best as possible and learn as much as you can. Always remember to network and bring your A game.
It might seem hard today, but making your dream your career is achievable.