In my last post I talked about a three-phase strategy that will help you get your freelance business off the ground this summer.
The Summer Success Challenge, as I dubbed it, helps you focus on three distinct phases of the freelancing process, building your business from one level to the next over the period of three months.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
The stages I laid out were actually the steps I took when I first started freelancing (albeit I ran through them a lot quicker than three months because I only had a month to kickstart my business!).
If you’ve been following along, we’re now on month two of the challenge, which is all about getting it all together. That means:
- Solidifying your range of services
- Determining EXACTLY who you want to help with your business
- Putting this message out on your website in a clear and concise way
- Figuring out how you’re going to reach out to the people you want to help
But, let’s face it.
Three months seems like a long time to be getting things in order, right? Ideally, you want to be testing the waters from the start and seeing where your services stick and where they could be improved.
So how do you do that?
By actually shopping them to potential clients.
That’s right – if you want fast results you have to start pitching your services and connecting with your target clients from the very start.
So, as an aid to Phase Two in the Summer Success Challenge, here are three unique ways you can start connecting with potential clients from day dot (regardless of what kind of business you run).
These should give you some ideas for pressing the “all in” button on your business and getting yourself moving forward every single day.
And, to top it off, summer is the perfect time to try these methods.
1. Pitch Improvements to Potential Clients
The key to getting clients is standing out.
When you’re only applying for freelance jobs through job boards and other popular methods, you’re pitching yourself against hundreds of other freelancers, some of whom will be more experienced than you and more suited for the role.
That doesn’t say anything bad about you – it’s just life. In most situations, there will be someone more suited.
So how can you counteract this?
By eliminating the competition! The less people you’re up against, the higher chance you have of landing a client, which is why cold emailing can be so successful.
Companies aren’t necessarily looking for a freelancer, but if you’re pitch lands in their inbox and they’re intrigued, they’re going to want to find out more.
There’s a really great way you can make cold emailing worthwhile and more difficult for potential clients to say no, and it’s something I like to call “pitching improvements.”
- Identify the websites of your target clients and spend a couple of minutes browsing around. Keep an eye out for things that work and things that could be improved, whether that’s because they have a shoddy blog that could be ten times better, or whether the website would have more oomph if they used personalised illustrations.
- Send an intro email to the brand highlighting who you are, what you do, and your suggestion for an improvement.
- Make sure it’s a specific improvement, not something vague. You want it to be something that seems like an easy fix for them.
The reason this method works so well is because people like an easy fix.
Brands might be less inclined to hire someone who says they “help brands get more conversions” than someone who says that “the copy on their sales page isn’t performing as best as it could do because it’s written in a passive voice”.
You see the difference?
The second option offers a fix (by changing the copy to an active voice) rather than a vague promise (more conversions).
Potential clients will be more inclined to hire you for a one-off job to “fix” the problem you pitch them with, and then you’ve got your foot in the door which is the most important part of the process.
As soon as you’ve done one job for a client, they’re more likely to hire you for another job, and another, as well as recommend you to other businesses they know if you do a good job.
2. Summer Social Events
The great thing about summer is that many brands, businesses, and industries will host tonnes more events: the weather is nice, there are more options for activities to throw, and people are generally feeling more sociable.
Which is great news for you, freelancer!
Why? Because summer social events are GREAT for networking and getting your name out there.
Think about it this way: are you more likely to remember someone who emailed you one time with an offer of their services, or someone who you’ve physically met in person, shook their hand, and shared a beer or two with?
I think I know the answer to that one!
Creating connections is human nature, and the summer months bring plenty more opportunities to do this. Look out for:
- Summer social events for local businesses that fall into your target client category
- Industry events where businesses in your niche will be hanging out
- Social events for fellow freelancers (we’ll talk more about how this is a huge benefit in a moment)
Once at these events, you can open up dialogue with a whole host of different people who may or may not need your services.
If they do – great! They’re ten times more likely to remember you when you follow up later or when they need someone to carry out the services you provide.
If not – no problem! They might know someone who is looking for a freelancer who does what you do and, if they’ve met you face to face, they’re more likely to recommend you as a hiring option.
3. Partner Up with Other Freelancers
It’s common knowledge that the freelancing world takes a bit of a nosedive in the summer months – people are more likely to be on holiday and are spending less time at work, which means projects can dry up and you’ll often find yourself going through low-money months when the sun’s out.
But that doesn’t mean you have to panic or give up.
The truth is, the vast majority of creatives face the same issue: less client work over the summer months.
So how can you possibly battle against something that’s so common in the freelancing world?
By partnering up with other creatives to land bigger gigs.
If you’re a writer, you might choose to pair up with a graphic designer to offer website packages to clients, or if you’re a developer, you might collaborate with a designer to create a package for app development.
This works for a number of reasons:
- Your offer is unique and not just one-dimensional
- You have access to a whole host of different clients than if you were just offering your services alone (think of the other freelancer’s network, for example)
- You open yourself up to a variety of different projects that you might not have been able to do if you were just a writer, designer, or developer
Projects are more likely to be thin on the ground during the summer months, but if you partner up, you’re giving yourself a chance to get in the running.
So how do you meet other creatives to partner up with?
- Attend summer social events! See what I did there? Have a look at Meetup.com in your area to see if there are any freelancer meet ups and mingle with people who practice other disciplines than you.
- Network on Facebook. Join groups that are filled with other creatives (even if they live on the other side of the world) and see how you can partner up to create a set of special services that combine two disciplines.
- Reach out online. Search for fellow creatives in your area on Twitter and Instagram and set up a few Skype or coffee dates to get to know them. Most freelancers will be willing to meet up for a chat, and you can discuss blending your services together to reach more clients.
There you have it, three ways you can quickly boost your business this summer by getting creative.
Not only will these methods help you get your feet on the ladder and test the waters with your services, but they’ll also get you used to pitching both clients and other freelancers.
And, as an extra bonus, you’ll be creating new connections over the summer and expanding your network – one of your most important assets as a freelancer!
Tell me, will you be using any of these methods this summer? Let me know in the comments below!
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