The gig economy. It’s what you have become a part of. And now that you are in this “freelancer” world, you know that you have to have a steady supply of work – if you want to eat and pay the bills, that is.
But the opportunities are certainly there for all types of gig work. In fact, Upwork now states that 80% of large corporations will be increasing their use of freelancers over the next few years. And that’s just the “big boys.” There are huge numbers of medium and small-sized companies that prefer to contract out “gig” projects rather than assume the cost of full-time employees that they really don’t need.
For you, these opportunities mean that, with the right tactics and effort, you can get that steady flow of gigs that you want and need. And here are some simple steps you can take to do just that.
1. Foster repeat business
You have completed a project for a client – let’s say a website design. And it went well. Make sure that you have a calendar of when you completed that project and add a reminder to revisit that client within a certain period of time, to suggest additional work. If you have designed the site, then perhaps it is time to recommend some remodeling or renovation, using some newer technologies that will provide greater user experiences. You might say, “I have just finished some website designs for other clients that are incorporating augmented reality elements. I think this would be perfect addition to your site. I’ll give you a call so we can talk about it.”
2. Seek retainers
When you know that a client will have several projects related to your skills and talents, prepare a proposal that offers a long-term relationship. If that client will commit to you, then you can pitch a retainer contract that gives a great price break. You can then have some security of long-term work and income.
3. Get thee to many gig websites
Sign up on a couple of freelance websites. Check these a couple of times a day. Most will alert you when a gig for which you are qualified comes up. But you want to be vigilant, so that you do not miss any opportunity. Bid, bid, bid on any and all that you know you can complete.
4. Optimize your website
A lot of small businesses will look for gig workers through generic searches. If you do not understand SEO (search engine optimization), you need to become a quick study. You will need to research the common keywords used for searches in your niche and make sure your website has those keywords sprinkled throughout. And craft a creative and compelling meta-description of your services.
The other thing you can do when you have time is to begin to blog about your niche. You can be entertaining and inspirational while still providing potential clients with education and solutions to their problems. If you can get these published on popular niche-related blogs, and include a backlink to your website, you may very well drum up business. And search engines like to see press mentions from reputable publishers.
5. Join groups
You obviously should have a LinkedIn profile. But to get your name out there, you must join niche-related groups and start participating in discussions. You want to become known as an expert and groups also provide lots of networking possibilities.
Other social media platforms have networking groups too. Join as many as you can support with participation.
6. Leverage who you know
If you have been employed in your niche and have former colleagues; if you have friends from college now settled into their careers, reach out. You cannot be shy. Tell them all what you are doing now and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of anyone looking for project work in your niche. And keep in touch. One communication a year will not do it.
7. Craft an elevator pitch
No matter where you may go – parties, weddings, bars, grocery store, etc.- have your 30-second pitch perfected. People will ask you what you do. You need an engaging response and a business card. If you are unsure about how to create an elevator pitch, there is help.
These seven hacks, if used consistently, should ultimately land you all the gigs you want.