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How to Break Into Freelance Advertising and Consulting?

Dec 10, 2020
(updated: Dec 2, 2022)
Max 5 min read

Our world is changing by the day, and industries are rising and falling. In all this chaos, job and career security are absolute gold. It’s no wonder why so many freelancers are jumping into a field that shows no signs of slowing down: freelance advertising and consulting. It’s something every B2B and B2C industry needs so your opportunities are nearly endless. If you’re not crazy about working in a consulting firm, freelancing in consulting gives you ultimate control over your schedule.

Of course, the most difficult part is getting started. Take these essential steps to launch your freelance advertising career.

Fill Out Your Skillset

First things first: to freelance in advertising and marketing, you need advertising and marketing skills. Everyone has different background experiences as well as gaps in that experience. Before going freelance, develop any missing skills you might need.

Start with as many types of digital marketing as possible. Brush up on email marketing, social media advertising, search engine optimization, and other strategies.

It also helps to learn certain skills that could help along the way like graphic design, web design, copywriting, and similar abilities. To learn the basics of these skills, try online courses for cost-effective and time-effective options.

Develop a Strong Portfolio

You don’t just need the skills to rock an advertising campaign, you need to demonstrate those skills too. That comes from a well-developed portfolio of digital marketing case studies.

Think back to previous or current projects. Create case studies for each major or successful campaign you can remember. Provide background information about the client and their target market (while retaining confidentiality, of course). Include the project’s goals, what the project involved and what you did, and the accomplished results.

For formatting tips, check out some case study examples. Ideally, focus on case studies for clients that mirror those you want in the future, whether it’s small businesses, non-profits, or others.

Determine Your Pricing

You can’t make money without charging, so create a pricing scheme. You may have different pricing types, like an hourly rate for consulting services with a per-project rate for other advertising services. Most freelancers price each project independently but have a guide so you don’t have to start from scratch with each new client proposal.

Begin Building a Web Presence

It’s the 2020s, and the internet is where everyone finds everything nowadays. That’s why every freelancer needs a solid web presence.

Start with your own website. Include your bio of background information, that portfolio of case studies, and well-crafted landing pages for each service you provide.

When this is done, start expanding that web presence to other sites. Practices like guest blogging or even self-published blogging on sites like Medium and LinkedIn will boost your professional reputation. The goal is to build a following as a trusted, knowledgeable advertising expert.

Start with Your Existing Network

With the essentials of a website, web presence, portfolio, pricing scheme, and set of critical skills, it’s time to start client hunting! Begin by spreading the word to those you already know, like any professional associates as well as friends and family. Let them know about your freelance work and that you’re happy to accept any referrals they may have.

ABC – Always Be Connecting

Networking is among the most successful ways to get new clients – it’s practically a cash waterfall. To do it well, you need to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities. Strike up conversations in coffee shops and grocery store lines. Check out networking events in your area as well as seminars or conferences.

You never know when you’ll happen upon business owners who could become clients. To use any opportunity that comes up, always have business cards and an elevator pitch ready.

Remember, networking isn’t just great for getting clients. It also lets you meet collaborators for future projects, like a web designer who can build sites for your marketing clients or a freelance writer who can write the web copy. When you’re meeting them in person, you’ll know off the bat whether they’re a good fit too.

Spread the Word on Social Media

As any marketer knows, social media is a terrific way to spread the word. Get involved in Facebook groups for freelancers, your local entrepreneur community, and other useful groups. Post regularly about current projects to continuously build your personal brand. Like developing a website and guest posting, social media helps to establish or grow a web presence.

Maintain a Business-Building Balance

A common freelancing mistake is to get caught up in client work, neglecting your own business development. You might make great money at the time but soon that client could drop off or that project will end. Since you haven’t been laying the groundwork for new clients, it could be a struggle to get new clients.

Incorporate a set amount of business development time into your day to day to-do list. 10% is a good benchmark, so for 40-hour workweeks, spend four hours on business development. This could mean the difference between short term or long term success.

Developing Your Career as a Freelance Marketing Consultant

Freelance marketing consultants can make a pretty penny if they’re good at their job, maintain a steady flow of clients, and continuously build a professional reputation. The tips above will set you up for not only a successful launch but a successful business for years to come.

Get started today!

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