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Remote work can be an attractive prospect. With so many benefits such as working at your own pace and reduced travel costs, it’s no surprise that so many digital marketers work from home.
Did you know that more and more businesses are looking for digital marketing help these days?
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to work for them from home?
If you’re considering taking your digital marketing skills into the freelance space, here’s some advice on how to become a digital marketing rockstar.
1. Write Down Your “Why”
In his fascinating 2009 TEDx talk, Simon Sinek inspired millions to challenge the way they thought about what they do.
He found that the best way to stay consistent, motivated and relevant, was to do so through first establishing your deepest motivations and values which push you to do what you do.
It’s important to establish your “Why” because it’s a great strategy to keep you motivated and it gives you a great starting point when it comes to marketing yourself.
- Write down your goals and motivations using Sinek’s framework below:
- Write down a plan which connects your values, processes, and goals so that you can stay motivated and on track.
- Summarise this plan and make it visible either as a poster on your office wall or as wallpaper on your computer.
Digital marketing from home isn’t always easy and will give you moments when you have no idea what to do or where to turn to.
This should give you the direction you need if work gets tough. If you’re not sure of what your “Why” is, the next step should help.
2. Find Your Niche
When thinking about your niche, it can be tempting to focus mostly your unique passions and how exciting it could be to make money off them.
Following your passion isn’t always the best idea though. If you don’t consider your skill level or the demand of your service well enough, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
In fact, according to recent research, the main reasons why most start-ups fail is due to them offering products or services that nobody wants.
You might love the idea of helping the elderly sell cat portraits via Instagram, but what if nobody’s interested?
Here’s Prof. Cal Newport’s Skills-Driven Approach to establishing your niche:
Step 1: Grow Your Skill In Terms Of What’s In Demand
What’s the best way to gain as much digital marketing expertise as possible?
Ensure that you build what Newport terms as “Career Capital” by gaining as much expertise and experience in these fields as possible before jumping into your freelance career.
Different Roles To Help You Build Experience
The Digital Marketing Institute says that these are the hottest digital marketing jobs out there:
- Content Managers and Strategists: This is a great role to earn experience in. Because it involves managing social media and SEO from the ground up, having experience in this role would be a great platform to grow your skills and interests.
- VR Specialist: This is the ideal job for you if you’re artistic and creative, and if you’re highly skilled with technology.
Gaining experience in building the most eye-catching graphics and special effects for social media can really put you in demand.
- SEO Specialist: If you’re one of these, you’ll be in high demand, period. Clients are always looking to get the best ROI for their web posts and will always be willing to hire SEO specialists to navigate the ever-changing search engine landscape.
If you’re good at staying up to date with changing trends, then this is a good option for you.
- UX Specialist: This is for you if you like designing websites and are good at designing them in such a way that they are engaging and well maintained.
- Email Marketing Specialist: This is a huge lead generation tool that takes a lot of skill to manage. This would be great for you if you’re good at copywriting and editing.
It would also be great if you’re a persuasive writer and a team player. You’d usually be collaborating on big marketing campaigns with other digital marketers. What a great opportunity to learn about the industry!
Keep growing and updating your portfolio with past projects you’ve finished and positive reviews from employers and clients.
Step 2: Start Doing Freelance Work For Yourself On The Side
If you’ve grown to become a skilled digital marketer, you can then start your freelance journey in your spare time while focusing on the demands of the market.
This will allow you to build your personal brand without the risk of doing it full-time from the start.
Step 3: Move Toward Your preferred Target Audience
Experience gained in Steps 1 and 2 should give insight into what niches are in demand.
Over time, niches and how those niches tie into your interest will likely become clear to you.
Have you developed any new passions within your field since Step 1?
Step 4: Consider Following Your New Passion
Since Step 1, you may have discovered an interest within digital marketing that you wouldn’t have considered before.
For instance, you could have discovered a passion for business development in developing countries.
