5 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now to Grow Your Freelance Business

When you own a freelancing business you are like a shark; you move, or you die. Not only do you need new customers, an occasional support request for a service provided earlier and increased revenue, you also need the encouragement and promise of growth to stay engaged. Getting your business to grow can be challenging, especially if you’re new to world of entrepreneurship, so here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Try Cross-Promotion

Chances are, you have plenty of clients out there who would be beating down your door–if they only knew you existed. One way to get your name out to more people is through sharing promotional efforts with a related business. If you design and create fancy plugins, for instance, you could reach clientele through cross-promoting with a website designer. Have you written a cookbook? Try selling or advertising it through gift shops and gourmet food emporiums, whose products you’ll also recommend. Get creative, cast a wide net, and you should be able to find several other business owners (local and online) who will be excited about working with you. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Share advertising. Ads can be expensive. Share costs, share the ad, share the sales.
  • Send out joint promotions. Fliers, postcards, newsletters, electronic or snail-mail.
  • Joint sponsorships. Get out in the community! Sponsor a team, an event, a booth.
  • Joint contest. This is another project that can be held online, in your community, or both.
  • Joint coupons/special offers. Customers who buy one of your items or services get one of hers free, and vice versa. Coupons are a great way to spur some sales.
  • Share samples. Because you attract similar clientele, you should each enjoy increased sales. It can also be done locally, or online.
  • Share space. You sell a little of their product, they display a little of yours. You both reap the benefits. This can be done in a “bricks-and-mortar” store, or online.

2. Add Value

You’re in the business of supplying what your clients need and want. But it’s easy to lose touch with those needs, or to miss additional sales opportunities because you get stuck in a rut. Ask yourself: what related products or information are my clients looking for? How can I provide them? Take some time to brainstorm. Bounce ideas off your friends. Ask clients via blog post, newsletter, or survey, then add products you believe have the greatest potential. If there are some you’d love to offer, but can’t, seek out entrepreneurs who do, and work on some cross-promotional ventures.

3. Learn About SEO

You could have the greatest website in the world, but unless you choose the right keywords, have good backlinks, and changing content, you could be stuck on page 12 of Google forever. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of creating websites to appeal to the most popular search engines (primarily Google). An entire cottage industry has grown up around  these practices, but with a few good references, you can implement many of the most common strategies yourself. One caveat: SEO techniques are constantly changing as people begin to abuse them. What Google and its ilk once viewed as acceptable have become detrimental. So stay abreast of new SEO developments and update your methods as necessary.

4. Don’t Forget Your Existing Clients

All About ClientsYour existing customer base can become one of your greatest resources. Happy customers provide invaluable word-of-mouth advertising. Unhappy customers do exactly the opposite–but they can be turned. Follow your company name on social media sites and forums. Get an idea of what people are saying about you. When you come across a negative reaction, contact that individual and attempt to sort out the problem and come to an amenable solution. Chances are, this person is simply venting, and not expecting you to take a personal interest in their complaint. Simply by approaching them in a calm, friendly manner, you’ll go a long way towards keeping their business, improving public relations, and gaining more positive recommendations.

5. Network

One of the best ways to gain new customers? Get out there and meet them! It’s easy, particularly if you work primarily online, to get used to sitting behind your desk and waiting for clients to find you. Here are a few “meet and greet” tactics you can try instead:

  • Blogging, or a blog tour.  Share blogging space with others in your niche; meet other customers.
  • Online networking. There are so many opportunities to meet customers online: forum posts (make sure to follow guidelines on self-promotions); social media, writing and posting niche-related articles, conducting an online course, etc.
  • Be a “joiner.”  It won’t hurt, promise! Even if you work completely online, you can benefit from joining and working with your local Chamber of Commerce and other business and community organizations.
  • Do…and teach. Offer to mentor a young person’s business-related group. Teach a class. Hold a seminar. Go to trade fairs and host a booth at community events. Write articles on your business and related topics for local media. Make it possible for people to connect your name with positive events; it will be the first thing they think of when they require your services.
  • Take an online course. You need not stick to your field, just find an area of study where your clients hang out and you should be able to find some great networking opportunities.

These are only a few suggestions on how to attract more clients. There are many others–all the more reason for you to continually expand your knowledge of business and marketing practices. Let your personal motto be: Learn more, grow more!

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Comments

  1. Hi
    The big one here for me has been learning more about seo. I am now trying to work out a strategy for me that will work with social media seems to be taking a bit of time but only want to do it once with a few tweaks. Well that is the plan anyway.

    Thanks great advice lee

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