When you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you tend to spend a lot of time frequenting online job boards and applying for open positions. You’ll also send out a lot of cold emails to companies you want to work for, hoping they can use someone with your skill set.
This is an unavoidable part of freelancing, and it definitely pays to learn how to craft winning emails that show how someone with your work experience can benefit a company.
But what if one day those companies started emailing you and asking you to freelance for them? What if instead of spending hours looking for a job, people began approaching you with jobs tailor-made for your talents?
It’d be a heck of an ego boost, that’s for sure. For many freelancers, this is when they feel they’ve “made it” and have become a proven commodity in the business. Freelancers who become in demand talents are in a much better place to negotiate higher salaries and take on the type of assignments they enjoy. Plus, it’s nice not having to compete against thousands of other job applicants.
Even better? In today’s Internet-driven world, becoming that in-demand resource is more possible than ever — if you know how to present yourself online and leverage your talents in the right way. Here’s how to position yourself and get noticed by the right people.
Whether they’re called talent scouts, headhunters, or recruiters, people are actively searching the Internet every day for talented people to add to their company’s team. Sometimes they work for established businesses that want to expand their workforce. Other times, they represent startups seeking talent to build their brand and online presence.
Regardless, these professionals are out there looking for you — meaning it’s your job to make it easy for them to find you.
How? The best way is to simply put your work up on websites that rank high in online searches.
Sure, it’s great to list your accomplishments on a resume, but wouldn’t you rather let your work speak for itself? That’s what happens when you publish a series of online articles or blog posts that show off your knowledge of digital marketing, web design, or copywriting — and how that knowledge can solve common problems faced by many businesses.
Don’t already have a contract with a high-profile website? No problem. There are plenty of popular websites eager to have people guest post on their blogs. I actually got recruited by Hectic after they saw a few articles I contributed to Freelancer FAQs on freelance writing. I didn’t get paid for any of those posts, but the exposure they gave me was worth far more than a single paycheck.
And don’t just stop with a few pieces. Just because a recruiter only needs to see two or three samples of your work doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to a couple articles. Producing and posting your work on a regular basis not only strengthens your talent, it helps you develop a large online presence that makes you easier to find.
Even if you’re not a freelance writer, creating a series of articles can still highlight your expertise in any field. The publishing platform Medium, for instance, offers a way for freelancers to post tips and thoughts on any topic for free, allowing you to establish yourself as an expert to thousands of people. And if writing isn’t your thing, you can share your expertise through YouTube videos or a podcast.
Pace yourself. If you can only produce a single article, video, or podcast a week, you’ll still have over fifty posts by the end of the year. Plus, if you can provide links to this online content on your website and social media channels — or just create links within your content that link to other work you publish online — your online presence will only expand.
Ultimately, the easier you make it for people to keep reading, watching, or listening to your work, the more your name will stick in their minds as a viable candidate for their needs.
Showcasing your work online might be vital to attracting recruiters, but making sure those recruiters can contact you with work opportunities is even more important.
Build a professional website where you can not only advertise your freelance services but also provide an email address or phone number for potential clients. And be sure to include your website and email address in your online biography or byline for any content you publish online.
Many clients and recruiters find freelancers on social media, meaning you need to polish your online profiles. Include links to your social media channels on your website and make sure your email, website, and other contact information appears prominently on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube profiles.
When writing your biography, make it clear that you’re a freelancer for hire. Showcase the type of work you do (including links to your completed projects) and highlight the many ways they benefit your clients. Social media channels like LinkedIn even allow you to frame your profile picture with an “Open to Work” hashtag, letting recruiters know at a glance they need to connect with you.
Bottom line: the easier you make it for clients to see you’re available for work and easy to contact, the more likely they’ll reach out to you.
Providing their clients with excellent work is only part of the reason why freelancers are valued by businesses. Most companies also appreciate employing contract workers who are easy to work with and conduct themselves professionally.
How can you demonstrate this professionalism before you’re hired by a company? By being approachable in online spaces where potential clients frequent.
Take LinkedIn, for example. Plenty of freelancers use this online platform as a place to showcase their work and build a large list of followers. But not all of them take the time to comment or like the posts of other LinkedIn members.
Be the person who compliments others on their accomplishments and leaves your insights or opinions on someone else’s project. Remember: the more you comment on social media, the easier it’ll be for others to follow your links back to your home page and discover your freelance services. Plus, they’ll likely comment or like your own posts, allowing your own accomplishments to be displayed more prominently in social media feeds.
You can even establish that positive online reputation through your website. Offer to write blog posts that answer common questions asked by your readers. Or showcase your expertise by answering questions on platforms like Quora. Providing an insightful answer to this online community can guide thousands of people back to your own website or blog, providing you with plenty of potential clients.
At the end of the day, the Internet is all about forming connections. Once you realize this, becoming an in-demand freelancer isn’t just possible — it’s practically inevitable if you to keep building and refining your online presence.
Share your expertise in whatever online medium you feel most comfortable working in. Communicate with the communities you connect with online. As you learn more about their needs, you’ll discover the best way your talents can contribute to their success. And that, more than anything, will make you an indispensable resource.
Ready to start building good connections? Hectic offers the resources necessary for building an effective online presence. Learn how to grow your business by getting started with the Hectic.
I highly recommend this platform if you're a freelancer seeking a client/project management system that allows you to focus on nothing else but the quality of your work.