Working for yourself as a writer, designer, or other creative professional is extremely satisfying. It's also lucrative, if you can face the reality that you're responsible for how much work you do. Your aim as a freelancer is to be happy, constantly employed, but not overwhelmed, so that you're making more money than you would be making if you were working for someone else.
You can avoid under-employment as a freelance creative professional if you compartmentalize the creation of products, and the selling of your services. These two activities demand different mindsets. Schedule both activities, and do them at different times of the day or week.
Set aside a couple of hours each day, or each week if you're moonlighting in your own business, to promote yourself and your services so you can build up work-orders. Over time, you'll learn how much work you need to have lined up in order to feel comfortable.
Here's how to stay as busy as you want to be:
=> Step One: Create a marketing package
You need a marketing package on hand that you can send out to prospective clients immediately, as soon as they enquire.
What your marketing package contains is up to you. Here are some ideas:
* a short bio (100 words max) with a photo. Note: you're a consultant not a potential employee, so you don’t need to send your CV, no matter how impressive;
* a couple of work samples. You can print, scan, or send a PDF file of these work samples;
* an outline of the kind of work you do for clients, or would like to do;
* your hourly rate, and how this translates into projects.
I like to compile all this material into a PFD file. I burn this package onto several CD-Rs, and have them ready to drop into the postal mail.
=> Step Two: Target specific companies
In the best of all possible worlds, which companies would you like to work for? If you're a writer, in which publications would you like to see your byline?
In a nutshell, the process is this:
* research the companies you want to work for;
* create a marketing plan for approaching those companies;
* schedule the activities of the plan.
=> Step Three: Develop a “how can I help?" mindset
If you've been a freelance professional for a while, you know that many, many companies need your creative services. The major stumbling block to them hiring you is that they don’t know what you can do for them. It's up to you to show them what you can do.
Create proposals for specific companies. You do this by studying a company, and working out how you can help that company, and then you send them a proposal.
=>Step Four: Cross-promote with others
Cross-promotion works for many people. It means that you join with others who are operating businesses which are complementary to yours. They promote you to their client list, you promote them to yours.
Copywriters join forces with graphic designers. A gardening-supply company joins forces with real estate agents.
To find companies with which you can cross-promote, join your local Chamber of Commerce, and go to meetings.
Step Five: Get local coverage
Local newspapers, radio stations and TV shows are eager to promote local businesses. After all, the advertising of local businesses keeps them in business. Writing news releases is easy, and cost-effective, because all it costs you is a little time, and a few stamps to mail your news releases.
There you have it. Five creative ways for you to find creative work TODAY. Please try one or several of these techniques. You'll be delighted with the results.
Author of many books, including Making the Internet Work for Your Business, copywriter and journalist Angela Booth also writes copy for businesses large and small, and consults on search engine marketing. Angela has written copy for companies in many industries, ranging from technology and real estate to the jewellery trade. Her clients include major corporations like hp (Hewlett Packard), WestPac Bank, and Acer Computer. For copywriting services and marketing advice contact Angela at angelabooth.com