How to build your freelance brand and get bigger clients

The Coronavirus pandemic has made remote working the norm, something freelancers are fairly used to. Worldwide freelancing platform People Per Hour has found in a survey of over 500 businesses and 1000 freelancers that 60% of businesses are planning to hire more freelancers in 2021. They want their skills, their flexibility, and their speed.

The pandemic is far from over but it could mean great things for freelancers like you in 2021 and beyond. If you're determined to make the most of the Work From Home revolution and want to work with bigger clients that pay more, this is what to do.

Professionalise the little things

Freelancers might be small but they're still pros. If you want to impress a big agency or ecommerce site with a global presence, they need to trust you and see you're reliable. Your work will always do most of the talking, but there are other selling points to pay close attention to. They might seem small but they make a difference.

No one's handing out business cards right now, but these four things do matter:

  • Your email address. Is it affiliated with your professional website or is it a regular old gmail?
  • Your portfolio. Keep it updated with your best and brightest work.
  • Your social media profiles. You don't need to have a whole personal branding strategy outlined, but if you're going to tweet and post regularly always imagine your next client can see it.
  • Your email signature. Another easy one to polish. Make sure your contact details, logo (if you have one), and social media links are there.
  • Your invoices. They should be professional, easy to read, full of the most relevant information, and - ideally - easy to pay.

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Use freelancing sites carefully

Sites like People Per Hour can be really useful but often involve a lot of pitching and bidding for small, one-off jobs. That's a lot of effort for not much reward.

When you're browsing current freelance jobs, look for businesses that want a long-term relationship, already have a clear strategy, and know what they want. You should check their website out and do a bit of a background check too, including social profiles and Companies House.

Tailor your specialism to what they need

Larger businesses are quite used to picking and choosing what works for them, and they often have the budget for it too. If you want a slice of that budget, you need to pitch yourself as THE person who can provide the specific thing they need.

Pretty much every freelancer can be a generalist or a specialist when they need to be. Understand what the client wants and pitch your most appropriate specialist skills to them. If your work is impressive and they like you, they'll want to snap you up.

Be active online

Everything's remote for the foreseeable, and lots of businesses might keep some of that going even when pandemic restrictions ease, so there are no opportunities for networking and handshaking.

That's okay! Your online presence can do the legwork instead. If you're comfortable being opinionated - be opinionated. If you want your work to do most of the talking - share it. Whatever tells the world who you are and what you're great it, post it.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter if you've never worked with a big brand before. You don't need an Uber or a Barclays on your portfolio to prove you mean business. What you do need is the ability to communicate and demonstrate your skill and passion.

Go forth and bag those big clients!

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