As all of us now know, the digital marketing space is only booming and moving upwards. It doesn’t look like the curve is going to fall anytime soon. With this increase in scope and want for internet marketing and marketers in the country, digital marketing is becoming one of the most sought after career options today. Digital marketing is a huge arena of various specialties and finding what you are best at is an important prerequisite to be able to move ahead in the space.
My journey started by chance. My work life began in a 25 year old advertising agency that believed and stood by traditional marketing in its bones. 6 months into my job as a copywriter, the same company found digital marketing as an arena they knew they needed to enter. With a new company, came new roles and from the company’s point of view, what better than to put a youngster, with booming ideas and creativity into the digital marketing space.
Being a Viscom student, I had some skills required pre hand. With decent design and writing skills, learning social media marketing I knew was the next step. The plethora of information on the internet welcomed me to Mr. Deepak Kanakaraju’s set of courses that helped learn and explore a lot of areas of digital marketing. My 5000 rupees investment into purchasing his digital marketing bundle was so worth it. Being able to learn bits and pieces of SEO, google ads, facebook ads, websites and the rest, I was able to comfortably pick what was for me and what wasn’t. 2 years into working as a social media marketer, and taking up multiple courses online, I had abundant time in hand with my work hours being pretty flexible.
This was when I was introduced to the concept of freelancing. Being in my 20’s, and in my first job, saving was my biggest friend. I found that self employed digital marketing was a great opportunity to learn as well as earning some extra money to be able to spend on myself.
So what is freelancing?
‘Freelance, freelancer, and freelance worker, are terms commonly used for a person who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term.’
I just say you get to be your own boss!
As mentioned above, defined by wikipedia, freelancing was a great source of both learning and income for somebody who had all the energy to use up their time and resources into working. With freelancing, the growth opportunities seemed to be endless. Being able to work with various clients from across industries, on various projects and across various states, sounded like an extremely fun thing to do. And so it was. Well, mostly.
Is freelancing a good career choice?
This is a question a lot of people have before they pick freelancing as a full time option. I was very apprehensive due to one reason that there was no security. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to work from home, follow time schedules and have a regular flow of income. But beyond all of this, I realized with time that with fear comes a number of perks, and these weren’t just perks.. These were opportunities to realise that being a freelance digital strategist was a career choice by itself.
There are various pros and cons of making freelancing your full time career. Some of which are,
- Being able to work on a schedule you make for yourself
- You are your own boss
- You get to do work that fulfills and interests you
- You can fix rates as per every project
- You get to work with various people
- Sometimes freelancing can get stressful
- No steady income
- Feeling lonely or isolated
- Could lead to lack of motivation
- The complete running of business is just in your hands
There are plenty more reasons why you should or shouldn’t choose freelancing as a career option, but that is for you to figure since they are all very subjective in nature.
So how do you start a freelance digital marketing business?
1. Build and pick your digital marketing skills
The first and most important thing to begin your freelance career is to build and be equipped with a strong skill set. It also involves knowing what your strengths are and what areas you’d like to improve through the course. Digital marketing is very vast as you know, and hence it is important for you to pick and specialise in your interests.
The various specialisations you can do are:
- Pay per click Advertising (PPC)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Websites & App building
We will talk about each one of these skills in detail in the next few blogs.
2. Build your personal brand and portfolio
Once you have worked on building up your skills and growing them, the next ideal step would be to build a personal brand and a portfolio that will help you in bringing in clients. This could either be in the form of an online website, or could be a document which shows some of the projects you might have done in the past or created for the sake of your portfolio.
If you are looking to grow your freelance business long term, an important thing to keep in mind is also to brand your business so as to have an identity that people will associate you with when it comes to their digital marketing needs.
3. Join well reputed freelance sites and online groups
There are tonnes of websites available to sign up as a freelancer. Pick which ones work best for your expertise and skills and build your portfolio on it. Beyond this, you will also need to create some noise in terms of promoting yourself across various channels to get noticed.
Some of the freelance websites you can look at are, Fiverr, upwork, freelancer.in, linked in jobs, etc. There are also a number of groups available on facebook where you can join and communicate with like minded people and who knows, you may also end up finding clients out there!
4. Find and pitch to clients
Once you have your portfolio ready, the next ideal step is to find clients. So the question we now have is, how to get freelance digital marketing projects?
There are various ways in which you can get in touch with people that may require your services or know other people that may be interested. Besides the mainstream techniques of promotions like direct outreach and emails, you may join freelancer groups across websites like facebook and present your skills on it. You may also take up content marketing and blogging strategies, to drive traffic to your portfolio/website and eventually get leads to pitch to.
Another great way to get projects is to talk to other freelancers and find connections through them. Networking and word of mouth is one of the strongest ways of being able to get leads across industries. What is also important is to never stop looking, and never start showcasing and promoting your brand.
5. Manage time and tasks
Once you have enough work and clients in hand, you need to be sure that you have the discipline you’d otherwise have in a full time job. Sticking to and fulfilling deadlines is an important element for your long term credibility. Once you provide good quality work and meet deadlines, you earn a space in the mind of your clients, this in turn leads to them suggesting your business or working with you regularly which builds strong goodwill to you name and your business.
To manage time and tasks, it’s ideal to use the various tools available online that help in keeping everything in check and making sure you do not miss deadlines. Some tools that can work great for you are available here: https://kinsta.com/blog/best-tools-for-freelancers/.
6. Know how to price your work
One of the biggest pros of being an online freelancer marketer, is being able to price your tasks based on factors that you understand. Your pricing should be done in such a way that both you and your client feel at comfort.
One of the best ways to know how to price without losing business opportunities, is to check what other freelancers in your field are pricing at. You can also try to find industry experts that may be able to guide you in this aspect of your business. Comparing and analysing the various pricing methods of people across the industry is important. Make sure that the price you quote is justified by the work you are going to do.
Remember, you want to not work for a client for just one project, you want to give them reasons to come back to you.
7. Collaborate with other freelancers
One very great way to expand your business is to collaborate with other freelancers and businesses in the digital marketing space. In doing so, you not only gain more clients, you are also able to network and give business to other people. For eg: If you are a content writer, you may look for a freelance website designer and offer him your services the next time he gets a website designing project. This mutual way of getting and giving business in turn becomes fruitful in the long run.
8. Never stop learning!
Running a freelance business does not mean an end to your learning process. Especially when you are a digital marketer, the business is so robust that you can never really stop learning. So, even if you have plenty of clients and projects to work on on a day to day schedule, it is very important to keep adding to your skills by using all the available information on the internet and keeping yourself updated with the ever changing trends.
It is very important to remember, learning is a process that doesn’t end with establishing a business.
I hope this article gave you an insight on how you can go ahead and start a freelance digital marketing business, how to get your freelance digital marketing work and how to sustain!
If you have any questions about digital marketing or freelancing, comment below or just send us a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading!