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How to make the world your oyster as a successful freelancer

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With the online marketplace expanding at a logarithmic pace, the opportunity for a successful freelancer to make the world their oyster has never looked more promising.  In this article, I’ll share some top tips to and warn of potential pitfalls; so that you can maximise the returns of your efforts and become a successful freelancer in the shortest possible time; with the minimum of effort.

Online portals

The meteoric rise of online bidding portals for freelance work continues to revolutionise the global gig economy; with entrepreneurs from all corners of the world able to bid for work from the comfort of their own coffee shop.

I will throw a damp towel on the glowing kindling of the online marketplace, however – and this moist offering should serve to smoulder the burning optimism of the gig-seeker; in the form of fees.  Whilst these online trading centres evoke excitement at the prospect of seemingly limitless prospects, many of these gigs come at a cost (or lack of).

As a freelancer; be amazed and titillated at the burgeoning number of potential clients; but ensure you remain suitably underwhelmed at the financial rewards (or lack of).

As a highly sought-after professional; know the value of your work – and stick to your prices.  Yes, one can get an article written for $3 – BUT NOT BY YOU!

If the world is to be your oyster as a successful freelancer, be careful that is doesn’t rapidly become your financial clam of the future. By all means, use such portals to dip the proverbial toes in the water whilst holding down a steady 9-5, but as your confidence and portfolio of clients grows (along with your fees), then seek out the clients who value your work (and demonstrate it through remittance).

Some services are cheap for a reason…do you want to be known for quality or quantity?

Tweet: Some #freelance services are cheap for a reason…do you want to be known for quality or quantity? http://ctt.ec/fAZ1Q+

Social Media

A freelancer’s Social Media  channels provide excellent platforms for both the showcasing of portfolios, and connecting with existing clients and prospects.  Be careful not to spam your followers with ‘sell, sell, sell’ though – as nothing turns off a potential customer more than the perception that they are being constantly sold to:

  • For every 10 interesting items you share from other sources, you earn the right to pitch once;
  • Use 2-3 hashtags (#) on each Twitter, Google+ and Instagram post (but none on Linked In);
  • Engage with others’ content – no pitching!
  • Share others’ content widely (theory of reciprocity);
  • Create lists or targeted # searches to see where your future clients are gathering;
  • Maximise your use of HD images and videos – ensuring their size is optimised for each Social Media outlet;
  • For maximum engagement, schedule your posts for Saturday mornings (11 am);
  • For maximum ‘reads’, schedule your posts for Monday mornings (11 am).

Social Media is highly addictive, and it is all too easy to be mesmerised by the instantaneous feedback on how your latest post is performing.  Whilst it is vital to monitor the effectiveness of your promotional activities – use the data to determine the most effective how, what and when; but limit your time to no more than once a week.

If you are certain that you have maximised the potential returns from ‘free’ Social Media activities, then you should consider ‘paid for’ content.  With the ability to rapidly ‘boost a post’ or easily create an advert for even the smallest of budgets, Facebook – with their ability to seamlessly and accurately weave pertinent (promoted) content into your newsfeed – is certainly the 2016 choice of platform for both B2B and B2C professionals.

“Why not Twitter?” I hear you cry.  The average lifespan of a Tweet is around 17 minutes; and a great quote I heard recently from The Marketing Huddle was that getting great content from Twitter is like ‘trying to drink from a fire hose’ – something Twitter will need to grip in 2016 if they are to even hope of competing alongside Zuckerberg.

Networking

Despite my continued high praise for Social Media, one of my predictions for 2016 will be that the successful freelancer will realise that although Social Media is omnipotent; they do NOT need to ‘be everywhere’ on it.

Whether your profession be B2B or B2C, remember that ‘people buy people’ – and there is no better place to be than actually in front of a prospect.  Maintain your SM presence as an online portfolio and content marketing platform, but talk to people – regularly.  Not on the ‘phone, not via email – in person.  Every town/city has monthly networking events.  Not all will be relevant to your business – but find the ones that are and make the most of getting your brand heard.

My top tip for networking…when you walk into a room full of people, ask yourself how you could help each and every one of them.  Such is the power of reciprocity and selfish altruism – when someone ‘owes you a favour’, they cannot wait to repay it.  Think about it…

“When you walk into a room full of people, ask yourself how you could help each one of them”

Tweet: When you walk into a room full of people, ask yourself how you could help each one of them #networking http://ctt.ec/53d06+
Over to you.  What have I missed?  What are your tips for becoming a successful freelancer in 2016?  Let everyone know in the comments section below.

Further reading:

How to work with creatives and freelancers in 6 easy steps

Is there a freelance market for my skills?

Effective networking for the freelancer

7 things to do in your first year as a freelancer

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