How to promote yourself as a freelancer - 10 tips

Published on: 05 May 02:29

As a freelancer you are free, flexible…you can work and live wherever and whenever you want – sounds nice and like an easy, comfortable life? Well, yeah, these are the positive aspects of being independent. But there exist also negative ones: You have to take charge of paperwork, insurances, taxes and when to take your unpaid vacations! All by yourself and without any financial support of an employer. Besides, you have to be active in acquiring clients and in promoting yourself for standing out in the glutted market of freelancers. This requires a lot of discipline as well as self-responsibility. Thus, freelancers are anything but lazy! If you still want to become independent (it’s worth it!) and positionate your business, you should get comfortable with self-praise. Most people were raised in line with the slogan “self-praise stinks”, but if you don’t promote yourself and your business you will not survive. Therefore, it’s necessary to do self-marketing which doesn’t have anything to do with showing off. It’s just about showing ones knowledge and skills in an authentic and meaningful way.

But, how can you do that and what do you need?


1. Social Media

Thanks to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter everybody can attract attention to himself and his product or service. Social Media help us to maintain regular contact to our followers and clients on a very personal and emotional level. Besides, Social Media are useful for sharing news and informations as well as for announcing and organizing competitions or discount campaigns. Social Media is free (except for placing ads), almost everybody is using them and are today the most important marketing channel. That is why having Social Medie profiles is a must-have for every freelancer!

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is also a Social Media channel, but a special one because of its features. Apart from the standard profile LinkedIn provides a lot of options for adjusting and personalizing one’s profile individually with informations. In addition, there is the possibility of making one’s profile public for being found via Google. Another positive aspect is, that third parties can confirm one’s competences and skills, rising one’s credibility. Besides, references of projects and customers can be added to LinkedIn.

3. Blog or website

In contrast to Social Media, being suitable for interaction and news, an own online presence is rather used for imparting contact details, references, informations and knowledge. If you need a website only pro-forma, you can use a free website tool kit. But if you want to acquire customers, promote your business and be found in the search results, you should rather invest some money. Google degrades free websites because they don’t seem relevant. But no worries: by doing good research and writing interesting articles, your website will probably get a better place in the ranking. That’s because good content has an added value for potential clients. In the best case, your articles will be linked and forwarded, which makes Google consider it as important.

4. Content marketing

For writing high-quality articles, you have to do a lot of research for offering a certain value to the reader. It’s easy to just copy+paste texts, but in the longterm it’s bad for your business. It’s more recommended to pay attention to quality instead of quantity and to create articles with relevant information for your target audience, in order to make them stay longer on your website and, at the best, recommend your online presence! Word-of-mouth advertisting is and stays the best form of marketing!

5. SEO

A blogarticle needs more than being interesting and valuable – it also has to contain adequate keywords. Keywords are words on a website, helping the search engines to index and categorize the website’s content. But how does the search engine know which word is a keyword and which one isn’t? On the one hand, it depends on the frequency of a word on the website; on the other hand, it depends on whether Google can match the word to a certain group of words or not and whether search queries exist for this specific word. However, this does not mean that you should exaggerate using the same keyword over and over again – because search engines will consider it as an over-optimization and thus as manipulation. Tip: Try not to think about the keywords and write your content naturally. Afterwards, you can replace some words by a certain keyword without exaggeration. Remember that search engine optimization is enormously important for being found in the search queries. Many studies have shown that only the first ten (hence the first page!) search results are clicked on.

6. Find a niche

For calling yourself an expert, you have to specialize in one area. For being different to other rivals in that area, it’s recommended to find a niche with little competition but with a significant number of potential clients. As soon as you’ve found it, you’ll also have less trouble with being found in search engines. Offering a specific service also requires specific keywords for describing it precisely – with little competition you’ll therefore have a good ranking in Google.

7. Free work samples

At the beginning of your independence it’s relevant to building a solid customer base. And what is the easiest way to attract clients? Yes, with free samples. A free-two-days-course, a free ebook, a free trial – you’ll become known easier, you can prove your skills and, at the best, you’ll get positive references. But be careful! Don’t be too generous because people might abuse you.

8. Know your value

Knowing one’s own value is one of the most important and most difficult responsibility of a freelancer. Initially, you try to accept every order you can get, for not being left empty-handed. However, this requires a considerable amount of time which can be used for searching for better paid and more appropriate orders. Especially at online job markets are lots of freelancers, providing their service for dumping prices. Don’t get discouraged by those prices and don’t adjust your value to those prices, because good clients prefer to pay more for a better quality.

9. Email marketing

If you already have a customer base and some mail adresses, you can distribute newsletters as a cheap and easy ad material. With these kind of mailings you can communicate your services, share your recent blogposts, present special offers and announce news.

10. Offline marketing

Although online marketing is nowadays more important than the classic one, there are still some effective methods for increasing one’s reputation offline. Especially for an older clientele it is important not to renounce these kind of marketing measures. But also younger clients can be impressed by, for example, high-quality and creative business cards. Furthermore, they are very versatile: you can give them away after a customer visit, a fair event as well as for acquiring new clients, and so on.

For being successful in your job, you need to have the expertise on the one hand, and on the other hand, you need to be able to present yourself. But there is a third factor that matters: According to a study only 10% of the success are due to knowledge and skills, 30% depend on self-promotion and 60% (!) are due to connections! That’s why it is immensely important to set up a network, to establish and maintain contacts and to be present constantly – especially in Social Media.