Those who take the plunge into freelancing soon realize the hard part about this ‘freedom’ is having enough clients to keep you insanely busy. But like any business, clients/customers are the bread and butter, greasing the wheels that turn the business engine. Freelancers should keep their marketing gear on high alert at all times and their eyes wide peeled for any opportunity that may come their way.
The easiest and least expensive way to find clients is through networking, which can be online or offline. The people in your network may know a person or two who could benefit from your services. Assuming your have thirty seconds to introduce yourself, what are the most important things to mention in your elevator speech?
Narrowing your client search to a specific target can lessen the headache of marketing. In discussing your target market, this will ensure your contacts are able to know, understand and direct your target clients to you easily. How does this work? Let’s assume you are a freelance writer. Now a member in your network maybe privy of someone in need of a writer. They pass this information onto you which you gladly make inquiries and a meeting is further set up. However, in your further discussion you discover that the prospective client is in need of a business writer to write a business proposal for some prospective business. Your main forte is technical writing-IT, which you forgot to mention to your contact.
There are those freelancers who do not believe in locking themselves in a niche but instead try to be a jack of all trade. This can be a tricky affair because one will not be able to concentrate on one area thereby becoming an expert. The advantage of identifying and building your freelance career in a niche area is that people are able to recognize you as the best person to handle a particular project.
Let’s use the above freelance writer for illustration. Assuming the above writer’s niche is writing simple instructional IT guidebooks for the masses. This writer is able to position themselves as a specialist who can translate industry jargon into simple everyday language.
As a freelancer, its good business sense and tactics to find out what are the going rates in the market as you structure your rates. Using this range with one’s own experience, one should be able to come up with a reasonable rate. When making an elevator speech it would be worth mentioning briefly one’s rate, usually estimates. This will prevent one from getting calls and emails from prospective clients who are prepared to get quality and professional work for free by paying ridiculously low rates that can barely pay for your time and work.
As a freelancer, it would be worth your while to invest in a portfolio both online and offline. This will demonstrate to your prospective clients your ability to handle any projects should they choose to use your services. In your elevator speech, remember to mention-again briefly, those works you most proud of, that are easily accessible and portrays your skills, professionalism and capabilities clearly.
Remember, when crafting your elevator speech, portraying yourself positively and professionally will go a long way when it comes to finding clients.
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