Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Freelancing - How to Grow Your Business by Tony Jacowski

Freelancers tend to earn more per hour than permanent employees.

Freelancing is common in fields like journalism, copywriting, computer programming, web design and many other professional and creative services.

Target an Industry

Build up a name for yourself: It is wise to be industry-specific. Though you may have the ability to give your services to multiple people, you should concentrate on a particular area.

For example, if you are doing web design for insurance companies, you may specialize for in Life Insurance portals. Your strong reputation and specialization in this area will help you get more clients.

Network outside Your Industry Group

You should not only involve yourself with your own group of freelancers, but also make an effort to be known by other groups also. If you interact with others and have good relations with them, there is always a possibility of gaining more business.

To expand your network, you should attend conferences, meetings and professional functions in your target market.

Ask For Testimonials

There is no harm in asking for a testimonial for a job well done. Even if you do not need them immediately, or have no place to display them, you should keep them anyway.

You never know when they may be useful to help build up your reputation.

Ask For Referrals

A good practice is to ask your clients for referrals. You could ask them if any of their friends and associates would need similar services. Usually, clients are open to such requests if you were doing a good job on their projects.

Build Relationships with Clients

It is a good idea to keep in touch with past clients via email. You could share some information other than on a professional level. This will allow you to build up a good rapport with them.

If they start looking at you as a friend, they may refer you to others as well and think about you for any future projects.

Have a Marketing Plan

Like any business or product, it is necessary for you to prepare a marketing plan. Decide what mediums you will use to market your services, how much money you will spend, your target audience and how you will measure the return on this investment.

It's A Business - Not a Hobby!

Many freelancers forget that what they are doing is a business and not just a hobby. You should look at all projects that you take on as a series of projects, a continual business.

To be successful, you have to manage your freelance work just as if you were working for an employer.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solutions - Six Sigma Online ( http://www.sixsigmaonline.org/ ) offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.