How To Advertise Your Freelance Career

Welcome back to freelancing month here on Amanda Cross Blog. I am so excited to share today's post. Check out this month's road map:

  1. 10 Lessons I Have Learned Freelancing On Upwork
  2. Should You Take Hourly or Fixed Price Jobs When Freelancing
  3. How To Advertise Your Freelance Career (this post)
  4. 10+ Freelancers Share Their Best Secrets To Getting The Job (coming 9/26)

This week we are going to chat about things that you can do to advertise your freelance career. We are going to break this down into: pre-work (before you get any clients), things you can do to advertise your freelance career, and then post-work (for once you have your first couple of clients.)

How To Advertise Your Freelance Career | Are you a new freelancer who is wondering how you will get clients? Read this post! In this post I share some great tips on how to advertise your freelance career and get your first clients fast!

Pre-Work

There are a couple of things that you should set up before you truly start freelancing. If you are in a crunch for time though, you can do this while you are doing the steps I share later to advertise your freelance career. It really depends on what works best for you and your business, and what helps you start making money the fastest.

Find Your Focus

You simply cannot freelance for everyone. You may have a few different services you offer, but you need to narrow it down as much as possible. It's great to branch out every blue moon, but at the end of the day focus is necessary to moving on in your freelance business.

Check out this post on Writing Revolt about how to pick a highly profitable freelance niche.

Create A Website

Creating a website or portfolio for your business is crucial. It doesn't have to be anything price-y at all, it just has to make sense for your freelance career.

Some people opt to create a one-pager on a site like Adobe Spark Page (check out my one-page Adobe Spark freelance website here.) Alternatively, you could create a blog on a site like Squarespace, Wordpress, or Blogger and create a freelance or hire me page that delves deeper into your freelance career.

Ultimately, I believe that freelancers (especially writers) need to have a site with blogging capabilities because you can create a huge treasure trove of samples that will help you land the job.

Gather & Create Samples For that Site

Whether you are a freelance writer, graphic designer. or anything in between you need a few samples up your sleeves. These samples don't have to be for actual clients, you could create them for your blog or just for fake people. Some people offer their services to people for free or cheap to build their portfolio, but in many cases that doesn't lead to future work and it devalues the work that you do.

Look back to what you have done in the past. Do you have some projects you worked on in college or in high school? Dust off some of those old projects, see if you can tweak or update them, and then use those for your portfolio as well.

Create your Initial Rate Card

How much will you charge right away?

You can always update your initial rate soon after you start freelancing and when you start understanding the scope of being a freelancer.

Before you get to that, though, you want to focus on what you will initially charge. Will you go for hourly or fixed price job? How much is your hourly time worth? Will you have a system for pricing fixed priced jobs? Think about that as you create your initial rate card.

Your rate card doesn't have to be a card that you literally make (although you could create a nice PDF with all your rate information.) But you should write it down and be prepared to justify why you are worth that amount of money.

Many clients want to be frugal (even if that is annoying sometimes) but most are willing to be flexible if you can prove your worth. More than anything, don't be too flexible with this because you just want to get a job. Stick to your intuitions and the right client will come along eventually.

Create business cards

Last, but certainly not least, create some business cards. I recently created these super simple business cards using Vistaprint, but there are SO many ways to create a business card. You can DIY them and print them yourself, or you can use a site like Vistaprint, MOO, or Minted to create your cards.

Either way, you want to create some nice cards that you can pass out to anyone you meet at a conference or at an event. These are simple, and I like them because the back is empty and not coated. That way I can share a simple message on the back of any cards that I give out and give people a refresher on who I am or when they are filing away my business card they can write on the back.

Business Cards

15 Frequently Asked Questions About Freelancing

Post1_(1)

Subscribe to get all of your frequently asked questions about freelancing answered like who hires freelancers, what you need to get started with freelancing, and taxes as a freelancer.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

7 Things You can Do To Advertise Your Freelance Career

Now that you have all your pre-marketing work done, let's get into some simple things that you can do to advertise the fact that you are freelancing.

Tell Your Friends, Family & Colleagues About Your Freelance Career

If you were just starting a blog, you probably wouldn't want to depend on friends and family too much, but since you are starting a freelance career you want to do this. Pass some of your cards to any friends, family, or colleagues you know that might have some connections for you. Maybe they know someone at their office or maybe they might just be in the right place at the right time to let people know about your awesomeness. It doesn't hurt to give them a few cards to keep in their wallets in case a freelance opportunity comes about.

When you do this, you need to make sure that they are clear about what you do. In order to do that, though, you need to be crystal clear about what you do. There is no way to get great referrals from family and friends if you aren't clear about the type of jobs that you want. Be clear about the type of freelancer that you are. Do you design logos? Do you create content? What type of clients do you want to serve? Businesses, Writers, Photographers? Get clear, and let them know that.

Join Any Freelance Sites You Can To Do Some quick Jobs

As you know, I really love Upwork for quick freelance writing jobs. If you take it seriously, it's so easy to jump in and start gathering a pretty awesome portfolio of content. Look for any quick jobs that you can--don't go for the hourly jobs right away. Build up your profile, do amazing work, and you can start getting paid right way while creating a name for yourself on that platform and building your portfolio.

Gather All Your Testimonials

One great thing about Upwork is that you can start getting testimonials easily from that site. Once your job is finished, your person can give you a rating and actual text feedback which is nice.

Also, don't be afraid to gather feedback from other places. For example, if you have a blog and you have a particularly meaty blog post that helped people immensely, gather that feedback too. You want to showcase anything on your freelance site that showcases how amazing your writing, graphic design, voice overs, etc. are.

Reach Out To Potential Clients

You cannot expect that potential clients will always come to you, that's just not likely. There are SO many freelancers and some businesses don't even know that they need freelance services. So, you have to learn to pitch your services if you want to get bigger and better jobs. Upwork can be a great place to test your pitch that is sort of an in-between (since businesses list their jobs and you apply), but your ultimate goal should be to break free from sites like this and get bigger and better jobs as time goes on.

Learn more about how to write a pitch letter by reading this blog from Successful Freelance Mom. Also, read this post on Forbes titled 5 Steps To Cold Pitch Prospective Clients As A Freelancer.

Guest post On Other Sites

This tip is geared toward all my freelance writers out there. Guest posting on other sites is great for a couple of reasons:

  1. It showcases all your awesome writing skills and sets you up as an authority on issues related to your niche.
  2. It exposes your work to an entirely new audience that could potentially be of value or need your services.
  3. It increases your SEO by providing a backlink to your website and therfore overtime providing a ton of great views to your site through that. For more about SEO check out my archive of posts about that topic.

Now, obviously, guest posting is a lot of hard work. It takes time and energy, and it can often take you away from your actual freelance clients for a bit, but I would strive to do one good guest post every month so you can get in front of new audiences and network with new people.

Use Social Media To your Advantage

If you are not using social media to your advantage as a freelancer, you should definitely be doing that. There are SO many opportunities to network online, here are a couple of ways to take advantage of those:

Social media Bios

If you are a freelancer, you should include that in your biography, in your name, and in other searchable places on your social media profile (such as your actual social media updates.) People want to know who you are at a glance, so they often check out your profile's bio. Make sure that you include that you are a freelancer in that bio as well as give your new followers a way to contact you if they want to inquire about your services.

Showcase Your Work

Obviously, social media can be a great way to showcase the work that you do. This is social media, so you don't want to be all sales all the time, but a good amount of your updates should be you showcasing all the amazing stuff that you are doing as a freelancer.

The power of Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are amazing. I have chatted about how to market your blog post in Facebook groups before, but you can also use Facebook groups to find jobs. I have gotten work from someone seeing my content in Facebook groups before, but people also post their jobs in Facebook groups. Don't be afraid to respond to virtual assistant or copywriter jobs that happen in Facebook groups, you can find some great work that way!

Use your Email Signature

Do you send a lot of emails? Add your freelancing website to your email signature. It takes just a few seconds, but you never know who you are sending mail to. That person's business may be looking for a freelance writer to create a blog post or a graphic designer to create a logo. One email signature could land you in a great contract!

15 Frequently Asked Questions About Freelancing

Post1_(1)

Subscribe to get all of your frequently asked questions about freelancing answered like who hires freelancers, what you need to get started with freelancing, and taxes as a freelancer.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Post-Work

Okay, now that you have advertised and you have some great work up your sleeves, what should you do to continue to get access to past and future clients? Here are some tips:

Keep Up With your Freelance Clients

First, and foremost, keep up with your freelance clients. Add them on a professional network like LinkedIn and continue to chat with them and showcase your new work on LinkedIn. This is great because it will keep you top of mind for new opportunities as they will be able to follow your path as a freelance writer.

