How to Market Yourself as a Freelancer in 2023

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Have you been a little quieter lately? If you’re noticing fewer job offers right now, you’re not alone. With economic uncertainty all over the world, it’s a bit of a worrying time for creatives of all kinds, not to mention AI and new technologies that could make many jobs unnecessary.

So how do you survive as a creative freelancer for the next few years? Ultimately, no matter what the big picture, there will always be clients desperate to hire good people. So the only difference is that you may need to market yourself as an answer to their prayers and put in a little more effort to market yourself.

That doesn’t mean bragging, lying, or being full of yourself. You don’t have to turn into the used car salesman stereotype. It’s simply about leaning into your values, what makes you unique, what sets you apart from your competitors, and how you can prove to your clients that you are the best option over everyone else in a crowded field. It means to communicate effectively.

Sounds easy, but how do you actually do it? We asked the Creative Boom community to share their tips and experiences.Meanwhile you can see the full discussion here.

1. Be concise and honest

Let’s make one thing clear from the beginning. Selling yourself doesn’t mean ranting about how great you are. Using a lot of waffles, jargon, or business talk isn’t smart. It sounds like you’re trying to cover people’s eyes. People will be much more impressed if you can quickly, concisely and accurately explain in plain English what you have to offer.

Graphic designer Mike Hindle explains how. “Most of my inquiries are by email, so the first reply is a ‘success or failure’ time. I always link to articles on websites that they find helpful. This immediately demonstrates knowledge and expertise. Fast and concise communication is something many clients have. looking for.

“Honesty is also important,” he adds. “If we don’t get the results the client wants, we explain what needs to be changed and how we can work around it. We will work on getting it right to save money.”

2. Focus on the client

Paradoxically, selling yourself doesn’t always mean you have to say too much about yourself. Designer Jae Yoon said:

Social Impact designer Stanley Vaganov agrees. “I think being transparent and acting like an expert instead of taking orders drives a large part of the trading volume,” he says. “It means asking great questions and listening.”

Brand strategist and copy director Daniel Laroy agrees. “Lead the questions and listen intently to the answers,” he emphasizes. “Connect the dots between their challenge and your solution. Most importantly, use stories from past projects to show how you’ve done it before.”

3. Show off your work

It sounds obvious, but many freelancers ignore it. Few people will want to hire you unless they have clear evidence that you are doing a great job. So we have to find a way to put the best in front of them.

“I have a template that adapts for each client, but I think an online presence helps,” says Kiesha Meikle, journalist, communications pro and editor. And she knows this because she was on the other side of the fence. “I always Google creative freelancers when they approach me,” she notes. “And a clear example of what you can do for others is really helpful. ”

Illustrator Vicky Scott agrees. “Having so many examples of the same style of work to the same standard shows that the illustrator can be trusted with the commercial brief,” she explains.

Of course, this does not mean that everything should be online. Careful curation is essential. Illustrator Niki Groom says, “I’m very particular about making sure people can see and find my work forever. I only share it on my website and social if I’m confident about it. In the meantime.” , I only share my work-in-progress drawings and things that didn’t work out in stories.I think of Instagram as my second portfolio.”

Also, secure the second set. Ideally 1/3, 1/4, 1/5. “They tell me things I don’t understand, things that make sense, things that I would like to see more of. I thought it was, but it wasn’t..”

If you play it safe and take the vanilla strategy of approaching and talking to your clients, you will look like everyone else and be easily forgotten. Never underestimate the power of standing out.

4. Show processes

Selling yourself isn’t just about showing off the finished product, it’s also highlighting how you made it. One way to do that is through case studies and testimonials. “Don’t forget to keep these up to date. Take the time to interview clients and create new case studies,” says PR expert Ellen Carroll. . “Prove the value of what you are doing. Trust and credit are very important.”

Not sure how to combine them? Greg Findley of graphic and web agency Mantra has some advice. “I apply the ‘star’ method to articles in my portfolio because I don’t want to ring all LinkedIn,” he explains. Action: the process/step I took, Outcome: how it helped the client. Write a paragraph about each.”

Jordanne Young, Brand Marketing Amplification Consultant at, says that informing clients about your process should also be central to the pitch. “People want to know the specifics of your business, your dreams, your goals, and everything that comes with it. No gloss,” she says. It’s a good topic to talk about, an example of which is Radiohead’s “No Surprises.” ”

Product Designer Becky Collie adds this insight. “I don’t have my own business, but I often have to convince stakeholders of the value of what I do: human-centered design and user research,” she explains. . “I have found that it works best to borrow my approach from proven UX methods, such as providing evidence and starting small. For example, ‘When you use data to find a problem or an opportunity, what do you do about it, and when did you make an impact at the end?'”

5. Soft skills

Selling yourself isn’t just about focusing on the job itself. Potential clients often come down to your personality and how well you can get along with them.

As photographer and graphic designer Michael Berger puts it: “Honest yet respectful, communicative, understanding and trustworthy. These are the reasons people recommend me. And every time they recommend me, I raise my prices!”

6. What’s different

Working in a corporate environment, it is often tempting to follow others’ lead and bow your head. However, if you’re marketing yourself as a freelancer, that’s the last thing you want to do.

Samantha Hornsby, co-founder of The Eric App, said, “Playing it safe and taking the vanilla strategy of approaching and talking to your clients will make you look like everyone else and easily forgettable.” So never underestimate the power of standing out, think outside the box, take a deep breath and be different.”

Emily Whitehead, founder of Simply Club, agrees. “Being more Marmite really works,” she says. And that means avoiding “beige” marketing at all costs.

It also means that if you have an area of ​​expertise, focus on it. Second Mountain founder Ben Veal said: “As a freelancer, it can be very tempting to become a generalist and accept creative work. My advice? By maintaining a strong and unwavering reputation in the field, that is the path to true value for all.”

Above all, be yourself. Because it’s much easier to sell your true self than the fake version that your client seems to like (probably not). UI/UX designer girlfriend Maiane Gabriele says: I feel joy i am honest When I bring this to work, my clients can see this spark of joy. ”


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