Great article Sonia. +1 for keeping things simple. I would also add that you must try keep the text on your website simple and lose the technical jargon. People probably don’t understand half the skills needed for your profession but will be happy as long as the job is done.
The Easy Way to Start Freelancing: Keep Things Simple
Posted October 24, 2011 in Getting Started
If you have been trying to launch a freelance career in any genre, you have probably felt the sting of an oversaturated market more than once. There are so many people out there vying for jobs, many of them lacking skill but snatched up because of their ridiculously low price. While the buyers who try this route often have to learn the hard way that this is the wrong road, it doesn’t help you in the meantime.
But being heard over the noise and standing out doesn’t have to mean you shout louder than the rest; that just adds to the clutter. Instead, you should take a minimalist approach, stripping the layers of bulk away and following a more simple blueprint toward success. I guarantee that if you make it a little easier, you will be better off.
You may be wondering how you can apply minimalist ideals to a freelance career. It is all about getting back to basics and ignoring the call of more complicated promotion and activity. This will reduce your legwork and let you focus on your real career.
Don’t Branch Out on Services
Every freelancer seems to be trying to provide a multifaceted service list straight out of the gate. They claim to be able to write everything from ghost-written novels to press releases, and they hatch together a sales ad that gives the price to each one like a shopping list.
But going this route will actually hurt more than help. If you focus on a single service for a time, you will be able to establish yourself as an expert while gaining important experience. Not to mention, you will be more able to take referrals, which is the easiest way of scoring work.
Start with a niche, then work your way up to offering more. You will also sometimes find clients who want other types of work done, which you can take when you are ready and start asserting yourself as an expert in that category as well.
Don’t Splurge on the Site
What is with the sudden increase in overcomplicated and flashy freelance sites? This seems to be a trend, but it actually detracts from rather than adds to your appeal. That is because most clients are looking for a quick peek into your abilities, not a full rundown of everything you have ever done, set with special effects and a light show. They have too many people to interview to be interested in all of that.
You need a simple, clean and efficient site that shows off what you can do. It should be fast loading, be easy to navigate and feature the best work you have done. It should also be updated on a regular basis, which won’t be easy if you have a difficult-to-use website unless you moonlight as a graphic designer.
I usually suggest to people that they create a simple and stylish blog or else a bare bones website with a couple of pages. I have even seen some amazing freelancer sites that were a single page, with a cool layout that gave everything in different, bordered sections and scroll menus.
Focus Your Web
One of the biggest mistakes of any kind of marketing is casting too wide of a web. When you do this, you will be able to bring in many different types of people as your audience, but without a target the results will be mixed and weak. You will have more eyes on you, but fewer quality customers to select from because only a slim number will be interested in what you have to offer. That means less work, not more.
Instead, you should be specific in how you approach your marketing. Use language intended to draw people with a specific niche, making it clear what you are offering. That will provide a platform to attract your target audience, a much smaller catch of potential clients that will improve your chances of getting quality work.
Plus, it will help to push the reputation you have for your area of expertise.
Keep Things Simple
As you can see, freelancing isn’t rocket science. If you keep things simple, you will be able to present yourself efficiently while focusing on your actual work. This will work much better than if you were running around, overextending yourself and shouting at the top of your lungs to be heard above all the others. This will be a lot less stressful, too, which will keep you on top of your game better than if you were hassled and strained.
So apply minimalism to your freelancing approach and see for yourself what the simpler way can do for you.
How do you keep things simple in your freelancing business?
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October 24th, 2011 at 8:47 am
October 24th, 2011 at 11:52 am
Definitely believe that which you stated.
October 24th, 2011 at 12:37 pm
Something caught my eye in the post: “There are so many people out there vying for jobs, many of them lacking skill but snatched up because of their ridiculously low price.”
That’s only true because freelancers use platforms that encourage this outcome. There are new platforms popping up, such as Fuseloop (http://fuseloop.com) which encourage prospects to connect directly with freelancers, bypassing the pricing race to the bottom. Freelancers need a new platform for connecting with prospects, one that establishes an equal relationship.
October 24th, 2011 at 5:14 pm
Going simple has been this theme of mine for a while now. In life, I’ve been trying to live as a minimalist, and it’s been a very slow process. I never thought to apply it to my freelancing as well.
You’re absolutely right, Sonia – I think I’ll be removing services I don’t feel 100% in offering at the moment, and concentrate solely on eCommerce copywriting for the meantime. :) Thanks for the eye-opener! (and I love Star Wars as well! :D)
October 24th, 2011 at 9:34 pm
The networking guru for our local Chamber of Commerce makes everyone introduce themselves and describe their business in four words. If you have to boil it down, you learn to figure out what’s important and what communicates best.
I’d be cautious, though, about an overly simple Web site. I had a bunch of clips posted on my first Web site that I didn’t transfer to my new Web site. As it turns out, those clips have been found by several other sites and have greatly helped my search engine optimization. So I’m going to create a simple library and repost them.
October 24th, 2011 at 11:47 pm
excellent.. simple always succeeds and keeps things in control. but one thing that i – and probably many others like me – need to do is read, re-read and re-re-read posts like this every once in a while so we make sure we are not off the track :)
thanks for the great post :)
October 25th, 2011 at 4:36 am
Definitely agree with what you said. Actually, myself am annoyed of all those ads and flashy banners I keep seeing on some other websites. It does not attract me, it makes my head hurt and they distract you from the main purpose of the website.
I actually try to stay away from methods of promotion I do not like or bother me on other websites.
October 25th, 2011 at 1:33 pm
yeah, excellent advice once again. I used to be everything: forum designer, blog designer, do some SEO, do some graphic design etc. I still ‘officially’ provide these, if I have a client who needs them, but I market myself more as a wordpress designer for instance, or web designer. For some of my clients, who need complex tasks to be done and this means work from their logo to the working forum/blog theme, I can provide them, but, when I bid for jobs or present my stuff, I just go with something I have the most experience in.
October 25th, 2011 at 2:16 pm
The problem with staying focus is that its a route not many can stomach. It usually means, appearing stubborn, unwilling to change, not moving on etc. It could really bring down one’s morale and spirit and cynicism sets in. That’s the make it or break it period. It’s not easy but the ones who stay on, are often the ones closest to the finishing line in the final lap.
October 26th, 2011 at 1:33 am
Focus is the most needed element in freelancing. Its a world of need and attraction. Its easily people may become jack of all trades but master of none.
So Keep focusing on what we do. I personally learn this from my own experience while starting my career, while designing i got idea to become a full code developer and again i made myself to become a seo expert. then social expert.
When I realised what i need to do i am half way gone, then I started myself to exhibit my stuff in micro job network which am feeling a great success as a freelancer.
So focus on what we do, rather than jumping form here and there.
October 26th, 2011 at 6:16 am
I really enjoyed reading this article this morning. Maybe it’s partially due to me being a coffee lover as well.
October 28th, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Make it simple, so that Client can reach you easily.
Rather than focusing on useless stuff, we should better concentrate on our work and should try to increase our marketing strategy.
October 29th, 2011 at 1:05 am
Great article, it’s like a wake-up call for me. I must redefine how I approach freelancing, by making it simple!
October 29th, 2011 at 9:27 am
Great articles Again.
@moncadamrNovember 2nd, 2011 at 3:52 pm
May the Focus be with us.
Thanks Sonia for your generosity
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