Make sure that you are taking the time to follow-up and get more work. Ultimately, a long-term client that offers consistent work will be much better for you because you won't have to pitch as many clients over time.

Check out this article from Careful Cents called 9 Steps for Securing Consistent Freelance Jobs at Home.

Continue To Share Freelance Projects With Family & Friends

I know that we talked about family and friends earlier, but you should still be talking with them now. Especially as you are coming into your own as a freelancer, they should be knowledgeable about all the things that you are accomplishing. Let them know about the awesome new client you just landed, the great feedback you got on an assignment, or the repeat client you are working with. The more they know about your freelance business, the more confident they will feel sharing it with their network. So, don't be afraid to keep talking about your freelance career with the people in your circle.

Continue to update Your Website Or portfolio

Your website is not a one-then-done project. It is a project that should change and morph as you grow. Take some time every couple of weeks to update your portfolio with fresh, new articles that you have written. This will breathe new life into your portfolio, and give potential clients more examples of your work.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, y'all! Today on the blog we chatted about how to advertise your new freelance career. I hope that you found today's tips very useful. Have you started your freelance business yet? What will you do today to advertise your business?

How I Made My Pinterest Smart Feed Work For Me

You need to read this before you start creating content for your Pinterest account.

Before you ever follow a single person or board.

I am going to drop some knowledge that I have learned from experience.

Your Smart Feed can be a curse or a work of art.

I am going to teach you how I made my Pinterest Smart Feed work for me.

How I Made My Pinterest Smart Feed Work For Me | The Smart Feed is a great source of content on any Pinterest account, but how do you leverage it so that it showcases exactly what you want? Furthermore, how do you change it if your Smart Feed is a hot mess? Click through, because I am giving you all that information and more!

You Must Know the Smart Feed

I have been using Pinterest for years now. When I got my new Pinterest account for Amanda Cross Blog I knew about the power of the Smart Feed, and I knew I had to treat it with care.

When I started using Pinterest for my other blog The Happy Arkansan, I was kinda wreckless. That coupled with the fact that the account was just my old personal account converted into a business account didn't help.

My Smart Feed for The Happy Arkansan is a mess. I have stuff there about all sorts of stuff from fashion to college to lifestyle to blogging and everything in between. It makes it impractical to use it for the purpose of actually pinning content.

Amanda Cross Blog's Smart Feed on the other hand, is the work of art I was talking about. Take a look:

Pinterest Smart Feed

At any given day this is what my Smart Feed for Amanda Cross Blog usually looks like. Usually the only things that are out of place are the advertisements and I can easily spot them because of that.

If you can create a Smart Feed like this you can cut down the amount of time you spend pinning considerably and work on other avenues of your brand because of that.

But, how do you get to this point in your Pinterest feed?

I am going to show you today.

1. Strategically Pin Content

Pinterest wants to keep you on their site longer. We have all been on our Pinterest binges before. You look up one thing, and all of a sudden you are down a rabbit hole of similar content.

You want your Smart Feed to be a rabbit hole of similar content to pin.

So, if you strategically think about the topics that you blog about, then you can translate that into content you pin about.

Since I am a blogger who talks about blogging, social media, making money online, and topics of that nature, that is the kind of content I pin on Pinterest. The only thing I ever pin that goes a bit astray of that is my board for home office inspiration, but if you want to make money online, a home office is somewhat essential so it still works out.

When you pin about a bunch of random stuff, you send Pinterest mixed signals. Pinterest isn't sure what to send you, so instead it just sends you a mish mash of information.

Get clear with Pinterest in what you want to know about, by pinning about the same kinds of things consistently.

Many bloggers want to pin their favorite recipes and things that make their brand look more human, and you could do that, but only if you want a Smart Feed that is more random in nature. People don't come to Amanda Cross Blog for the latest recipes, and so I don't pin about recipes either.

2. Strategically Name & Create Boards

Pinterest also draws from your board titles.

Recently I have seen a lot of the pins on my Smart Feed come with a "recommended for {insert board I have}" This means that Pinterest is actively looking at your board titles and recommending pins in your Smart Feed specifically for those boards.

So...what do you do with that information? Well, you create boards that matter. You create boards that you would like to get pins for.

For example I like to think that my blog is geared towards new and beginner bloggers. I have multiple Pinterest boards about blogging:

  • Blogging | Blogging Tips | Blogging Advice
  • Blog Traffic
  • Blog Post Headlines and Ideas
  • The Best Tips For New Bloggers
  • and many more

So many of my boards have the title blog, blogger, or bloggers in it.

