Start a Freelance Business by Using Your Blog as a Stepping Stone
Getting paid to do something you love, on your own terms, may sound like a dream to many, but for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, it can become a reality through freelancing. Freelancers are self-employed individuals who contract out their skills and abilities to help solve the needs of their prospective clients. If freelancing is a dream that you would like to make a reality, this guide is here to give you tips and tricks on how to use your blog to start a freelance business.
Determine Your Calling
The first step when you start a freelance business is to determine your calling or niche. Do you love website development? Does your passion lie in coordinating events? Are you the Shakespeare of website content? If there is something that you look forward to doing every day and it is also something that people already seek you out for help with, you may have just found your niche.
If you are having trouble determining your niche market, try joining social media groups that you find interesting and start reading the group discussions. Is there a common problem that many members have that you can help solve? For example, if there are many people on the discussion boards commenting on their difficulties in getting internet traffic to their sites, and you love writing Facebook Ads, you may have just found your niche.
Establish Your Ideal Clients
Once you have determined your niche the next step is to find clients, people who will pay you to do what you love. Start by asking yourself what kind of client are you looking to attract? Who would benefit from your services and how would your services help solve your client’s need? Once you have determined how you can help, you then must find out how to get those prospective clients to decide you are the right one for the job. Clients are essential when you start a freelance business but ensure you are offering the right services to the right people.
Help Those Clients Find You
Through the process of determining your niche and identifying your ideal clients, you have, in essence, determined your marketing strategy. You have figured out what to say and who to say it to. The problem is, how do you get your message out there for prospective clients to find? The answer: start a blog.
A blog is a low-cost way of showing prospective clients that you can solve their problem and you are their go-to expert on this subject. The problem is, not all of us are gifted blog writers. So, what should you consider when writing a blog to start your freelance business? Here are some points for you to consider:
While a blog is a great platform for expressing your views and opinions - and when you start a freelance business, you need to make the distinction between a personal blog and a professional blog. In a personal blog, you are writing for your peers and you can focus on whatever topic piques your interest. A professional blog, on the other hand, should be focused on your freelancing business and it is meant as a platform in which you can get out in front of your prospective clients and demonstrate to them that you know your stuff.
In order to use your blog to start a freelance business, when a prospective client lands on your blog, they need to know that; a) you can solve their issue, and, b) you should be their first choice to hire. One way to do this is to devote at least one of your blog posts to the services that you offer. In this post take the time to outline how these services can solve their issue and how you have helped solve similar issues for other clients. It is important to keep the focus of this post on your client and how you can solve their issue (and what you can do for them). If the focus of the post is on illustrating how great you are and how your skills saved the day, it can come off as disingenuous and salesy and will end up driving your prospective client away instead of engaging them.
In addition to advertising your services, it is important that you use your blog to build credibility as an expert in the field. To do this, write posts about similar and related topics that you are passionate about. If you choose topics that you do not care about, you run the risk of sounding forced and stiff, which in turn can turn off your reader rather than engaging them.
If you are just starting out in your field and have not yet built up enough confidence to be called an expert, begin by writing well-researched posts on topics you have some familiarity with. In doing this you not only increase your own knowledge base about the subject matter, but you also improve your site’s quality rating. When search engines, such as Google or Bing, assign quality ratings they assess the expertise, credibility and trustworthiness of a page. Credible posts receive higher quality rankings than their less credible counter-parts, making them more likely to show up in the first couple pages of a search. This will greatly increase your chances in being noticed by prospective clients.
Engage with Your Readers
A topic commonly up for debate is whether to allow readers to comment on your posts. While restricting comments allows you to control the narrative, there are several benefits to allowing comments on your posts.
The first is the potential to turn comments into testimonials. If one of your posts generates lots of comments from readers, you have just demonstrated how you can create engaging content for your site. A second benefit is that satisfied clients have a platform where they can comment on the work you provided and tell others how great of a job you did. This could be used to build your expert credibility with potential clients and can show the value in the services you can offer. A final benefit of allowing post comments is a counter-intuitive one. Not all comments are positive, and you may encounter a few negative comments along the way. Use negative comments as demonstrations to future clients that you can handle negative situations and feedback in a calm, professional manner.
Provide Your Readers with a Call to Action
The purpose of your professional blog is to attract prospective clients to your freelancing business. Once you have established that you are an expert in your field and that your business can solve your client’s need or issue, you need to give them a Call to Action to contact you. At the end of each of your posts, include your email address and a note to contact you for further information. While many sites only include a contact form, not all clients like using this format. However, no matter what contact method you decide on, make sure it is easy for the reader to find.
A second Call to Action is to include a “Hire Me” page on your blog. Make it sound as engaging and persuasive as you can to entice prospective clients to contact you for more information. It is important to emphasize that you are available or receptive to new clients. By including a link to your website and making it clear that you are open for business, you greatly increase your odds of turning that prospective client into an actual client.
When you start a freelance business, you enter an exciting journey with untold potential. Blogging is just one of the ways you can start this journey. No matter the services you offer, getting in front of your ideal clients is half the battle. How are you planning to start your freelancing business?
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