So you’re freelancing. Whether it’s by choice or as a result of the economy, lots of people work as freelancers; you just never thought of them that way before. People including writers, designers, consultants, caterers, interior decorators, realtors and many more. These people do not earn salaries.
Their incomes are solely based on securing clients and getting hired as independent contractors. Besides completing projects, freelancers have to spend a lot of time cold calling, networking and advertising their services . There are trade magazines, the yellow pages and direct mail, but advertising isn’t cheap.
Freelancers invest a significant amount of their earnings into advertising and self-promotion. The time spent traveling to meet potential clients and selling services is also expensive. But all the promotions and legwork in the world won’t help you get the job if you do a lousy job of presenting your services.
Presentation Takes Time
Good presentation skills start with preparation. Freelancers should first learn all they can about clients, including problems they face and common lingo used in their industries.
Much of this information can be acquired by visiting clients’ Websites or searching Google or Yahoo for articles about the clients. The next step is deciding what materials to use in the presentation. The materials a freelancer uses must also fully describe the benefits and services he/she offers.
Freelancers can make use of assorted professional tools when making presentations, including laptop presentation software, videos and portfolios of their work. These tools are terrific in face-to-face meetings, but often, a freelancer needs to provide potential clients with samples of his work before an in-person meeting will be scheduled. What do you send?
Your Portfolio on the Web?
A freelancer’s presentation materials need to look professional; poor quality samples can make a prospect wonder, “if you can’t do a professional job presenting yourself, why should I trust you to do a professional job on my projects?” A potential client will judge a freelancer’s finished product by how and what he presents. Client-specific presentation materials, past work samples, even testimonials may be needed.
With all these elements to consider, a freelancer’s best overall presentation tool may be a Website. A Website enables freelancers to upload samples of their work, provide detailed descriptions of their services and information about their experience, education and other credentials. People can view this information in their leisure when it’s convenient for them.
Tools of the Trade
Freelancers can choose different interactive tools for their Websites including videos. A video is more personal in nature than just static art and type. What’s more, a freelancer can project his personality style more easily in a video. Just like on job searches, clients often hire people they like and think they can work well with.
Another consideration is marketing your Website. Freelancers can use SEO to help achieve first-page rankings in major search engines. SEO uses key words and meta-tags or codes, to give Websites prime positions. Blogging is another way for freelancers to promote their sites, as are online press releases and social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In. Freelancers can also pass out CD’s or DVD’s with information from their sites, or distribute electronic business cards.
The key is to “get in the game” and start taking advantage of all the digital tools available. After all, if you want to work in the digital age, you need to show people you’re already a part of it.
[box]Written by Simon Tate
Simon Tate works in animation and relies heavily on media duplication services to meet the needs of his business. CD replication and duplication is the best protection for his work. [/box]