As another example I have a social media board, but I also have boards about:

  • Pinterest Marketing
  • Facebook Marketing
  • Twitter Marketing
  • Instagram Marketing

Often all of my posts for these specific boards can all go to my social media board so I each time I find a piece on Pinterest I can pin it to two boards which is nice because it makes my account more active.

Obviously though, breaking this down further is helpful for the Smart Feed because it now realizes that I am actually very interested in articles about specific social networks and not just social media in general.

3. Strategically Follow Other people

Another place that your Smart Feed picks up content from are the people that you follow on Pinterest.

Many new Pinterest users want to get their numbers up so they participate in random follow-all threads on Facebook for Pinterest. DO NOT DO THIS. It is so easy to attract Pinterest followers without doing this, and doing so will seriously mess up your Smart Feed.

I have gotten hundreds of followers on Pinterest since I started my account back in February and I have never participated in any follow all threads. It is possible to create a great community on Pinterest without them.

Your Smart Feed pulls recommendations from a bunch of different places and one of those places is content that those you follow share on social media. So, if the people you follow on Pinterest share random things, they will make your Smart Feed random.

If you want to participate in social media threads for Pinterest do the threads that don't require you to follow everyone. Then, follow the people who align with your Pinterest strategy. This is the best way to make sure that you don't have a completely random Smart Feed.

What If My Pinterest Feed Is Already A Hot Mess?

Here is the strategy I have been using to clean up my other feed.

Unfollowing random accounts

Yes, it sucks, but you gotta unfollow the accounts that are creating randomness on your feed. No one wants to be that person, but once you start unfollowing those people little by little it can make an impact on what is recommended to you.

Deleting Random Boards

Yes, you will see a slight decrease in following because certain people in your audience were just following the boards you are deleting, but you will gain back so many more relevant followers. When I first started really taking my Pinterest for The Happy Arkansan seriously I had about 1,100 followers. I decided to get rid of the boards that didn't matter as much, and I did have an initial decrease in followers--but as I begin to create relevant boards and pin to them I now have over 8,000 followers on Pinterest so I think it was worth it.

Pinning (More) Relevant Content

Now that you have deleted random boards, it's time to create relevant boards, and pin more relevant content. The more relevant content you pin (and the longer you pin that relevant content) the more Pinterest will update and begin to transform other elements of your Pinterest experience. So, over time, your Smart Feed will begin to change.

Conclusion

So, there you have it, my best tips for making the Pinterest Smart Feed work for me.

So, what if you start doing all of this, and your Pinterest Smart Feed still looks like a disaster? Give it time. Smart Feeds can be reversed, but it will take time for it to start happening. My Smart Feed for my other blog The Happy Arkansan used to look like a hot mess, but since I have followed this advice, it's actually started to clean up a bit. 

Pinterest changes don't happen overnight, you wouldn't want them to because that could seriously alter your pinning strategy. So, just give it time, continue on the path outlined in this post, and you will see your feed start to change.

Should You Take Hourly or Fixed Price Jobs When Freelancing

Welcome back to freelancing month here on Amanda Cross Blog. I am so excited to offer another piece of the puzzle today. Check out this month's road map:

  1. 10 Lessons I Have Learned Freelancing On Upwork
  2. Should You Take Hourly or Fixed Price Jobs When Freelancing (this post)
  3. How To Advertise Your Freelance Career
  4. 10+ Freelancers Share Their Best Secrets To Getting The Job (coming 9/26)

Yep, you heard that right, today we are chatting about the hotly debated topic: hourly versus fixed price work.

A lot of people tend to have very strong feelings about which pricing structure is appropriate.

I tend to lean on the fixed price side myself, but I do understand the purpose and importance of hourly work.

Today I hope to shed a lot of light on the hourly versus fixed priced debate for y'all. 

Should You Take Hourly Or Fixed Price Jobs When Freelancing | Click through for my best tips on which freelancing price structure may work best for you. Here are my two cents on the hourly versus fixed price job debate.

Hourly Work 101

One of the most common ways that people get paid for freelance work is the hourly structure. This works similar to any kind of job that you would have. For every hour you spend working, you charge the client an hourly fee. This fee can be anything you set and really just depends on your experience, what you need to survive, and how much you feel comfortable charging.

