Igniting The Spark
Freelancing is a tough gig mates. It’s tough in the way that when you’re first starting out, clients aren’t exactly throwing themselves at you asking for you to create their logo in your particular style. It’s mostly just slaving away trying to get your work out there into the faces of people who will want to work with you. It’s about finally getting some perspective clients, sending them a quote to then… hear nothing back. But, it’s also about how proud you feel when you land an incredible client who you love working with to create their baby into a visual reality, it’s about getting paid to do what you love.
So, how do you get your work into the faces of people you wouldn’t otherwise connect with you ask? I have a couple of solutions for you, some cost money, some take guts, but all of them take a lot of research into who your brand is.
Let’s go back to basics
Firstly, before you even take a sip of your coffee, have you really figured out who your target audience is?
Your target audience is the group of people you want to engage with your content, think about your ideal customer… who are they? Where do they live? What age are they? What do they do with their spare time? Give them a name, write it down, memorise them, live through them.
Now, for the sake of this argument, head into your Instagram page and click into the hamburger menu and head to your insights. This amazing little guy will show you about the audience you currently have, take a look at your top locations, age range & gender, how does it measure up to your ideal client above?
It’s super important to understand the differences in your dream client and your current audience. For argument sake, you might be a designer looking for people to create ridiculously delicious logos for, but if your audience is mostly other designers, they probably won’t be buying what you’re selling. Don’t freak out though, take a sip of coffee, these are the people who you can build the best relationships with, people who support you & your endless amounts of freelancing questions. It ain’t all bad news!
But how do I get in front of my dream client?
Promote on Instagram
Instagram promotions are actually a great way to get in front of your dream client permitted you use the feature correctly. But since you’re newly refreshed with who they are, where they live and what their favourite coffee order is it won’t be that hard.
You have to figure out where you want to direct people to, either your profile, your website or your direct messages. Then, the most important part, create your own ad. This is important because you want to be in charge of where and who you want your ad to be in front of. After all, your hard earnt money shouldn’t be going all over the place to people who frankly, don’t give a damn. Make sure you’re being super specific with your audience’s locations, interests, age & gender. Next is the daunting part of deciding how much you want to spend and the duration of your promotion. Once your ad is approved you can track your ads engagement & insights.
Hashtags seem outdated but they’re an easy and frankly, effortless way to get noticed. A tip with hashtags is don’t be really specific where people won’t think of searching for that hashtag, but also don’t be so vague that your post will get lost amongst the masses.
I love collaborations, I love seeing two fields collide and create drool worthy things. Like a photographer and an illustrator collaborations, or a makeup brand collaborating with a graphic designer to create a limited edition piece. Why not even collaborate in a giveaway?
Giveaways have worked for me so well in the past. I’ve personally run two giveaways, one where I gave away pieces of my new photography print collection & another where I gave away three custom illustrations to tree winners. It’s a perfect way to showcase your skills & product, increase engagement and sneakily gain more followers (which is great to get into more people’s faces). Also, sometimes people might be a little sceptical on buying for the first time, so it’s a perfect way to get them excited, thinking of where they will hang the new print they want to win from you & see first handily that you’re not dodgy at all, you’re actually a delight.
You can also create a giveaway and promote it, jackpot!
Engaging with other people
Engaging with your followers is a no brainer, but engaging with people who don’t follow you can be kind of daunting. Go out there and look for your dream client, like their stuff, comment on their posts (in a way which doesn’t make you look like a robot) and send them a DM letting them know who you are, why you love them and that you’d love to design for them given the chance.
Use your existing connections
Your friends & family always want to support you, and frankly, they probably might not even realise they need your services until you tell them about you. A lot of my clients come from word of mouth from people I know in the wild! Other times, it’s when I’ve landed a client, who tells someone else about my work and the ball keeps rolling.
Just make the content
If you’re still figuring out your niche in the world, it’s totally fine! Just practice and you’ll soon figure it all out. If you’re stuck with ideas on what to design, why not try a 30 day logo challenge? You don’t have to do 30 days of consistent designing, it sometimes just sparks an idea, and run with it.
Basically, you have to put effort in to reap the rewards of clients. You can’t just sit back & hope that someone will message you (even though I totally wish they would).