So you say you’re ready to jump into the world of freelance gigging? Ok, great! Now, where to begin?! As a starting point, you of course will need to create some gigs, but what else can you do to help your business when you are just beginning?
A good place to start might be maintaining a blog.
It’s common to wonder how early in your freelancing to begin blogging and while many believe in waiting until you have a steady book of business, it may benefit to start blogging sooner rather than later. Why? The reasons are many, but for one, it is a very low cost way to add value to your business that will help in many ways. Having a blog that provides helpful information to your potential clients may help in getting your name out there, while at the same time brining clarity and focus to your own goals.
Let’s take a look at how to go about this and list four ways that your blog could help your business, then some tips on how to get started.
Four Ways Blogging Can Help Your Freelancing
1. Having a Presence Online. By maintaining a blog, you are able to immediately augment your online presence. Having your own URL that highlights your business name is a great method of promotion. Many folks will have already taken this step if they’re in the business of web design, web development, or SEO services. It is true though that other types of freelancers will also benefit from having a blog. You want to have a way for clients to learn about you and your blog will accomplish just that.
2. Means to Network. Networking is so important when you are trying to build your business, your blog will help with this. One of the hopes is that if you can create some insightful and helpful posts, you will be able to engage in meaningful communication with your clients and peers via comments. You could use the built in commenting system of your blog or even facebook comments for more social traction. Visiting the blogs and websites of your commenters will also help to create reciprocal friendships and word of mouth referrals.
3. Provide a ‘Menu’ of your Services. Having a blog will make it easy to list all of the services you offer. You can also link to any gigs you offer and your clients will be able to buy right from your blog.
4. Write about your Expert Skills. By proving expert information to your readers and clients in your field of expertise, you will be positioning yourself as an expert that is capable of delivering the goods sort to speak. Mixing this info with a fun and engaging style will make your clients smile and be ready to business with you.
Ok I’m pumped, But where do I begin?
Well a quick search will give you a ton of guides on how to start blogging, but in the most basic sense all you need is what’s listed here:
1. Register Your Domain. You’re going to want your very own custom domain name that will highlight your brand or business name. These days you can register domains on the cheap, so it is a cost effective way to help your brand. Plus once you have your own URL, you can make huge stickers to place on the rear window of your car so that everyone will see your site name when you are cruising down the highway :-)
2. Get Set Up with Hosting. You can do this many ways. If you enjoy all of the sys admin type chores that come with running your own server, you can get something like a VPS(virtual private server), that will allow you to hone your server skills and tweak your technology stack for the highest performance. For most, this is going to be overkill and not very cost efficient. Setting up shop at Tumblr, Blogger, or Wordpress, while pointing your custom domain to your blog is probably the better and easier solution.
3. Get an Awesome Theme. If you’re awesome at design it will probably be easy for you to create an engaging theme that puts a good face on your blog. If you’re not as much of an expert, you can find thousands of great themes for very low cost.
4. Promote With Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, the list goes on. There are hundreds of quality social media destinations available to you for free online. Focus on the top two or three and create a solid profile. Then network, network, network, and share your blog with your readers.
Blogging is a great way to help in getting a freelance job while also helping you to focus your skills and offerings. Happy Freelancing!