Today we are shifting focus just a bit to discuss how to attract your desired work as a freelancer. The successful freelancers on the market today don’t have to spend hours a day chasing new potential clients. Instead, they build a powerful portfolio and reputation and attract ideal clients within their chosen niche. Here is how they do it.
The successful freelancers all have one thing in common. They all have a very specific specialty that pinpoints their desired work. You won’t find many (if any) top freelance workers that “can do it all.” It might seem counterintuitive at first to limit yourself to a specific niche. This is, however, an essential strategy of professional freelancers who want to attract their desired work. Furthermore, when you specialize in something, you will be better at what you do and be able to charge a premium for your services.
If you are still doubting me, ask yourself this question: if you had a vision problem due to cataracts, would you go to a general surgeon to have them removed? Or would you go an eye doctor? Even more specifically, wouldn’t you rather go to a surgeon who specialized in removing cataracts? This same theory applies to freelancers. If a client is looking for a B2B writer, for example, they are most likely going to look for writers that specialize in B2B rather than entertaining an application from a writer who claims they can write any subject.
Social media and the online world is an amazing (and mostly free) way to attract your desired work as a freelancer. If you aren’t taking advantage of it, you are missing out on attracting potential clients. The beauty of online profiles is that once you set them up correctly, you can sit back and watch your clients come to you. Here are some tips to follow when setting up your social media and online profiles to focus on your desired work:
- Be specific – Let your potential clients know exactly what it is you specialize in. Use detail. If you are a freelance computer programmer, what type of programming do you specialize in? If you are a freelance writer, what topics do you cover?
- Use keywords – Potential clients will be searching for freelancers just like you using keywords, so it is important that you use the keywords that identify your desired work in your profile. Include them in both your title and description. For example, if you are a writer specializing in e-commerce, your title should read something along the lines of “E-Commerce Freelance Writer.” Make it easy for potential clients to find you.
- Link to previous work – Once a potential client finds you online, show them what you can do by linking to previous examples of your work right there in your online profile. Use your best work and keep it updated. Make sure your links are specific to what you are advertising as your specialty.
- Be professional – Your online profile should be professional. This means that your picture should be professional as well as all of the visible content. If you have personal online profiles, keep them separate and private. You don’t want your potential clients to see anything but a professional.
Tweak your Portfolio
In addition to online profiles and social media, you should have a portfolio that you can link to and send potential clients upon request. This portfolio will serve as your resume, showing the best examples of your desired work. When a potential client reads your portfolio, they should see a picture of what they will get when they hire you. Here are a few tips to tweak your portfolio for optimum results.
- Tell your story. Instead of simply linking previous work examples, you should build out your portfolio to tell your story. Let potential customers know your credentials, your work history, and your skills. Treat it like you would a professional resume.
- Include a profile picture. By including a professional picture in your portfolio, you will stand out from the sea of other freelancers online.
- Build a personal website. If you want to paint a picture of professionalism that will attract high-paying clients, invest in your own website and build out a portfolio there to showcase your previous work and skill.
- Consider listing your prices. While there is a lot of disagreement on whether this is a good idea or not, I personally believe that if you are confident in your skills and your prices, you should list them on your website and portfolio. Not only will it save you time from dealing with clients who do not have the budget to pay your rates, but listing your prices also shows your confidence and personal ability.
- Continue to optimize your portfolio. Make adjustments, tweak and optimize your portfolio over time. This is a living document. It should be kept up to date. Do research and make changes. See what works for you in your specific market.
Attract Your Desired Work
If you build your freelance business correctly and showcase your talents online, you will be able to attract your desired work instead of spending countless hours hunting for it. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Niche down, build your online profiles and tweak your portfolio until the clients start pouring in.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.