GUIDE • 4 mins

How To Successfully and Efficiently Grow Your Freelance Business

Emily Disman

It is pretty clear that the world as we know it has forever changed in light of COVID-19, and life is not going to return back to a so-called normal in the blink of an eye.

Human interaction will still warrant caution, and people will be wary of how they go about their day-to-day activities for the foreseeable future. This idea of the “new normal” expands past an individual level and into business models and group culture. COVID-19 has brought many new work practices into perspective, one of which being that the future is freelance.

In this new “coronaconomy,” freelancers are highly sought-after. Freelancers are hired at a company's discretion, so they cost less money to hire compared to a retainer. They have unparalleled niches in their areas of expertises and are unbiased towards the inner workings of a company. These characteristics allow them to create meaningful partnerships that allow both the freelancers and the clients to prosper.  

To some people, the switch to freelancing may sound scary. It may be intimidating for people who were always planning on working full-time for one company to realize that jobs are fleeting and freelancing is the more realistic option. But, according to Freelancer’s “Fast 50” report, freelance job postings rose 41% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Freelancing is a work space that is exponentially growing, only to be skyrocketed due to COVID-19 and its recovery. These tips will help you to grow your freelance business, even if you are starting from scratch.

Freelancer's laptop setup with apple and glass of water.

Determine Your Goals

What do you want to achieve? These goals can be both long-term and short-term, and they can span into the farthest depths of your imagination. Just make sure that you are passionate and open to the possibilities that are right in front of you. You never know when an opportunity will present itself and a goal will turn into a reality.

Secure a Profitable Niche

Freelancers are particularly valuable because of their expertise in a specific niche. They know the ins and outs of the business category in which they work, and they can easily fill a knowledge void for prospective clients. The ability for a company to supplement their staffing with specialty freelancers is beneficial to all stakeholders. If you are looking to grow your freelance business, determine your niche and market yourself as the intelligent and qualified expert that you are. Give people a reason to want to hire you!

Identify Your Target Market

Where can you add the most value? Who do you see as your future clients? This is important to keep in mind as you market yourself. While you do want your resume to be well-rounded, you should keep your target audience in mind. If you veer too far off your intended path and stray away from your profitable niche, it will be difficult for potential clients to see your expertise and unique value proposition. According to And Co, 70% of freelancers juggle between two and four projects at a time. Identify and choose clients and projects that you are passionate about and that you will be excited to wake up everyday and work for. This positive energy will radiate to those you work with, helping to create a brand for yourself. People will want to work with you.

Develop and Maintain Strong Relationships

Some say that your first impression is everything, and we agree that this is 100% true. In the case of freelance, every interaction is important. According to a study done by And Co, 91% of freelancers find work through word of mouth and referrals. Therefore, the relationships you make, whether they be with a past boss, a current client, or a fellow freelancer, can help pave your entire career. If you do amazing work and have strong relations with a client, they may then refer you to another company.

Create a Portfolio 

This is where you can really show off to everyone what you are capable of. Your portfolio is a representation of your work, talent, and experience all compiled into one place. Highlight your portfolio’s professional characteristics while also maintaining your own personality. This is ultimately how you can stand out in a crowd of freelancers looking to get the same job as you.

Learn How to Pitch Yourself

If you can’t convince yourself that you are great at your job, then it will be very difficult for you to convince other people of this same fact. Confidence is key. Make sure that you are proud of the work you have done and the valuable skills that you possess, and you should be able to emanate that in conversation. Being able to communicate fluidly and professionally is one of the most valuable skills for a freelancer. This could be to prospective clients, fellow freelancers, or even your Uber driver. The more that you practice speaking clearly and articulately, the better you will become. While it is a cliche saying, it is true that practice makes perfect.

It is clear that the future is freelance. These tips and tricks are just the beginning steps to growing your freelance business. So, whether you are starting from the ground up or you have been freelancing for a while and just need some motivation, use these tips to help guide your business. While COVID-19 has complicated our world in many ways, you still have the capabilities to grow your brand and your business.