There has definitely been a shake-up in industry over the last couple of years. More brands want to work with a trusted partner who understands their business, but increasingly they don’t necessarily want to commit to binding contracts. Most recently, Procter & Gamble’s Marc Pritchard called for an end to the “archaic Mad Men model”, a comment which signalled a break away from longterm agency-client relationships.
Innovation and disruption has led to brands looking for quick and nimble solutions. One way they’re doing this is by working with more freelancers who can add value through specialist knowledge. In addition, they are choosing to work with ‘agencies of the future’, who bring different creatives together to execute a client brief – acting as a freelance network. Examples of these include Platform 13, Founded by Leila Fataar, and Wolfpie, founded by ex-account woman at Wieden+Kennedy, Lara Chapple.
Through an event series I run, ‘The Power of Quitting’ – which champions the benefits of going freelance – I have definitely noticed that the main thing that holds people back from going freelance is fear. They might not feel they have the skills to do so, but it’s all rooted in confidence, courage and embracing failure. With this in mind, here are my top tips for getting off to a good start as a freelancer:
If you don’t promote yourself, no one’s going to find you. Invest time into making a bit of a personal marketing plan, whether that’s creating a website, scheduling a monthly newsletter, or updating your social media with your latest work.
But also, don’t be disheartened: In the age of social media it’s tempting to get worried about not having traction and likes, but the most important thing is to post what feels right, and that people see it.
Do invest in a website so that people can look you up, and set aside time to keep it updated. You might think your achievements are small, but they are probably much bigger and more significant to your progress than you think.
Build a personal brand
In a crowded and oversaturated market, you need to stand out from the crowd. Why should someone choose you over another freelancer? It’s good to do the research and look at people who inspire you. What do you like about they way they present themselves, and how might you reflect that in your own brand?
Explore which channels best suit you and a potential audience. Instagram might be really good if you’re a designer, and for someone like me, LinkedIn is also a useful tool, as I do a lot of B2B [business-to-business] work.
Decide what you want to communicate, how often and be consistent across all channels. That might be making sure all handles are the same, posting regularly or selecting the right images.