Are you looking to trade in the 9 to 5 work grind for a more flexible work life? Freelancing might be for you. It offers many benefits but it can be isolating too. This article explores the many ways to find freelance work and to connect with other freelancers both in person and digitally!
Related article: Contingent employment; Is this the sign you have been looking for?
Launching your freelancing career and connecting with the freelancer community in your city and online
Where do I find freelance work?
The biggest difference between working permanently for a company and freelancing is that freelancing work doesn’t magically appear in front of you. Once you find a permanent role, you know, more or less, the work you will be doing each day. This is not the case with freelancing. You need to head out into the world to find work. In this sense, freelancing is not for the faint hearted.
Here are some tips on sourcing freelancing work.
Work Source Idea 1. Create a LinkedIn presence
Create or update your LinkedIn account to reflect that you are a freelancer. You can do this in many ways. The most visible way is to list that you are a freelancer in your Profile Summary. Under your Experience section make sure you then list a range of assignment types you have recently undertaken. That way, potential clients can get a sense for your recent work.
Your LinkedIn profile should be COMPLETE. This profile should be seen as your online shop front and it needs to create impact. Include eye catching visuals and include relevant terms, phrases and expressions that are commonly used in your industry. Prospective clients search LinkedIn profiles and you need to make sure that your profile pops up front and centre when it counts.
Remember to connect with clients and colleagues you have worked with in the past. They are an excellent source of work and further contacts.
Work Source Idea 2. Create your freelancer profile on relevant online platforms
You can use the content that you have developed for your LinkedIn profile on other digital job platforms to increase the chance of finding freelance work. Not everyone is active on LinkedIn and depending on your area of expertise, there may be other websites and digital platforms where you should make your presence known.
Check out the most popular freelancer websites in your country or city. Just Google “Freelancer community [name of your city]”. If you are lucky enough to be a digital nomad, you don’t need to consider just those freelancer services in your country – you can create profiles on large global platforms and complete your work remotely. Lucky you!
Popular freelance websites include:
And the list goes on….
Remember, that the details you list:
- Should be written professionally (check your spelling and grammar carefully)
- Should include samples of your work where possible
- Should include contact details so that people can reach out to you quickly and easily
Top Tip. Be picky with the sites you use to source work initially.Visit the websites of online freelancer forums (like the ones listed above), to see if they are a good fit for your specific skillset. You can also use sites like Reddit to see what other freelancers say about the effectiveness of each site for freelancing.
Review the profiles of the top freelancers in your category on freelancer forums. Create your own profile taking into account some of the strengths of the profiles you see. Add your own spin.
Need a hand putting together a compelling freelancer biography for one or more of these freelancer websites? I can help. Get in touch.
Work Source Idea 3. Tell people you are a freelancer!
Yes. That is right. Tell family, friends and acquaintances that you are a freelancer (insert skillset here)! Why? People are not able to mind read. And by telling them you are a freelancer, starts the word of mouth cycle on its way.
Your family, friends and acquaintances will tell their friends, family and acquaintances when it makes sense to do so. And guess what, some work might come from that sharing of information. The ripple effect of contacts telling contacts can be impressive.
Now this is not an open invitation to bail up everyone you know to tell them exactly what you do, how you do it and why they need to tell their family and friends. But a quick, short sharp description of what you do in a relevant conversation is just common sense…and a great informal marketing tool to grow your freelance business.
Finding other freelancers near you
Freelancing can be a fairly isolated way of working. If you would like to connect with other freelancers in your city, here are some practical ideas to help you connect with others:
Connection Idea 1. Google “freelancer communities in my city”
You may be surprised by the amount of people who are actually working as freelancers in your home city right now. Hopefully when you Google (or use any other search engine of choice) you will see a range of hits for communities you can connect with.
Most communities provide central content points to reach out to for more information. Reach out to 3-5 communities and see what you hear back.
Whilst it is unlikely that reaching out to others in the freelancing community will be completely comfortable for most people, it is really powerful when you find a community that is tremendously supportive. Connecting with other freelancers provides significant professional satisfaction, a growing network and a real sense of community.
Connection Idea 2. Look up “MeetUps in my city”
Going one step further than the connection suggestion above, look up MeetUps in your city. MeetUps is a service used to organize online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests.
Once you have chosen a Meetup Group that looks relevant to you, do a little homework. Check to see if there is current content being created around that group. If the MeetUp dates haven’t been updated in a while, this group may be dormant. Investigate until you find a group that looks relevant to your experience and skillset and reach out to get more information.
Connection Idea 3. Look up freelancer communities on LinkedIn
LinkedIn offers a range of open and private communities for people to join. These communities, known as Groups, are a platform to keep in contact with other people digitally. You can ask questions, answer questions and foster a sense of community with others in these Groups. There are likely to be a range of freelance Groups you can consider.
Top Tip: Join just one or two groups initially. You want to make sure that you have the band width to contribute to them.
Connection Idea 4. Seek out industry associations
Industry associations are an organized group of individuals with a common purpose, interest or activity. Associations play an important role in providing a collective voice for individual businesses within an industry.
By joining an industry association you expand your network of like minded people, learn new skills and get access to professional development opportunities.
You will most certainly rub shoulders with other freelancers, soleprenuers and entrepreneurs in your industry sector. And that is great news for contacts, support and for extra business!
Connection Idea 5. Join Alumni Groups
An alumni group is a group of former students or employees. Alumni groups are super popular within universities but also training, accreditation groups and former employee groups.
Alumni groups are created so that the institution can generate invaluable word of mouth marketing among the alumnis’ social and professional networks. But in an informal sense, alumni groups offer freelancers the opportunity to form new friendships and business relationships with people of a similar background.
Connection Idea 6. Follow freelancer bloggers
It can be really useful to follow a couple of blogs or influencers in the freelancing space. Hearing the thoughts of fellow freelancers, who are experiencing the same things as you, is super helpful especially if you are feeling a little isolated. You can pick up some great hints and tips on improving the way you work as a freelancer too.
There are many ways to stay connected with bloggers and influencers. You can follow them on their social media accounts, subscribe to their newsletters or simply visit their website every so often.
Interestingly, many relationships developed online turn into face to face exchanges over time.
So there you have it. Some tips for how to kick off your freelancing career and some tips for connecting with other freelancers. Working as a freelancing can be extremely rewarding. By taking a few simple actions regularly you will fast track your client base and your connections with others who freelance.
Your feeling of isolation will dissolve and in its place you’ll nurture relationships that are rewarding, helpful, and above all, supportive.
Further Reading and Resources
Top 100 Freelance Bloggers & Newsletters To Follow in 2019
9 Must Follow For Twitter Influencers for Freelancers
Top 20 Freelance Websites for Beginners and Professionals
World’s 10 Best Freelance Websites | 2018
Get in touch to hear how I can assist you to develop a strategy to build your online visibility as a freelancer.
Once you build your online profile, you will never look back!