Last week I emailed Aspect Avenue members with a list of some researched freelancer platforms/marketplaces that should have less competition than the likes of Fiverr, Upwork, PeoplePerHour etc.
These kinds of platform do have their uses, do bring in business for lots of freelancers, and can be helpful for starting a relationship with new clients… I met some brilliant clients myself in the past, through fivesquid.com.
Also, LinkedIn will soon have its own freelancer marketplace (“LinkedIn Marketplaces”) which is set to launch around September 2021, and could be a fantastic opportunity for freelancers.
But of course, depending only on these platforms and neglecting other sources for new clients is not a good idea.
One reason is that you are not in control of the platform. The sites can change their fees, algorithms, terms etc. at any time, or ban/close your account for not following their rules to the letter (such as for you taking an additional payment from a client outside of their system)…or the site/s could even go out of business. Any of which could have a massive effect on your income.
Another reason is that not all, but most people looking to outsource work to freelancers on these sites are interested in saving money, and price is a major factor in their buying decision. Competing on price – especially in an environment where there’s a huge amount of competition – is bad for business!
It will be interesting to see what LinkedIn Marketplaces will bring… I imagine it working somewhat differently, in the sense that clients will in general be prepared to pay you what you are worth, and the competition aspect might work differently… I’ll be following the progress of LinkedIn Marketplaces and let you know what’s going on…
Creating a reliable and consistent income
Many freelancers depend too much on freelancer marketplaces, and are prevented from growing their business in a way where they are in control and can work on creating a reliable and consistent income.
Building a lasting relationship with your customers should be a main goal. Stay in touch, communicate well, and develop a genuine professional friendship.
Find and connect with your customers outside of freelance platforms, on social media maybe, where you might also ask if you can email them.
Build your client database, even if it’s just on a spreadsheet to begin with, and an email list. Your databases of existing clients and prospects/leads are one of the most valuable assets in your business, and you are in full control of it.
A few additional, basic methods for finding new clients
These might not be amazing new ideas you’ve never head of, but they can be very effective if approached with consistency. Lack of consistency is where a lot of freelancers trip up in marketing.
Consistently ask for referrals. Word of Mouth is an effective marketing method if you get more strategic about it. Don’t wait for people to recommend you – ask! See if clients can help you find more potential clients who might benefit from your services.
Try Job Boards. When using job boards, you don’t have to sign up for an account, or have high rated profiles to land a job… You can view a job and directly contact the client via email with a proposal. Of course, you should wow them with a great proposal document, examples, testimonials…whatever you can do to impress them and make yourself stand out from other applicants.
Cold email is an underutilised method. Even if you only approach a handful of relevant companies and individuals per day, it adds up. It can lead to all sorts of opportunities. Naturally many emails will be ignored, and you may get the occasional unkind reply, but with persistence, it can be very fruitful over time. Keep a record of your mailings and follow up a number of times in a respectful way. It may take a few emails for a particular recipient to see/open your email, but as I said, spending even a little time emailing, consistently, daily is more likely to yield result than not doing it…!
You might have thought of this already :) but social media can be great. You just need to be in the relevant communities and social platform Groups where your target market hangs out. The key is to not spam of course, but be there as an expert, give value, network…and opportunities arise naturally simply by you being active and strategic. This is a huge topic, for another day! Suffice to say, get good at using social media by studying, and training yourself.
Agree or disagree?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.
Aspect Avenue Founder. Victor has worked at home for 20 years, mainly as a web designer, developer and web consultant since before the days of Google and social media! He has been involved with a variety of business ideas, and worked with a wide variety of business types, large and small. Aspect Avenue is now his main business.