How to Freelance your Expertise
Freelancing is like an optical illusion. You look at it as freedom to work when you want. No more of the mundane 9 to 5. No more intimidating superiors to answer to. No more suffocating ties around your neck. But it’s not what it looks like. Look at the clearer picture and you’ll see, that freelancers don’t find it easy to get clients who’ll trust them with jobs. Because clients are looking for experts and until they know of freelancers’ expertise, it’s of no good. Hence, freelancing is 70% self-marketing and 30% knowledge-lending to client projects. You are equipped with that 30% already. Read to know more about doing the 70% right. To set yourself on the journey to reach the side of freelancing you saw.
• Display the finest pieces of your expertise. Everywhere you can: You need a portfolio to use as marketing bait to lure prospective clients. Only include pieces of your work that span the length and breadth of your knowledge scale in there. Build a web address to display it, optimizing the site’s link through SEO, with keywords like specialist and expert, so that your name pops up first with those searches. Sign up for websites that offer freelancers a chance to find work online and upload your best work, to gain an upper hand over fellow contract seekers. Also, get yourself involved in open business/ professional conferences and freelancers’ get-togethers offline, carrying a soft-copy of your work with you in a tablet or in your phone. Jump at the slightest opportunity to share it. Essentially, wherever you see an opening to exhibit your capabilities, grab your chance without any second thoughts.
• Broadcast that you’ve gone freelance: Update everyone you know about this critical piece of information. Friends, neighborhood, family, peers, and acquaintances . . .everyone in your contact should know that you’ve started freelancing and what’s your area of expertise. References can be of great in helping you land your first job or two. In fact, they may even bag you the first big break your career needs after you’ve settled down a bit. So, ensure of doing this as your first step in the world of freelancing.
• Disburse your know-how to earn goodwill: Help individuals or organizations in need of technical help that relates to your area of expertise. Invest your time and effort in it, like you would if handling a job for them. Charge them nothing for it. You’ll be giving up on money, but you’ll be earning yourself some much-needed goodwill. So next time they or someone in their circle is in need of similar expert advice, you’ll be the one they’ll turn to or recommend.
• Turn them away so that you don’t turn away from your specialization: This may sound absurd but you should focus on your area of specialization strictly, even if that means turning down a potential assignment coming your way (dealing with something similar to what you do). You want to be known as the master of your trade, then why try your hand at being the jack? Say, if you’re a highly proficient web-designer, you can give logo designing a shot. You won’t be as good at it, though. Because it requires some set of skills you lack. Losing business may tempt you to have a go at it. But stick to your strengths and you can make up for such loses with fees you command later on. Also, it’ll reaffirm your status as an expert in your field.
• Hang around at places where people who can hire your tend to hang around. At local recreational clubs or social spots. Interact with people, talk to them in general. You never know when they bring up the topic of mutual interest. Not only will you benefit from being employed, but also the word will be spread to lots of other potential recruiters about your services.
Above all, you need to keep pushing yourself day in and day out to know every little aspect of your craft. You should try to be a leader and an innovator that others look up to when solving problems for their clientele. Assuring yourself of being an expert will make it easier for you to position yourself as one in the market.
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