Here are the top five must-dos for freelancers in the creative industry.
1. Create A Brand
While everyone has to sell themselves for a career, a freelancer must sell themselves and their skills on a daily basis. The longer it takes you to get your message across, the more likely you are to lose the potential client’s attention.
Creating your own brand gives you the chance to communicate your skills and what makes you different from your competitors in one clear and easy to understand message.
Be sure to take a look at what your competitors are doing, what people in your industry are talking about to see if your particular skill fills a need, if there are any threats to this industry, where the opportunities lie, and what weaknesses you have which need work. Basically, remember to do a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis before creating your brand.
A brand isn’t just about a good looking logo and an easy to remember catch phrase (although this does help). A lot of research needs to go into the process.
It takes time to build up the awareness of a brand, but you need to work out what you are selling, why you are selling it, and what makes you different from everyone else before focusing on what design your brand should have.
2. Online Presence
Your online activities are a big part of building your brand’s reputation. So, it’s important to make sure what you do online is in sync with your overall branding.
Your website or blog gives you the chance to build your reputation as an industry expert. Don’t just talk about yourself though. See what others are doing, and discuss oncoming trends or industry changes. Adding your expert opinion to an industry update or new trend helps you show off your knowledge of the industry. Once you have given your expert opinion, remember to share your updates via your social media profiles.
Remember to consistently work on your online presence, and provide potential customers with up to date contact information, as well as projects you have worked on or are working on.
Remember to engage with your audience, whether online or offline. If someone asks you a question, even if it’s through your social media or as a comment on your website, be sure to give them an answer as soon as you can, even if it’s just asking them to contact you through a another means (i.e. via telephone), so you can give them a more in-depth response.
You can also engage with people through your work (i.e. as a photographer), you can create a photo book tailored to your online reader’s interests, which they are then likely to buy via your website. Be sure that this project is in line with your brand, though.
For example, if you’re a wildlife photographer, consider creating an annual photo book for your general audience themed on the most ferocious animals you photographed. If you’re concerned about the printing costs of such a project, consider using online publishers with print on demand services.
This is relevant for every career path, but it becomes even more relevant for a freelancer, as a contact from a networking event, especially a creative industry networking event has the potential to turn into a long term customer. Search the web for networking events in your local area, as well as in your creative niche, and be prepared when you go.
This means have your business cards on you, as well as some examples of your work via a business book or portfolio. However, only use these tools if the person you are talking to is interested and asks to see these. Networking isn’t about forcing your details on people, but about making a real connection with people. You may discover a like-minded freelancer with whom you can compare notes.
5. Know The Rates
When you charge clients for your services, make sure that you are asking for the going rate. It’s important for you to cover your expenses and make a profit, but make sure you aren’t overselling or even underselling yourself.
This article was written by Sarah Oxley on behalf of Blurb, creative for publishers for photo books, business books and portfolios.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock