In a recent study by the Office of National Statistics, research showed that the number of self-employed people has hit a 40 year high. The freelance economy, in particular, has been showing plenty of growth; and there’s no sign of stopping it.
As a freelancer, your career is fully in your hands. As such, it is crucial (not to mention very rewarding) to develop your skills and advance your knowledge. However, the rat race tends to tie us up and make it harder to see the bigger picture. And like any other business, the number of freelancers in the world is quickly inflating. This means that you and every freelancer you know is facing severe competition with each passing day. So, how do you ensure that you have an edge to stand out in a large crowd of like-minded businessmen and entrepreneurs?
For starters having a better understanding of the best ways to develop your skills will help you make huge leaps in your career. I could blab all day about the joys of being your own boss; but if you really want to make a mark, here’s how to promote your freelancing skills the right way.
Build a Portfolio
Whether you are a wealthy investor or a startup freelancer like yourself, the journey to success and making money starts with building an attractive portfolio. If you have not yet gone and already done it, you should always be working to build up a body of work that accurately represents your skill in a particular field. For those in formal employment, this is a great place to start tailoring your portfolio before telling your boss to shove it up his posterior.
The great thing about a portfolio is that it will initially cost you nothing to start building your body of work. However, there is a downside to it. As a newbie in the world of freelancing, you should always consider the merits of new opportunities and weigh the importance of the experience received. But as soon as you have a great portfolio, future clients will definitely see your worth.
Digital Marketing is Essential
With the digital scene booming up over the years, it has had a massive impact on literally everything we do. Today, mobile technology has surpassed even television when it comes to media consumption. So naturally, more and more people have access to information at the tip of their fingers. For freelancers, another very beneficial perk of digital media is that it is cost effective. If you want to promote your skills, social media is one way to expose yourself and establish your presence to millions of potential clients.
Sharpen your People Skills
What do you think freelancers sell? As a freelancer, your first product is YOU! Selling yourself is crucial to gaining the trust of clients. So if you thought that freelancing means saying goodbye to networking, you are in for a severe shock. According to the guys over at Forbes, almost all independent contractors typically find some of their best assignments through networking. Reaching out to persons in your field and making yourself known really works wonders at putting you at the clients’ thoughts. This way, they will immediately think of you whenever they need services related to your expertise. I don’t know about you, but being the first on a client’s mind seems like a very valuable position.
Explore and Team Up
Just because you’ve upped and decided to freelance doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone; there’s a huge difference. This point goes hand in hand with networking; by allowing other freelancers the chance to combine their skills and expertise with yours, you will find that more and more projects will become available. One example is a website developer teaming up with a content writer, or a chartered accountant joining a lawyer for more opportunities.
Ask for Recommendations and Referrals
Whether you are already an established freelancer or a greenhorn, recommendations are an extremely valuable way to gain more visibility in your respective field. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful tool that should not be overlooked. So long as you made a great impression and did your job the right way, your clients should be more than comfortable recommending you for similar projects. There are times when a positive endorsement from the right guys will open doors for your career, so don’t be afraid of asking for some recommendations.