How to promote your freelance business, even if you hate being ‘salesy’

You didn't become a freelancer to spend your time selling yourself. You became a freelancer for the flexibility, the autonomy, and the ability to do what you love to do.

Unfortunately though, the need to sell yourself comes up pretty regularly for freelancers. All freelancers have to pitch and advertise their skills from time to time, even if they get a lot of their clients through referrals and recommendations.

This is how to promote your freelance business without feeling like a used car dealer.

Show everyone what you can do...

The most powerful advertisement for your freelance business is your portfolio. Website builders like Squarespace and Wix include readymade templates which are perfect for dropping in your design work/photography/art/copy and more. It'll look professional, be easy and cheap to maintain, and can include a contact form.

Remember! If you're a web designer or a developer, a pre-built site might not cut it. Your own website is the place to demonstrate exactly what you can do for your clients. Throw everything at it and make it memorable. Bibliotèque, a London-based design agency shows us how it's done with this unique, portfolio website.

...and spread the word on your social channels

Having a slick, professional portfolio is only the half of it though. Your beautiful portfolio website needs to be shared far and wide. Make sure the link is in your social media bios and in your pinned content at the top of your social profiles. When you add a new project, share it. If a past project is suddenly relevant or you just feel like telling people about it, share it! Make sure your portfolio regularly sees the light of day.

Sell your skills, not yourself

The main thing many of us dislike about sales and self-promotion is the fact it seems so disingenuous and dishonest. If you feel uncomfortable at even the thought of promoting yourself, focus on the work instead. Talk about why you made it this way, what purpose it serves, what effect it had, and how you might do it differently in the future.

You can even be transparent with your audience and tell them how much you hate being 'salesy'. They'll probably appreciate the candour.

Develop your network of fellow freelancers

Other freelancers aren't strictly your competitors, they're often your best resource when it comes to making alliances, getting referrals, and finding out who's hiring. They also know what it's like to work solo, so you've immediately got common ground.

This is the easy part really - just be yourself. Chat, share, learn, go to meet-ups, join in with online groups and forums. This can turn into long-lasting relationships and friendships as well as more business.

Push specific skills and services

Marketing highly specific services gives potential clients a very clear idea of what you can do for them, which is easier for you to promote in the right places and to the right people. Instead of just promoting yourself as a video editor, promoting yourself as someone who edits wedding videos gives you a massive pool of potential clients with money to spend. It also helps you to push parts of your freelance business that are more enjoyable or profitable for you.

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