Tips to Boost Your Freelance Business in 2022
Working for yourself comes with a catalog of benefits, including managing your own schedule, choosing your clients, and setting your pay rate. The freedom to work from wherever and for whomever is a huge perk for those looking to get out of their nine-to-five.
On the other hand, managing your entire career can apply extra pressure. You’re the only one responsible for managing the ebbs and flow of client work, and doing your own marketing, networking, project management, and more can be a challenge.
Whether you’ve been freelancing since college or you’re looking to make the leap, we have tips to help you grow your business and enjoy success this year.
Tip #1. Invest In Your Brand
The occasional poll on LinkedIn or tweet about your day are fun ways to humanize yourself and connect with a couple of your contacts, but slacking on your online presence can make it hard to find quality client leads.
Your brand includes everything from how you sign off on emails to the profile photos you use online. A solid brand can help differentiate you from your competitors while proving your value and expertise.
Think of all of your LinkedIn connections. Many have a smiling photo, at a three-quarter turn, their arms crossed, and hair perfectly in place. They look great and very professional, but so does everyone else.
Alternatively, you can showcase your confidence and calm nature with a candid and action-oriented photo of you at work or leading a meeting. Add a soft blue overlay to match your profile header, personal logo and, site design, and now you have one cohesive look — no suit required.
Tip #2. Engage Online
If you don’t already have a social media presence, start small with a LinkedIn or Twitter profile. Committing to a regular post schedule will help push you to the top of the timeline and keep your name front of mind for connections you may not talk to otherwise.
Similarly, a website is a must for any online business. A personal website allows you to increase your visibility online, show a polished and curated portfolio, and improve a future client’s ability to contact you directly.
Tip #3. Showcase Your Expertise
Continuing to build your brand, you want to prove you understand your industry in and out, and you can bring that experience to your client’s account. Thought leadership is an excellent way to build your resume, increase your visibility, and support your skills.
A personal blog is an easy place to start. Sharing your experiences and expectations provides a secondary portfolio of your writing skills and overall knowledge. Published content can also help your site appear in search engines to build traffic and potential conversions.
Of course, you don’t have to write about your expertise if you prefer other outlets. Video blogs and reviews, podcasts, and even presentations to other groups or conventions can help you network and establish your brand.
Tip #4. Budget For Your Future
Some seasons you may be picking and choosing between a waitlist of clients excited to partner with you. Then you find yourself spending 40 hours a week hunting for leads the next season. The feast vs. famine culture of freelance can be hard to avoid, so it’s best to plan ahead.
As you freelance, you’ll get a good feel for your busy and slow seasons and can more easily adjust. In the meantime, you can create two different budgets to alternate between depending on your workflow.
First, identify the minimum amount you need to cover all of your expenses, support your savings and retirement goals, and spare some spending money, This is your fallback if you lose a few clients, and it can also help you save for emergencies.
Your second budget will be your ideal and most comfortable budget. In this phase, you’re able to maximize your savings, cover all of your expenses, and still enjoy the finer things in life.
This budget accounts for your spending and your maximum workload. If you don’t want to work more than 30 hours a week, how many clients do you need and how much do you charge them to make this happen and support your lifestyle?
When you’re raking in the work, consider increasing your savings for a while and tuck that money into a special account for a future famine.
If work continues to pick up, you can continue to save or adjust your budget to account for your new workflow. If work slows down, then you have the budget and savings to help make ends meet until you secure more work.
Tip #5. Get Involved In Your Industry
You’ve heard it thousands of times before, but networking is essential to building relationships that can convert into quality clients. Networking comes in several forms, but you ultimately need to get involved in your industry to boost your connections.
Online groups are an excellent place to start. Beyond the people you already have on LinkedIn, look for local freelance groups on Facebook, relevant industry lists on Twitter, and meetups across your city. Engaging in these spaces helps you meet new people that aren’t in your circle, exposing you to a lot more connections quickly.
If you’re in a specific industry with no intentions to change careers anytime soon, consider investing in an association membership. Most industries and career paths have local, state, and national associations that offer education, mentorship, and networking opportunities online and in person.
Building your reputation in these associations can also help you build your resume with committee positions and even earn some extra money as a convention speaker.
Tip #6. Consider Mentorship
Mentorship is another good way to meet new people and build lasting connections. As a mentor, you get to show a younger professional the ropes. It’s a rewarding experience that helps you learn a thing or two about leadership, and exposes you to other professionals and meetups you may not have attended otherwise.
If you’re a mentee, a mentor will help you build your networking skills and will likely invite you to meet and greets to practice and get to know their existing connections. They’re also a great resource for other soft and hard skills, like communicating with clients or building insightful client reports.
Freelancing is a wonderful opportunity to build the exact career you want for yourself, but it’s not without its challenges. With a little planning and proper preparation, you can enjoy a fulfilling career and continue to grow your business year over year.
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About the Author!
Briana Marvell is a personal finance writer from Austin, covering everything from family budgets to housing for sites like Annuity.org. When she’s not at her desk, you can find her hiking with her pup, Miko, or diving into a good book.