I’ve got my portfolio and website online. What is the next step to attract new clients?

So you’ve had several freelance gigs and have sorted out your website. You’ve got most of your previous jobs through services like oDesk or through meetings in-person. Now that you are happy with putting yourself out there you want to know the next step as to attract new clients.

Use your skills and experience to your advantage

Write content that will drive visitors to your website! But not just any visitors—you want to write for people who need your services.

To attract people who need your services you have to show them that you can solve their problems.

And you can do that by writing, recording videos or making a podcast. Whichever you choose, it all starts with writing.

Help them solve their problems

You want to help the visitors of your site achieve something they want, to kill a pain they are already having. This way you are going to position yourself as an expert and you will gain their trust. Providing value by explaining them how to solve their problems will make them grateful towards you. The next time they need someone with your skill set they will remember you.

This guy’s writing helped me solve my issues the last time, well now I am going to hire him to do it for me.

Well then, what should I write about?

Let’s say you want to find clients for your freelance copywriting business.

Off the top of my mind, here is a list of things I would like to know (as a business owner, which I am), when I want to hire a copywriter:

  • Where can I find copywriters?
  • What is considered to be good copy?
  • How to evaluate copywriters?
  • How to post offers for copywriting gigs—what do copywriters need to know about my project so that I get them to reply to my job posting on oDesk?
  • How is copywriting being priced as a service?
  • What should I expect from a copywriter at different pricing levels? (provide examples, behavioural cues)
  • Help me understand why cheap becomes expensive when paying for copywriting
  • Why is copywriting valuable for me as a business owner?
  • What is copywriting actually?
  • What is the application of copywriting in my marketing processes?

Teach me about copywriting and you will become an authority in my mind.

Hint: Replace the word “copywriting” in the above paragraph with your skill and you’ve got a list of 10 topics to start your blog with.

Solve the problems of your target customers by publishing content that will help them and they will trust you.

I can’t stress this enough.

When you help them, a link titled “Hire Me” on your site won’t feel as a blatant promo or “this guy is selling me something I don’t want”. If I click it, it will be a statement—”I like you and your work, I trust you, I want to work with you!”

Where to go from here

Before you start helping you future clients you want to set up your site so that you will be able to contact them again.

Convert the visitors of your site into leads with an email newsletter

Create an email-list and put an opt-in form for to it at the end of your posts. Once you help someone with your advice and they give you their email you can notify them when you have published new content. This is essentially an invite back to your website—to check your new content, but more importantly, it is a way for you to remind them of yourself.

“But why would they give me their email?”

Well, they may want your “Working with insert-professional-skill-title-here tips” straight into their inbox :) If you solve their problems with your writing they will become your fans.

Meanwhile you can still fiddle with oDesk, but wouldn’t it be better if you had freelance gigs delivered straight to your inbox? Your website can be the tool that can drive more qualified clients back to you.

You should definitely have some paying work going on while executing tactics from the above strategy. Go find work “the way you used to do till now”. But don’t forget to share what you’ve learned. Take some questions out of your conversations with clients and answer them on your blog.

Teaching and helping is a long-term oriented process and once you get it going there is no stopping to the leads and gig opportunities that will follow.

Would you like to receive more actionable insights how to market and improve your services? Enter your email below and I will send you free updates every week! (You can even steal this line and use it on your own opt-in form on your own blog :))

I quit freelancing—How I created a profitable software product to escape “clients from hell” and their boring, crappy projects

Summary: Many freelancers are having trouble with clients. I was one of them. I got so fed up with the fact that I went on to fire all my clients, brute forced trough my insecurities and created a digital product which replaced my freelancing entirely. Moreover—it became a source of more freelance work that I can easily tap into, in case I want to go back.

This is my story:

How I succeeded in the world of OpenCart extension/theme developers without prior experience

For the first year out of the university I had been freelancing full-time as a web designer—mocking up sites in Photoshop and later building them in HTML. Sometimes even going further down the road to WolfCMS, but nothing more complicated than that.

I wanted to earn $1000 per month. Most of the time I was short of reaching that goal. I decided I should put more work in.

After working gruesome 16 hour days and feeling the burnout and disappointment, the thought of "This is not the way to go…" started creeping in.

(more…)

“Take risks” should become your mantra

When do you grow?
When you have different experiences from the ones you’ve got already.

How do you get different experiences?
By acting differently.

How do you act differently?
By going outside of your comfort zone.

But isn’t this risky?
Yes, it is. Every action you take is a risk. A risk for your personality. A risk for your ego. But there is something hidden in plain sight, something that only the ones who have risked know:

Risks are rewarded

Even if your actions turn out bad, you can treat them as experiments that teach you something. This is your shortcut to getting more knowledge.

Taking risks is not common for people. Few ever think of risking, far less even attempt it. That’s why your competition is close to zero.

Getting more knowledge and less competition at the same time is not bad at all!

The basis of risk is fear

If you release the hold of your attachment to results and fear of losing there will be nothing left that can be taken from you. Wining and losing will result in more of the same—life experience. Actions won’t seem risky anymore.

When there is no fear you are calm and focused, so the chance that you will play your cards right increases.

Start exploring the borders of your comfort zone. Your residual fears are there. And your fears are not the size of dragons, no matter how strong you feel the opposite.

This article is part of a series I am writing called “Things I wish I knew when I graduated from university”

And I thought we don’t have money for advertising…

Yesterday I had a conversation with another friend of mine—she is providing customer service for Google AdWords. In the middle of a talk about the most common problem people have with the product it hit me—”We can advertise! But wait, we don’t have the budget for it…” Not so fast cowboy. Think first!

My biggest takeaway from the conversation was that if we want to make omframework.com our main sales channel and avoid OpenCart.com’s marketplace we can use the same amount of margin they take from us(sales commission) and feed an AdWords campaign with it. The marketplace is costly and especially business-model limiting, despite bringing in a lot of sales.

Running the numbers, the budget per sale becomes unexpectedly big for a business with our scale. After all we are just a product company with a very niche offering.

The actual size of the billboard

OpenCart.com takes from us 20% of the sale price.
The cost of having Gumroad as an alternative sales channel is 5%+$0.25 on every transaction.

So, our customer acquisition budget is 20%-5%-$0.25 = 15%-$0.25 = $11.6. A quick CPC research using the Keyword Ideas Tool in AdWords told me that the average price of the keywords I am targeting is around $1.44 which means that if we have around 12.5% conversion rate from AdWords traffic everything will be in balance.

$11.6 is a good baseline to start from. There are other ad networks, too, yet this is not that important for the moment. What is important though is where to start? Obvious answer—keyword research. Not so obvious—where to research for them?