Tag Archives: freelancer tips

Tip for New Freelancers: Be a Niche Detective

Last week, I had coffee with a friend who is looking to start her own web analytics consulting business. In addition to giving her operational advice about what tools she’ll need to get started, I emphasized the need to find her niche.creating your own vision

She asked me what the top three things she could focus on to serve clients in the web analytics space. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer in my opinion. That’s because it all depends on the type of business, what tools a company has (or is lacking) and what customers they are serving.

It also depends on where my friend’s expertise lies and how she will differentiate her skills from those of other web analytics consultants.

So, here’s what I told her to focus on to get started:

    • Be a niche detective. Starting a freelance business is like solving a mystery. You need to unravel the clues as to where your skills will be most useful and which customers will demand the most of your time and expertise. So, I told my friend to go out and have coffee with everyone and anyone she considers to be a possible client or industry expert. Each meeting will give her insights to lead her closer to the niche to which she is most suited.
    • Focus on your preferred niche. It’s fine to say that you should follow the path to the money. Unfortunately, as a freelancer, you must also find projects that you enjoy doing the most. That’s because you will be more likely to succeed using the skills and expertise that you enjoy. And that will ultimately lead to getting more and more work in the future through satisfied customers and positive word of mouth.
  • Be picky. I read this article from The Next Web last week about why freelancers need to be picky about clients and projects. I couldn’t agree more. It doesn’t mean that you should turn down a lot of projects early on. But once you have gathered some experience and confidence in the skills you wish to sell, it’s important not to burn yourself out or spin your wheels working on projects that take you away from the work that you enjoy doing.

Are you a freelancer or consultant working in a very specific niche? Do you agree? Please share your thoughts below.

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Freelancers are Stronger Together

Over the past few months, I’ve made it my mission to meet with other freelancers in my industry to learn how they manage their own Circle of friends imagebusinesses and get their feedback on what I’m doing right or wrong. The more I meet with other freelancers, the more I realize that no one can run a business completely alone. That’s why I truly believe that freelancers are stronger if they work together.

So, if you’re just getting started in the freelance game, here are some recommendations that I have collected and learned from my first year of running my own small business:

1. Grow your network and form a support group.

It’s important to meet regularly with other freelancers or small business owners to share ideas and get advice on how you can improve your business. There are now plenty of events and conferences in Toronto that facilitate meeting other like-minded professionals. A few examples are SproutUpTo, FreelanceCampTO, Enterprise Toronto and more.

2. Follow and engage with other freelancers through social media.

Building online relationships is just as helpful as building in-person relationships. It’s important to develop a good rapport with a few other freelancers on platforms like Twitter, Quora and LinkedIn so that you can pose questions to your colleagues when you’re in a jam and/or can’t find the answer yourself. To find other freelance professionals, you can use tools like Search.Twitter.com (search for keywords and hashtags related to your profession), or search for other freelance professionals on LinkedIn. But always remember that your relationship will grow even further if you eventually meet in person.

3. Read and comment on blogs and articles from other freelancers.

Many freelancers (including myself) write about their experiences to share with others. So, make sure you visit and comment on their blogs and articles to build a relationship with them (and even share your own advice). Here’s a great resource that was recently Tweeted by one of my social media friends @thecoffice: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Successful Freelance Marketer http://freelanceswitch.com/freelance-marketing/beginner-freelance-marker/. Even though the guide is geared to marketers, there’s some useful information in there for any freelance professional.

Have a tip on another way that freelancers can work together to help each other grow their business? Please share in the comments section below.

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