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Marketing Your Freelance Business

Most freelancers are reactive — they wait for new leads to come to them.

The problem is that getting leads reactively depends on luck. Will you get a new client when you need them? Or will you instead need to start looking for a job?

Our in-depth articles and guides on sales and marketing will help you generate high-quality project leads on your own terms, and allow you to eliminate uncertainty and doubt.

Our Views On Sales & Marketing:

  • You should be proactive in how you generate new leads. Find out how.
  • Automate as much as you can so you can spend most of your time billing clients. Find out how.
  • Building an audience is the best way to generate high-quality clients. Find out how.
  • Asking the right questions is what separates premium consultants from everyone else. Find out how.

Recent Articles


Four Questions You Must Ask Before Cold Calling

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

Last week I asked you if you wanted me to run a mini-series on cold calling / emailing companies. Well, the answer was YES!

So let’s begin.

We all have ideal clients. They might be companies we admire, companies that have projects that are completely different than anything we’ve ever done before, companies that can be stepping stones to getting bigger fish, and so on.

Back when I ran my consulting company, I took on a job (that even then, and especially in hindsight, made no financial sense) for a multi-national in Tokyo. Why? Well, I love Asia, and I loved the idea of talking about our “Asian clients” when meeting with future prospects. They were an ideal client in that they were a stepping stone for our company.

My First Year Teaching: How I Built My Audience

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

Exactly a year ago I started my newsletter.

Though it didn’t really start out as a newsletter. At the time, I was writing my first book, Double Your Freelancing Rate. I decided that instead of just collecting email addresses, I’d presell the book for 20% off. Well, it worked. And I netted a few thousand dollars in initial sales — even though I was quite a few weeks away from delivering a finished product.

I knew that if I paid something to someone I didn’t really know and was met with radio silence, I’d get pretty perturbed. Hell, I might even ask for a refund. With this in mind, I started sending out a weekly mailing to everyone who bought my book. I extracted highlights from what I was writing, summed them up into an easily digestible format, and introduced my signature plain formatted, “Hi $NAME, …, Cheers, Brennan” email structure.

Should You Subcontract Through Agencies And Consultancies?

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

I’ve had a few people over the last few months ask me about my thoughts around subcontracting for agencies or consultancies (what I’ll call “firms” throughout the rest of this post.) A lot of us freelancers, especially those who haven’t systemized getting new clients, often see working through firms as a lifeline. These firms have the clients and the projects, but they occasionally need outside help. And that’s where we come in.So you white-label yourself as an agent of the firm, get paid, and totally avoid needing to secure your own clients. And hey, sometimes you don’t even need to TALK to the actual client!But there is a downside.

It’s mostly impossible to avoid being a “resource” for the team you subcontract for (keep reading to find out what the exception to the rule is.) You won’t really be able to price yourself on the value you produce, and your client — that is, the firm — is going to want to make as much profit as possible off you.

A Primer To Marketing Through Education

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

You’ve built a product, and you’re ready to make some money and get it into the eagerly awaiting hands of some customers.

…Except, you really don’t know how to do that. And you don’t have any customers yet.

If you’re like me, you were waiting for your break. That “Show HN” post that finally takes off, resulting in dozens of high-profile bloggers reaching out to you. Your product being so amazing, so immediately appealing, that it can’t help but go viral.

Use “Carrots” To Get More Qualified Leads From Your Freelancing Website

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

Selling your freelancing services is an example of high-touch sales. Unlike low-touch sales (like, a $29 ebook), there’s a lot of gray area between “not a customer” and “customer.” Realizing your company exists, investigating your portfolio and work history, first contact, asking for a quote, loads of meetings, contract negotiation – these are steps that usually take place before someone converts to being customer.

Rarely is selling your services a binary operation. It’s not visitor today, customer tomorrow.

A Carrot is a tool that helps bridge that gap for you. Done right, a Carrot will 1) get you more business and 2) make closing a deal significantly easier.

What a Carrot is not:

  • A sales pitch
  • All about you
  • A waste of time

A great Carrot is no-pressure, free nugget of information that establishes yourself as an authority in a certain subject matter. At the end of reading, listening, or watching your Carrot, no one should ever think, “Wow, I got nothing out of that.”

Carrots come in all shapes and sizes. You might want to put together a 7-day email course on SEO (example). Or if you’re a Rails developer, maybe a whitepaper that can help educate a potential client about your framework of choice (example).

It could be a monthly or weekly newsletter.

Or a podcast, a series of videos on YouTube, or an MP3 download.

Carrots help you sell without making clients feel like they’re being sold to.

Anyone can promote their programming abilities on their website, but if you give something away for free to a potential client that explains how you can help increase their bottom line, you’ll:

  • Reassure them that you know what they want (more profitability)
  • Reassure them that you have what it takes (solving their problems through programming)
  • Establish a foundation in the mind of your clients about how hiring for the type of services you provide works – with you as the benchmark.

…And this is done outside of a sales meeting, which is an unnatural environment where people can’t help but put up their guard and distrust most things you say.

Finally, your Carrot needs to move someone closer toward being a customer. This could be an explicit call-to-action (“Call us today and let’s see how we can help you get more customers through a personalized SEO strategy” on the last page of your free report), or your Carrot could just be a piece of a much larger strategy.

What kind of Carrot could you create?

Creating a successful Carrot means coming to terms with who you are and what you’re selling, or what I like to call defining your Persona. A Persona is the sum of three things: a value offering, a theme, and a target. “We hand craft community-centered online stores [value offering] for green companies [target] from our off-the-grid office nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains [theme].”

Once you have defined your Persona you can reverse engineer a Carrot and begin to educate and pre-sell your target audience based on what you know will educate them.

You know your audience – the kind of client you typically work with, the kind of client your website targets. You know what they need.

I’d start small… what questions does your typical prospective client have for you? Is there something common that almost every client needs to learn about or asks about? And what do you say or do that helps educate your clients and empower them?

Get started today.

Can you package this information into something downloadable? Can you create a low pressure, completely automated way of getting this package into the hands of someone you’ve possibly never met?

I bet you can. We’re all authorities on something to somebody. If you come up with a killer Carrot and want to share, sound off in the comments!

Advanced Training


Charge What You're Worth

In this free, 9-lesson email course you'll learn the foundations of why (and how) you should charge for the value you deliver to your clients.

NEW: Mastering Project Roadmaps

This is a brand new course that teaches how to get paid to estimate client projects. 5 hours of video + all the documents and templates you need to succeed.

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