These days, more and more people are realizing that nine-to-five office work isn’t the only business model available to them. Many people, especially creative people, want something that offers more freedom. They want to be in control of their careers and to pursue the projects that excite them as a freelancer.

Freelance work can be amazing, but it means building a solid client base for yourself. Read on to learn more about growing your business as a freelancer and start taking charge of your career.

Feature Reviews

One of the best things you can do to help grow your online freelance business is to feature client reviews on your website. When you’re first getting started, you won’t have much name recognition to recommend you to clients. Before people spend a lot of money with you, they want to get some idea of what sort of service they can expect.

Client reviews let your potential clients know that their projects are in good hands. Instead of you telling them how great your services are, your previous clients can talk about their experiences with you and the specifics of what made it such a joy to work with you. When you wrap up projects with clients, ask them to go on your site and leave a review or send you one directly if they prefer.

Build Your Portfolio

Aside from client reviews, the other way you can show potential clients what to expect from you is with your portfolio. Your portfolio should be a collection of all your best projects done in a variety of styles. It should showcase your range, your experience, and your abilities in one beautiful package.

It’s a good idea to tweak your portfolio slightly each time you send it to a new client. Look back at your previous projects for the ones that have been most similar to this client’s needs. It’s also a good idea to get into the practice of asking your clients whether you can use excerpts from their projects for your portfolio.

Adjust Your Resume

In addition to your portfolio, you may also need to send your resume to potential clients. While your portfolio showcases the skills your work experience has given you, your resume gives details about that experience. It also gives you a chance to show clients the specialized training or certifications you’ve gotten in your field.

Like your portfolio, it’s a good idea to adjust your resume before you send it out to each potential client. Consider what that client needs for their project and shift things around to highlight the skills you have that meet those needs. Add any recent accolades you’ve earned, and adjust the tone to match that of your potential client.

Leverage Your Remote Work Experience

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work setups have become a lot more widespread. Suddenly employers are looking for workers who can work on a remote footing without sacrificing productivity. Working as a freelancer, you have a lot of experience doing precisely that in a self-directed environment.

Leverage your experience as a remote worker to help you get more jobs in your sector. And keep in mind that remote work setups aren’t the only thing COVID-19 has changed. You may look for new areas you can expand into, including things in the healthcare industry or other areas that have felt the impact of the pandemic.

Build Your Network

There are few resources more valuable to freelancers than a strong network. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of advertising and the truth is that you’re likely to get a lot of your business through personal recommendations. People talk, and you want to make sure your name is coming up in the right conversations.

First and foremost, it’s critical that you do everything reasonable to ensure all your clients have a great experience with you. Happy clients will talk you up to their friends and recommend your services when the opportunity arises. But it’s also a good idea to get involved in circles related to your industry and start building a reputation for yourself.

Get Involved in the Community

On the subject of getting involved in communities, you shouldn’t limit your networking to the client end of things. Building a network of other freelancers can be a great way to expand your horizons and grow your business. Even people you might consider competitors can be a valuable resource in your freelance journey.

For one thing, other freelancers are dealing with the same challenges as you and can give you advice about the ways they handle different issues. But you may get some jobs out of the deal, too. A fellow freelancer may recommend you to a potential client if they run across an opportunity that they don’t have time to take on or that’s outside their area of expertise.

Use Freelancer Platforms

Freelancer platforms can be one of the best ways to get the best of both worlds with networking. These pages are dedicated to helping freelancers connect with each other and with clients. Some platforms are more job-focused, while others provide a more comprehensive freelancer tool kit.

You can find sites that have lists of freelance job advertisements you can apply for if the pay is right. Other platforms offer time management, client management, billing, and productivity tools that you can use to improve your process. Still others have thriving communities of freelancers where you can create the kinds of networks we were talking about earlier.

Invest in Advertising

If you’re just getting started with freelancing, you may not have a lot of money to put into your business right up front. However, in some cases, you may need to invest a little in your business in order to get it off the ground. Putting some money into advertising can be a great way to get your name out and start bringing in jobs.

Social media platforms are some of the best places to advertise, especially as a new freelancer. For one thing, around 60 percent of Australian adults have a Facebook page, making it a huge hub to find your client base. But advertising on these platforms can also be extremely affordable depending on how big of a reach you want to get.

Strengthen Your Brand

Depending on the work you do, you may already know how important branding can be when you’re growing any sort of company. Branding gives your company a sense of identity that your customers can then connect with. It can let them know a little about what to expect from you and it will help them to remember your name when they think about the services you offer.

Focus on building a strong brand for your freelance business, and use that in all your social media and advertising. This means not just having a logo, but also using signature colors and fonts. Carrying this branding across your website, social media, emails, and so on will help your business to start building a cohesive reputation.

Perfect Your Process

It may sound strange, but perfecting your work process can actually be a huge part of growing a successful freelance business. At the end of the day, the advertising and networking and branding are all tools to get work in the door. But once you have that work, long delays can start to damage your reputation.

Figure out what sort of work process is best for both your productivity and your mental health. That may mean using the Pomodoro method, working in the morning, working in the evening, working at home, or working at a coworking space. Whether you need to work in silence or with music, at a desk or on the couch, figure out your system for productivity and stick to it.

Learn More About Growing Your Business

Working as a freelancer can be a great way to get the freedom and flexibility you’ve always wanted in a job. But growing your business can be a real challenge, especially at first. Build your networks and your portfolio, advertise as much as you can, and figure out the system that will help you to work at your best each day.

If you’d like to learn more about growing your business, check out the rest of our site at Optimize + Grow Online. We work closely with you to optimize and grow your business online. Book a free discovery call and find out how we can enable you to strategize for impact, simplify to amplify, automate to leverage, and connect for conversion.