Two vital tactics for creative freelancers looking for work, as lockdown lifts

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While the coronavirus pandemic has brought more change and challenge to the freelance labour market, opportunities for skilled and talented creatives who can work flexibly, with clear value-add and the bolt-on of experience, are still out there.

Some industries have seen an opportunity to pivot or adapt their business specifically because of covid-19. And as some companies are still growing, developing new products and competing for new clientele, the need for quick, niche help on a temporary basis is ongoing.

But as a single-person business, getting new clients can feel challenging as a lone freelancer.

That’s why we recently collated 32 tips on ways to get new clients as a freelancer during these challenging times, two of which creative industry freelancers simply can't do without, writes Sarah Young, vice-president of member engagement at Tide.

TACTIC ONE: Create marketing case studies, a standout portfolio /your own ‘lead magnet’

A great way to stand out from the crowd as the market gets back to normality is to impress prospective clients with a strong, up-to-date (even ‘covid-conscious’) case study and/or portfolio.

When creating case studies, it is important for creative industry freelancers to focus on ‘the tangibles’ – the outcomes, which you achieved for a customer. Try to answer the following:

  • What was the problem you helped the client solve?
  • How did you do it, or what was your solution?
  • What was the outcome or result?
  • ,

Bear in mind, how you get on here will depend on the type of freelancer you are. For example, if you are a PR freelancer, as well as sharing the coverage that you have achieved for your clients, can you demonstrate the impact on bigger-picture metrics, such as brand awareness, customer sentiment, or how your campaigns have contributed to the bottom line?

On the other hand, if you are graphic designer it might be better to show off your design style and output for previous projects through a visually-powerful portfolio. The only question now -- just how arresting can you make it?!

If you are a freelance writer, can you compose a snazzy, engaging synopsis and design of an e-book, based on a client’s content or, even better for your chances of being hired, based on content you already provided! First of course, check whether they already have such an e-book acting on their website as a lead magnet.

In one sense, the case studies we recommend in this section that you draw up, or the portfolio you make up, offline or online such as on Deviant Art, are your very own lead magnets. But an e-book might do the trick just as well!

TACTIC TWO: Use job boards to find companies in need of your freelance skills or services

Often ruled out by creatives, either because they believe what they do is too niche, or that ‘jobs’ aren’t really what they do because they really do ‘assignments,’ job boards are worth a good look.

If businesses are hiring for a relevant role in your industry, it is a good sign that they’ll be interested in what you have to offer. The best way to uncover these businesses is to use job aggregators, such as Indeed, or sector-specific boards like ArtsHub.

If you offer product design services and see a company hiring for a ‘Head of Product’ role, it is likely there’s an opportunity there – even perhaps if that vacancy does not specify its term, type or duration. Or are you a copywriting freelancer? Try looking for ‘content writer’ or ‘content executive’ roles because these often require copywriting as the foundational skill.

But don’t necessarily apply exactly like everyone else! If the listing includes the information of the company or hiring manager, have a look on LinkedIn and find the relevant person to reach out to directly. When you introduce yourself, you could ask if they would consider a freelancer for the position, or perhaps offer your services remotely until they find someone suitable for a full-time position. Covid-19 is still making face-to-face interviews and acceptances tricky, even in this Zoom age!

The above two tactics; one for finding completely new opportunities, and the other for drumming up business from existing clients or where you need to stand out from the crowd, are easy to try, and tweak

Not two (tactics) but three!

As a final tip for any creative freelancer not fancying this duo, try this: if you are in conversation with an agency rather than a client, consider offering to partner with the agency as a way to provide additional services to their existing clients. Agencies may wish to ‘white-label’ your services, so that you appear to be part of their team and their clients get a seamless experience, while you get the additional work and income! It’s definitely a possible win-win that’s worth mentioning to agencies upfront, so state loudly your willingness to collaborate -- assuming of course you’re willing to work with new parameters and new people in this new normal!

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