If like me you are passionate about web marketing / digital marketing and you have made it your job (or you aspire to make it your job), two professional choices are available to you: work for a company (advertiser or agency) or go freelance. Everyone will make their choice, it’s quite personal because they are two very different ways of life …
Personally, for about 4 years, I was both an employee and a freelance (evenings and weekends). For about 6 months, I gave up my salaried activity and I am 100% freelance. So, I wanted to write an article to help digital marketing professionals who like me want to go freelance.
Are you hesitating or in any case thinking about becoming freelance in digital marketing? Chances are you have many fears. It’s totally natural, don’t worry, we all go through this step!
You might be worried about:
- No longer have any income, therefore finding yourself in a precarious situation;
- Not knowing how to manage a business and administration;
- Not knowing how to find clients because you are afraid of canvassing;
- Do not flourish, learn nothing compared to a job in a company.
All of these fears are natural, however, by preparing yourself well, you will be able to avoid most problems.
Know that the needs of companies in terms of digital marketing are enormous, so there are great opportunities to seize. More and more companies are using freelancers rather than agencies when they need professionals on an ad a basis. The market is very interesting for freelancers.
We are going to see together the different steps that a web marketing professional should follow in order to start freelancing.
YOUR JOB AND YOUR SKILLS
First, when you have completed your studies in web marketing or worked in digital marketing in a company, it is not uncommon for you to be a “Swiss Army knife”, that is to say, that we had to manage quite varied tasks. For example: doing SEO optimized copywriting, managing the community management of your company’s social networks, and advertising campaigns on Google Ads.
It’s great to be competent in many areas, nevertheless, it seems important to me to be a specialist, even an expert in a specific area. The reason is simple: as a client, you will pay more and you will have a lot more confidence in someone who perfectly masters their profession.
You will therefore have to choose your positioning.
You don’t need to be an “expert in digital marketing”. In any case, not at the beginning. It doesn’t mean anything and you will be hard pressed to find good clients.
Choose to focus on the tasks you prefer to manage. If it’s social media, then become a Community Manager. If it’s SEO, become an SEO expert, if you love writing, become a copywriter!
Once you have chosen your profession (you can always change in a few years), make sure you have mastered this profession perfectly, if not, train yourself more. If you already have a lot of experience in this profession, you will have no problem.
If it is not already done, you will have to ensure a watch of your trade.
PREPARING THE GROUND: YOUR BASE CAMP
You can quickly prepare the ground for your future freelance life. Here is what you should do.
Update your social networks: Make sure to update your LinkedIn, Twitter profiles and possibly create a professional Facebook page. Optimize your profiles well, you are a web marketing professional, customers must feel that you have a perfect command of social networks even if you are not a community manager.
Create a portfolio and a blog : every good freelancer has at least one showcase site. On it, you can present your skills and publish content about your profession on a blog section (WordPress can be installed in a few minutes). This is important, it will prove your expertise.
Start as a micro-entrepreneur : starting a business can be scary, especially in France. You probably know it, but the status of the micro-enterprise exists precisely for entrepreneurs exercising their profession alone. The access methods are very simple and the charges are calculated according to the turnover: if you earn nothing, you will pay nothing or almost nothing but do not assume that you will not earn anything!
That’s it, you are officially a freelance administratively speaking, you have a well-defined job and you are ready to go and get your first missions. It is ultimately the most complicated.
Personally, at my beginnings I proposed the creation of WordPress website, I found my clients on Reconcile, in the “requests” part. It was frankly not the joy but it was there that I found my first clients.
Since then, I have found other solutions (luckily). I will introduce them to you.
The network : this is the first thing to do, activate your network: family, friends, professional relations… send an email and publish on your social networks: announce that you are starting freelance by detailing what you offer. I assure you that even with a small network, you will get feedback! We all know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone …
Freelance platforms : I talked about it in a blog post: the best freelance platforms, but here I will focus on the digital marketing professions. Overall I would recommend you to sign up on Malt and A Line. These two platforms have the advantage of saving you time. You create a profile and then the missions come to you. At the same time, you can sell your services in the form of a “package” / fixed price on platforms such as 5euros.com and Kang. For example, I sell advertising campaigns (Google Ads) there. Many non-consulting missions can be sold on a fixed price basis.
Canvassing : I hate canvassing, I have done very little of it. Nevertheless, in the event of a slack period, it is better to prospect a little bit than to do nothing if you urgently need missions. Having little experience in canvassing, I would simply recommend going to the most efficient: emails and LinkedIn. Avoid the telephone: we always disturb on the phone! On LinkedIn, the best way is to prepare per-recorded presentation messages and then add potential customers in contact (50 max per day). The message should be cordial, present your skills very briefly, and include a call to action such as “I am available to you if you wish to discuss this.” “.
Inbound Marketing : any good digital marketing professional must apply the methodology of inbound marketing . This means that you will have to bring customers to you. Obviously it will be difficult to get good results at the start. However, over time you will sustain your activity. Be active on your social networks by sharing content: articles, info graphics, tutorials, videos … whether you have created them or simply by carrying out effective content curation.
SEO : It joins inbound. Via your blog and therefore your site, you can try to rank yourself on search engines. This lever brings me a lot of clients and especially on a regular basis. The first year of my blog I had little traffic, but now I have a lot. The most is to help your potential customers. Typically, if you run ad campaigns on Facebook for example, write articles about the latest features or issues you may be experiencing (to which you have found a solution). Your prospects will encounter the same problems: by giving them the solution, some will contact you to give you a mission.
With all of this, you should be able to start off well. The big interest of the freelancer is the multitude of different projects. Doing digital marketing for the same company for several years, it quickly becomes a routine and we no longer seem to evolve. As a freelancer, working with very different clients in very different industries, no day will be the same!
Besides that, I would also say that the freelance will allow you to be paid up to your commitment, which is rarely the case in the world of salaried work.
On the other hand, be careful, you will have to manage your days, to impose a certain rigor, which is not given to everyone. The hardest part is in the time. The big problem in freelancing is managing leaves: they are not paid. And since every day not worked is an unpaid day, we can quickly let ourselves be overtaken and never stop. While initially, the freelance has the advantage of being able to manage his time, you have to know how to say “stop”! You can very well do 5 hour days or 4 day weeks!
To go further, a lot of freelancers do training, give courses. It’s a good way to continue to progress in your profession and it allows you to diversify your sources of income. Whether in school or online via e-learning platforms like Udemy, training fits perfectly into freelance life.
Finally, the freelance is a choice of life, but it is not final. It’s a safe bet that one day you will return to the corporate world, but the two can be complementary. As I told you, for several years I was both freelance and employee, it was very fulfilling!
And you, are you ready to go freelance?