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Marketing Tips for Successful Freelancers

Being great at freelancing might be easier than you think.

Freelancing is hard work. Learning to market yourself well makes that hard work pay off. At the 2022 Latter-day Saints in Publishing, Media & the Arts Annual Conference, Assistant Teaching Professor Suzy Bills (Freelancing, Editing and Publishing) taught a class called “Marketing Your Freelance Services: How to Develop Your Unique Selling Proposition, Find Clients, and Build Your Business.” Bills has years of experience as a successful freelancer. She teaches editing, publishing, and freelancing courses at BYU and has published a book titled The Freelance Editor’s Handbook: A Complete Guide to Making Your Business Thrive.

Editors, voice actors, photographers, and other freelancers attended Bills’ lecture to learn how to improve their personal businesses. Here are some of her tips:

1. Network Consistently and Broadly 

Ideally, you want customers to come consistently through referrals or word-of-mouth marketing. “That is where you want to get to,” Bills said, but she acknowledged that achieving those levels of popularity will take a few years. So where to start? Bills advised, “Tell everyone [about your business]. Literally, everyone.” Bring it up in natural conversation like, “Hi, I’m Hanna, I’m a cat mom, avid reader, and freelance editor.” Or maybe even, “Wow, it’s so good to see you, Suzy. How have you been? Me? I have been really excited about my business lately.” Also, put what you do in your email signature (e.g., Sincerely, Hanna Muhlestein, copyeditor) and always have business cards ready to hand out.

2. Connect with Other Freelancers and Vendors 

Bills also suggested to establish a “preferred vendor” relationship. Make arrangements with other freelancers who can refer people to you from their businesses and vice versa. Think outside of the box about who you might be able to connect with.

3. Establish a Social Media Presence 

Beyond the personal networking, set up social media accounts that will find your client base. Use a LinkedIn account, for sure, and consider others like Instagram. Choose platforms your potential clients are active on. And on whatever platforms you choose, engage in topics within your niche. The more you engage, the more potential clients will see and recognize your name. Join groups, comment (nicely), and make posts regularly. Admittedly, participating in social media can be intimidating, but Bills advised to “just post, even if it is not perfect, and move forward.”

4. As a Business Owner, Show Interest in Other People 

Throughout the presentation, Bills pressed attendees to remember empathy as an important aspect in marketing one’s business. You are just a person talking to another person. Show interest in who you are talking to, be genuine, and make meaningful connections with people. It’s not just about the money.

If you want to know more about what you can do to be a more successful freelancer, Bills takes a more in-depth look at these and other aspects in her book, which is available for purchase through Amazon Books or through a link on her website.

Professor Suzy Bills her a copy of her book "The Freelance Editor's Handbook"