Freelancing may be the workforce of the future. According to a study conducted by accounting software firm Intuit, 40 percent of the U.S. labor force may be freelancers by 2020. With the perception of a struggling economy looming over businesses, companies prefer getting their work done without the need to place someone permanently on staff. Jobseekers who are attracted to the idea of telecommuting find the freelance world ideal for their lifestyle. Of course, the key to all of this is the ability to consistently find clients, and make enough money to pay the bills. That is where social media can help.
Create Your Brand First
Model Kate Upton, comedian Louis CK, and bad-boy singer Justin Bieber all used the internet to find fame and fortune, according to CNN. There is no magic formula, but social media does have a pretty solid track record of getting people noticed. There is some cyber legwork that needs to be done before a freelancer puts his name out in front of people. The way to get a job is to offer something that a business needs. Because a freelancer’s service is intricately linked to the freelancer, a personal brand summary needs to be created. This is a generic proposal that lays out your experience, strategies, and success measurement methodology. Use this as your cover page for social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. You want the first thing that a potential client sees about you to be your exceptional abilities.
Searching From Both Ends
One of the nice things about freelancing is that companies are looking for you, just as you are searching for them. This is one of the reasons that LinkedIn and Elance exist. LinkedIn is a social media network that promotes itself as a professional network, promising business connections. Because of this, LinkedIn is a preferred way to get your name in front of hiring professionals. One of the recommendations from LinkedIn’s director of global acquisition Brendan Browne, is to remember that LinkedIn is a social network, so it’s literally about being social. Use it to to connect with your peers in a way that allows your personality to shine through. Point your Elance page, where companies are actively looking for freelancers, to your LinkedIn page. This way, a prospect will get a sense of your character long before first contact.
Bring Home The Bacon
As freelancers, we want to make money, and we want repeat customers. Internet culture has made that a little bit easier. Social media requires discourse. One recommendation from the International Freelancer Academy is to interact via LinkedIn groups. If and when you connect with clients, and receive business from them, keep the networking flowing to create a mutual exchange. Using an electronic payment system makes invoicing easier on both the freelancer and the company and gives you the ability to request feedback through social media. Place a LinkedIn link onto your invoice, requesting public feedback. This becomes a testimonial part of your online profile. Let your customers be your best advertising.