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4 marketing tips for freelancers

So you've decided to become a freelancer. You're probably excited about making your own schedule, choosing projects that inspire you and expanding your portfolio of work.

You're probably also fairly nervous. After all, being a successful full-time contractor involves a fair deal of networking and self-promotion. Nobody's passing you assignments each morning - it's up to you to find the gigs that will pay your bills.

Fortunately, today's interconnected world gives freelancers plenty of resources and opportunities to put themselves out there, make connections and enhance their careers. If you're looking to market yourself as a freelancer, check out these six tips for successful self-promotion:

1. Take advantage of social media
Is there anything more valuable to the self-employed than social media? Not only are social channels free to use, they're extraordinarily effective at allowing you to reach large audiences with the click of a button. Some platforms freelancers may want to consider include:

  • LinkedIn: Every professional looking to network should have an account on LinkedIn. This site allows you to connect with people and opportunities with ease. It's a great place to showcase your resume, skills and portfolio. Staffing agencies and human resources departments are always browsing LinkedIn looking for qualified candidates, so it can also lead to a recruitment.
  • Instagram: What started as a simple photo sharing app has turned into a creative marketing tool for freelancers and professionals of all types. Artists and graphic designers can display their visual pieces, personal trainers can showcase exercise programs and musicians can release new samples. As long as you think outside the box, Instagram can leverage your personal marketing strategy in impressive ways.
  • Twitter: It seems like almost everyone - from world leaders to Olympic athletes - has a Twitter presence. The site's ubiquity makes it a nearly essential component of any modern marketing plan. While some people use their Twitter accounts for personal and professional purposes, it's smart to make separate accounts for work and play. That way, you can comfortably retweet cat memes without potential employers seeing.

When building a successful social media presence, consistency is of the utmost importance. If you're not a social media natural, consider making a posting schedule that you can follow.

2. Create a website for yourself
Would you prefer to hire a business with a sleek, professional, all-encompassing website, or one with multiple scattered web presences? When you're a freelancer, you're selling yourself as a brand - and every good brand has a good website.

Aim to get a URL as close as possible to the name you use professionally. If you go by "Jane Smith," for example, try to snag JaneSmith.com. If your first choice URL is taken, try to add a word related to your profession, such as JaneSmithDesigns.com. Your website should include a biography, links to your social media accounts, your resume and examples of your work. Make sure it's easy to navigate and is a true expression of who you are as a freelancer.

If this sounds like a lot, the good news is that making a website is easier than you think. Creative Bloq recommended using sites like Joomla, Drupal and WordPress when creating one of your own.

3. Carve out time for marketing
Solid self-promotion doesn't happen overnight. In fact, it can take weeks or even months of consistent updating to really build out a strong web presence for your brand. Talented Ladies Club recommended setting the goal of doing one marketing task per day, whether that means updating your social media profiles or writing a blog post on your website. Consider your promotion work to be as important as the jobs you're using it to get.

"By keeping your marketing activities consistent," explained the source, "you can help maintain a steady stream of work."

4. Develop your own ideas
Perhaps the best part of freelancing is the independence it affords you. When you aren't relegated to an office from 9 to 5 every day, there are no limits or rules surrounding the work you're capable of producing. Make the most of your newfound flexibility by pursuing some passion projects, or endeavors that inspire and fulfill you. If you're a freelance writer who's always wanted to draft a screenplay, devote a few hours each day to reaching this goal.

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