Sure, you are great at what you do, but have you ever considered building a freelancing empire around your skill set? If you have ever had a Pinky and The Brain moment about your services, read on.
- Set yourself as the Go-To Guy or Gal in a Specific Industry- It is very tempting as a freelancer to offer your services to everyone you meet, but this method will bring you scattered results. However, if you hone in on a certain industry, you can really create a name for yourself. This doesn't mean that you only work with that niche, but that does become your primary target market. For example, let's say you choose to do web design for law firms. Now you can focus on that specific target market of attorneys. You can build a name for yourself within that group. Does this restrict you to only working for law firms? No, of course not. But it does help you create a name for yourself in a certain industry and reap the benefits of a strong reputation.
- Network Outside of your Regular Group - If you only hang out with fellow freelancers, you won't get very far in terms of building your empire. It is necessary to spend time with colleagues, but you won't always get more business that way. If you really want to brand yourself and get more clients, you have to network outside of your regular group.
- Always Ask for Testimonials- What do all the top dogs have in common? They have built up one heck of a reputation. And you can too. Always ask for a testimonial for work well done. It doesn't matter if you don't need them at the moment or don't have a place to display them. If they liked your work, get it in writing. Just collect them for future reference. You never know when they might come in handy.
- Always Ask for Referrals-If you do a good job on a project for a client, always ask if they know others who could use your services. I am shocked at how many freelancers don't do this. Don't assume that your clients don't talk to others about your work. Most people love to brag about a job well done. Be sure to make it clear to them that you appreciate referrals and would love to be of service to their friends and associates.
- Build a Relationship with Clients- Let's say you bid on a project and win it. The client provides the details, and you do a fabulous job for them. They pay and you move on to the next client...UNLESS, they pay and you keep in touch with them. Every now and then send them an email, and see how that project you did for them is working out. Do they need anything else? If so, you would love to work with them again. Did you mention that you just got married? And did they have a good Thanksgiving? Build a relationship with your clients. Keep in touch and communicate. Let them see you as more than a just a freelancer. If they start seeing you as a friend, the chances of you receiving future work and more referrals skyrockets.
- Create a Marketing Plan- If you want to build a freelancing empire; people have to know about you. So, spend time marketing your services. And I don't just mean having an elevator pitch ready when someone asks you what you do. You should have a full fledge marketing plan in place. What mediums (online and offline) will you use to market your services? How much time and money will you spend with each medium? How will you check to see if the marketing efforts are providing you with a good return on investment?
- Think of it in TERMS of a BUSINESS- So many freelancers consider themselves artists-and rightly so. But more than that, they are also in the business of providing a service. If you think of freelancing as one job or project after another-you start thinking short term. It is easy to forget that your services are actually a part of your business! The life of each job ends when you get paid and a new job or project begins. In order to create a freelancing empire, you have to see the separate jobs as a series of projects that are all connected. You are not just a freelancer, but a business owner who freelances.
- Seek out Mentors AND Mentees- You may think mentors are strictly for corporate cubicle workers who want to move up the ladder, and not for a freelancer like yourself. But you must seek out mentors if you want to create a freelancing empire. These mentors don't have to be freelancers themselves, but just seasoned business owners who you can learn from. On the same token, become a mentor yourself. There are plenty of young freelancers out there who could use someone to teach them the tricks of the trade. A big part of building a freelancing empire is giving back to the community. You can start here!
- Have a Website/Portfolio and Constantly Update It- You do good work,-display it! I hesitate to tell you the number of "serious" freelancers I have met, who don't have a website or portfolio. And many of those who do have a portfolio never bother to update it. It is not exactly confidence inspiring in a client when the last piece in your portfolio is dated 2000, and is an ad for Y2K.
- Get Good with Numbers- You may hate math (and I did for a long time), but there is no getting around this one. You have to get comfortable with numbers if you plan on building your business empire. At the least, know your costs, your revenues, and your profit margin. I really love Win Web's free accounting software that is especially designed for freelancers and small business owners. You can check it out at http://www.winweb.com/.
Here is to you and the start of your freelancing empire!
Shama Hyder is an expert marketing consultant to independent professionals and professional service firms around the world. As the founder of After The Launch, Shama serves clients through her one-on-one consulting work, and through her company's several online and offline marketing services.
You can get her free report "101 Ways to Market Your Business" at http://www.afterthelaunch.com/
Note: This artcile has been published by taking prior permission from original author - Shama Hyder of http://www.afterthelaunch.com/
Article published on this blog by Afzal Khan - Internet Marketing & SEO/SEM Professional of http://www.afzalkhan.org/