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I have done freelance work for several years now, taking the occasional gig while still working a full-time "day job". I don't get many gigs, and I think it's due to not actively marketing myself other than word-of-mouth through existing clients and the web traffic through my portfolio site.

As someone who works full time, how can I market myself as a freelancer in a way that gets results and that doesn't take constant maintenance to keep up?

  • 1
    I'm struggling to see how this question could be answered definitively. It would seem to invite debate, though I'm also interested in seeing some of that debate, so I can't see fit to do anything other than make this comment at the moment. – Osteoboon May 22 '13 at 5:28
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Having an active LinkedIn profile can be a massive help. You can tag your connections to put them into groups and then send a message to the entire group. There is a limit of 50 recipients, above which LinkedIn won't send the message, so if, like me, you've got bags of recruiters connected to you, or a network of potential clients, you can easily reach them all with just a handful of messages.

  • And to elaborate: I get emails through LinkedIn just about every day for various contract positions. It is definitely an easy place to connect with recruiters. – Phil May 22 '13 at 1:15
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Unfortunately there are few marketing techniques that are going to consistently provide a return and don't need upkeep or consistency.

I spend about 1/4 of my time marketing myself. This includes an array of things:

  • Applying to speak at conferences (this requires travel costs as they don't always pay your way!)
  • Writing guest articles for industry related sites. (backlinks + you build authority on topics)
  • Writing on my own blog. (authority on topics)
  • Keyword research for landing pages and writing unique copy for each. (seo)
  • Networking with other professionals. (more traditional)

I honestly cant imagine doing all this as a "weekend warrior" or freelancing part time.

4

I think the first thing you have to do is to stop thinking of marketing as something you go out and do. Marketing needs to be woven into everything else you do because, as you put it, you only have limited time. This means you need to think about various activities you do as potentials for networking and marketing, and thus dual-purpose as many activities as possible.

Some quick and easy things are:

  1. An email signature which markets your services.

  2. Recreational tech stuff (slashdot, etc) with signatures that link back to your site. Same with other forums.

  3. If you can take up blogging as a way of both helping customers and marketing yourself, even better.

The next part is to weave marketing into the rest of your customer interactions. For example, the open source development work I do on LedgerSMB is all effectively marketing, but it is also R&D. (See how easy that was?)

(Edit: In case you missed it, making sure I put the link to LedgerSMB in the post here is an example of this dual purpose. I am making a point, being specific about what I am doing, and now if you hadn't heard of LedgerSMB before, now you have. Maybe some of you use the open source software, and maybe even at some point refer business to me. But hey, if not, at least I get upvotes, right?)

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