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How to advertise as a freelancer

We've updated this guide on 15th February 2021

If you’re not sure how to advertise as a freelancer, there are a few hacks to be aware of. Going freelance can be a daunting prospect in itself, and getting custom for your new sole trader business is critical to your success. 

Here are six useful hacks to use when you’re getting started.

1. A website

This is key. In order to build your credibility, you should make sure that you have a professional-looking website. This can include anything from blogs to testimonials from previous clients, examples of the work you do, details to contact you and your rates.

When you create your website, make sure that you have a domain name that fits the service you offer. If you’re a caterer, for example, the domain www.MonkeyBiz.com would not be a very good signpost to people browsing, whereas something more relevant like www.stawberriesandcream.com gives a good indication of what you do. 

2. How to advertise as a freelancer with SEO

If you’ve never heard of this before, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s basically a method of making your website visible to a search engine. When a prospective client searches, “freelance writer” for instance, you want your website to appear on the first page of the search engine. 

To do this, you have to write the content of your website using what’s known as keywords. Keywords are based on what people search for online month to month. If you were a freelance writer, here are a few examples of keywords that you might try to include on your homepage to be visible:

  • Freelance writer UK
  • How much does a freelance writer cost
  • Freelance writer marketing
  • How to find a good freelance writer

It’s possible to do the basic SEO yourself with a bit of research around the topic, but you may want to get professional help. Google’s SEO guide is a good place to start. 

3. Social Media

Social media platforms are a great place to spread the word about your freelance business. They should be used in different ways to best utilise their features:

  • LinkedIn – B2B, a great place to either find work, post your availability to work or to update your professional community on the progress of your business.
  • Facebook – this is a great platform for community building. You can join groups with other freelancers and build up a close professional network
  • Instagram – similarly, Insta is a great place to find a community of freelancers to share ideas with and combine your networks, but it’s also a great space to show off your work! High quality images and thoughtful captions will go a long way
  • Twitter – this is a good platform to cement your rallying cry as a business and to connect with journalists if you decide you want to grow with PR. It’s also a great place to keep up with what’s relevant and trending, which can be useful when it comes to content for your website.

The more active you are on social media, the more your network of clients and freelance peers will grow. And you can also use each channel to spy on what everyone else is doing!

4. How to advertise as a freelancer IRL

This may sound old fashioned but freelancer networking events (virtual or otherwise) are worth signing up to. They can help you make some great contacts and there’s no better way to sell your business than for people to see the person behind the business in person!

5. A stirring portfolio

This can be housed on your website or independently. However you want to display your portfolio, just make sure that it looks slick and professional. It doesn’t have to be complicated or even built by a professional. You can use free tools online to showcase your work. Just make sure that it’s neat, that you provide the link to it in as many places as possible (e.g. on your website, on your email signature, your business cards etc.) and that it does your skills justice. 

6. Ask for referrals

If you work with a client who’s happy with what you’ve done, get them to do your marketing for you! Word of mouth is a powerful strategy to get business, and one that you should make the most of where possible. It builds your credibility and can be a good pathway to getting regular work through a client. 

And don’t forget tax 

Obviously as a freelancer, you’ll know that you’re responsible for paying your own taxes, so it’s important to keep a record of what you spend and everything you earn over each tax year

What you may not know is that you can expense your marketing costs when it comes to submitting your tax return, so any of the above activities that you choose, don’t forget to record your spend. It can be deducted from your earnings.      

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