Hourly work, in my opinion, is great for new freelancers who aren't quite comfortable figuring out a project based fee yet. Maybe you aren't sure how long it will take you to complete a 1000 word article, so you would choose hourly work so that you know you are compensated fairly for each hour of work you put into the project.

The downside? Hourly work can't take into consideration other factors such as how much the client will potentially make from your work (and if that means anything to you) as well as how much work you put in (if you are a fast and great freelancer.) For example, the more you write, the faster you get at it. So, if you are charging your hourly rate to write a piece of content, it may take you only a couple of hours, but it's great content! Hourly pricing doesn't take that into consideration.

I think that you have to be careful when picking which projects you want to be hourly because of that.

Long term projects are awesome when charged hourly, though, because it allows you to more accurately judge the expenses that you will endure. For example, if you think a project will take 60 hours, but it actually takes 120 hours, with a fixed price job you will be paid the exact same rate. As you get more experienced you will be more accurate with your predictions of how long projects will take, but at the beginning it's good to be hourly until you know how long projects will take you.

Hourly projects do have another downside, and that is the "all up in your business" factor.

At least for me, this is an issue, because I work in a lot of random ways. Sometimes I am very focused, while other times I am not so. I like to take random breaks to watch YouTube videos so that I can calm my nerves, and just in general I can't sit and work for hours on end normally.

My type of work is too sporadic and maybe not the best for hourly work because you have to showcase what you are doing with the project every hour, and with some hourly billing programs, every 10 minutes. Last week when I talked about Upwork, I told y'all that I didn't like their hourly system because it takes screenshots of your work every 10 minutes and it is quite distracting. Many freelancing hourly systems work in a similar way with random screenshots and check-ins in tow.

15 Frequently Asked Questions About Freelancing

Post1_(1)

Subscribe to get all of your frequently asked questions about freelancing answered like who hires freelancers, what you need to get started with freelancing, and taxes as a freelancer.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Fixed Price Work 101

With fixed price work, you work with the client to set up a fixed price for the project. You will get that amount whether it takes you 30 minutes or 40 hours. This works well for people, especially if you work quickly.

For example, if you are charged with the task of redoing an About Me page, for some that may take hours, but for a seasoned About Me page writer, that may not take the same amount of time. If you are great and quick at what you do, an hourly structure wouldn't work well for you because most companies won't pay $300 an hour, even if you promise that it will only take one hour. On the other hand, many companies and entrepreneurs may pay a $300 flat fee for an excellent About Me page (or more!)

As I talked about in the previous section about hourly work, fixed price work also works well if you need frequent breaks and you don't work through entire hours. I am not one to work consistently through an hour because I get too distracted to do so. If I work an hourly job, I have to continually turn my tracking software on and off just to take a quick break or I have to add up how much I actually spent working versus taking a break. With a fixed price structure, I am free to work in the way that is most convenient for me, and I can take breaks when I want to.

Fixed price work can also be excellent for simple one-off jobs. Many of the articles that I write for companies I do so in a fixed price manner. It's much easier than starting up an hourly tracking software for just one article.

15 Frequently Asked Questions About Freelancing

Post1_(1)

Subscribe to get all of your frequently asked questions about freelancing answered like who hires freelancers, what you need to get started with freelancing, and taxes as a freelancer.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Which One Is For You?

I think that you can float easily between hourly and fixed price work. Some jobs will be better suited for an hourly structure, while some jobs will be better as a fixed price job.

I think that you need to work with your client to discuss their expectations for the job and then create a pricing structure that works best for both of you.

Some people will adore the fixed picture structure while some people will lean on the hourly one. No structure is better than the other as long as you feel fairly compensated for the work that you do.

Extra Resources

Here are some other blogs and their take on the hourly versus fixed priced debate:

The Great Pricing Debate: Hourly Rates vs. Project Pricing from Bidsketch

Understanding The Difference Between Fixed And Hourly Jobs On Upwork from Hustle & Groove

Hourly vs. Fixed-Price vs. Value Billing: Which is Best? from Lean Labs

Pricing: Hourly Rates vs. Fixed Prices from Sidecar

The Hourly Rate vs. Fixed Bid Debate from Fundera

Conclusion

How you price your freelance jobs can have a big effect on satisfaction from that job. It is important to consider how you will price as you work with a client. Be sure to get the full scope of the project so that you can give the most accurate price. Many clients want the most work for the least amount of money, so you have to be sure that you can get to a price that accurately covers your expenses and hard work on the project.