Anyone who ever dreamed of building a freelance business had a similar painting in mind:
Chilling anywhere with your laptop and your favorite drink. Setting your own working hours, travelling whenever and wherever…
You can get the freelancer lifestyle. Assuming you have a skill (or are willing to learn one), you can build an incredible business. However, you won’t get there by looking for gigs on content mills or job boards. Instead, you should opt for a more strategic plan.
One which will get you where you want fast.
One which I and many successful freelance business owners used.
Let’s dive in.
Step #1: Set up a business website
A business website makes you look professional.
It need not be anything fancy. To maximize your business’ potential, you should establish your niche expertise on the home page of your website. Any potential client who lands there should know right away that you’re the perfect match for them.
You’ll also need a portfolio page (more on that below), a pricing page and a contact form.
The fact that you own a website makes it clear to your clients that you are serious about business.
A final note on websites: get your own customized domain. It adds a nice professional touch to your business
Step #2: Build a portfolio
A portfolio allows potential clients to have a look at your work. It serves as proof of your skill.
You can use samples of your previous work. If you are a total beginner, simply create your own samples.
Strive to put your best work in your portfolio. This is key if you just begun freelancing. You won’t have the social proof to back you up. Your future clients will rely solely on your work to decide whether they will hire you or not.
Once you have a reasonable number of pieces, dedicate a page of your website to them.
Step #3: Maximize your online presence
LinkedIn is an excellent platform to market yourself. First, ensure your profile contains the right keywords. This increases the odds you appear in the search results if someone is looking to hire a freelancer in your niche. Next, make it clear in your profile description that you are available for hire. You can also include your email for those who want to reach out.
Another useful tactic is to post on LinkedIn with consistency. The key is to post anything which sheds light on your niche expertise. Since professionals are often using LinkedIn, the chances of stumbling across one of your relevant posts are high.
You should also grow your network. Connect with industry experts and anyone who might hire you.
Opinions will differ on this one but I advise you not to reach out to them for work right away. Instead, build relationships. Eventually, they will contact you for work or you can subtly imply your interest to have them as clients.
The idea with LinkedIn is to put yourself out there and increase your visibility.
Step #4: Cold email prospects
Cold emailing might come across as intimidating for some.
Some of my best clients came from cold emails.
While it is true that the chances of contacting someone out of the blue who happens to need your help are slim, you can view it as a numbers game.
Keep pitching and you will land a client.
Your pitch type matters. Keep it simple, show how you can help and include a link to your website.
Also, try to make a genuine connection at the beginning for your email. It shows the receiver that you cared enough to reach out in a personal way. The sheer force of the compliment might warm them up to you and differentiate your email from the rest.
Step #5: Deliver an excellent job
While this is more of a general rule, it is close to mandatory when you are a beginner.
You want your work to be excellent so that you can ask for a testimonial. Once you get it, place it on the portfolio page of your website. The social proof will take you to the stratosphere. It will ease your life in ways you never imagined.
So, deliver an excellent job, grab a few testimonials and witness your business take off.
At this point, you’ve made it to a place where you can find clients with ease. You can have regular clients as well, which ensures a consistent flow of income.
The steps build upon themselves.
This means you should perform them in order for higher chances of success.
Building a successful freelance business will require hard work and patience. However, your dream lifestyle is closer than you think.
With the right mindset and tactics, you can reach outstanding levels with your business.
So, go ahead and give it a try. Put in the work and you will witness amazing results.