Not having a steady income as a freelancing can be an absolutely horrifying thing.
The constant fear of not knowing where the next job is coming from drives many freelancers either crazy or bankrupt.
It doesn't have to be that way.
Your career doesn't have to be a constant search for new work all of the time and a panic of up and down income.
In fact it is completely possible to build predictable, and consistent income for your freelance career.
In this post I will give you some simple strategies and tactics that can help you build a steady pipeline of clients and flow of income for your freelance business.
The mistake most freelancers make - The Scramble
Here is how most freelancers handle their business.
They land a large job, and are extremely excited as this will pay for the next month or two of their living expenses.
They bury their nose in that job, and quit searching for work or marketing themselves for the next month.
Then when they realize this job is coming to a close, they look around and realize that they don't know where their next paycheck is coming from.
In fear of going broke, they scramble around quickly looking for the next job forced to take whatever comes along.
They get the next job, bury their nose in the project, scramble around for work, and repeat…
Marketing and prospecting must be a consistent process
The scramble is not sustainable and if you do it too long, you will go insane or broke.
Instead, you must make your marketing and prospecting for new clients a consistent process.
You must invest time and energy into acquiring new clients, even while you may have other clients who are paying you.
Tons of books have written on this very concept.
Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor calls this The Marketing Machine.
Michael Port from Book Yourself Solid frames his entire book around this concept of consistent daily action toward marketing and promoting yourself.
If you can make small steps toward marketing yourself every day, then you will soon be at a point where you never have to look for work again.
30 minutes per day is all it takes
The scramble is not an effective method of acquiring work because it is something that you do every couple months when things get slow.
Instead, if you spread out your time and invest 30 minutes per day, even if you are slammed with client work, then it will go a long way in marketing and growing your career in the long run.
What seems like these small daily actions, will add up over time.
They will eventually build into a consistent flow of work so you don't need to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from.
What should I be doing to market myself
Many creatives are looking for a silver bullet.
They want an answer of one thing they can do forever that will make them never have to look for work again.
There is no silver bullet.
Instead, you want to invest your time into a handful of marketing and prospecting techniques and do those regularly and consistently.
While there are a ton of marketing tactics to choose from, it is generally best to focus on 2-3 primary techniques at the beginning and then build more on top later.
Here are just a handful of techniques that most creatives can do consistently to pull in new work.
- Reaching out to existing network and friends
- Applying to jobs on oDesk
- Blogging and content marketing
- E-mail prospecting
- Asking friends and past clients for referrals
- Building and improving your web presence
Remember, there is no silver bullet. So don't expect to do just one and generate a steady income.
You will need to diversify your time across a few different marketing channels and make small steps toward improving each of them every single day.
The bottom line
If you can invest just 30 minutes per day in to marketing your business and seeking out new prospects, it will add up over time.
Results won't be immediate, but over the course of a couple months you will begin to see your pipeline fill up in front of you.
Soon you will have work booked out for two months, then three months and more.
But remember, no matter how successful your career becomes. Don't give up those 30 minutes.
The more you market yourself, the higher the demand for your services, and the more you can charge.
If you want a steady pipeline you must do one thing.
Make consistent action toward marketing yourself every single day
Consistently show up, market yourself and soon you will have a pipeline of work larger than you ever imagined.