Do research to see if that’s a viable and profitable venture for you, then go for it!
3. Know What’s Trending In Digital Marketing
The good news is that, according to Forbes, freelancing is in high demand for many employers all over the world.
Their research shows that 73% of hiring employers are continuing or increasing their use of freelancers.
This doesn’t guarantee success though.
It’s important to consistently evolve your skills and offerings to keep up with the changing digital marketing landscape.
Stay Relevant By Learning From Experts
There are dozens of courses on Fiverr Learn tailored specifically to the digital marketing industry.
Are you a digital marketing beginner?
They’ve got great courses about the fundamentals of digital marketing? Are you experienced?
Try one of their mastery courses to really stand out from the crowd. Courses on Fiverr Learn range between $40 and $150.
This is a great option if you’re new to digital marketing and you have a limited budget.
Udemy courses often run amazing special offers on courses which can cut their already reasonable prices by as much as 90%!
There are tons of other marketing and business related courses on there as well which means you’ll always have something new to learn!
If you’re someone who loves the process of constant learning, Skillshare is for you.
By paying a monthly subscription of $15 per month (or $99 per year), you have access to loads of relevant and informative digital marketing courses.
Try out their 14-day free trial here.
Build The Best Marketing Strategies
They’re excellent platforms that help you discover online behaviour trends so you can set up your best digital marketing strategies.
Make sure you check to see which of these platforms best suits your niche, your needs, and your target audience.
4. Maximise Personal Branding Through Your Own Website
Before considering which platform is best for you, create your own web presence through a website of your own.
Creating a portfolio of work on your own site shows potential employers your experience and expertise in a professional way.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
According to a Blue Corona article, 30% of consumers won’t do business with you if you have no website.
Also, 63% of consumers use company websites to communicate with those businesses.
Since your website is where you showcase your brand and your business, it implies that if you don’t have a website it’s going to be hard for potential clients to find you and talk to you.
They also mention 2018 research which states that 75% of people make judgments about a business based on website design, so make sure yours looks amazing!
The good news is that the sooner you get your website, the sooner you can start using those digital marketing skills to grow it.
According to this 2018 survey, small businesses like yours, it takes 2-3 years to boost your website and its domain authority to the point where most of your visitors visit your site through referrals, and you get regular daily visitors.
Show It Off!
Because you can design your website in whichever way best represents you, having one is a great way to showcase your unique niche.
Low Budget? No Problem!
WordPress.org would be our number one recommendation though because of its reliability, cost effectiveness, and versatility.
More than 35% of the internet is made up of WordPress hosted sites and is used by major companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Time Magazine, and Sony Music.
Stand Out From The Crowd
If you were looking to hire a digital marketing freelancer, who would you pick?
The one whose website domain is a million miles long and full of random numbers, or the simple, professional “.com” one?
A clean “.com” domain and an email address that isn’t a standard Gmail one can set you apart from your competitors.
Here are some Pros and Cons to consider when planning to set up a website.
Full control over how you present your service and brand.
Expensive to generate clients through advertising.
Input your own review system.
Lots of effort needed to generate clients.
Charge clients in whatever way you like.
Often requires a large, loyal client base in order to remain profitable.
5. Build Your Credibility
Credibility essentially translates into more potential clients in the long run.
Clients that are trusting you, will most likely also be telling their friends and family when your services might be in need.
Besides truly being doing your best for every client, there are many other ways that can help build your credibility.
Build Your Portfolio
If you have some experience in digital marketing, organize your work into an easily accessible portfolio.
Constantly add to this body of work by updating your portfolio on your website.
If you’re an Instagram marketing expert, for example, make sure one of your website pages showcases your amazingly eye-catching work from past projects.
If prospective clients land on your web page and their first reaction is “Wow!”, then you’re on the right track to success.
Source: Julia Fwest
Choose A Freelance Platform That Suits You
There are so many different freelance platforms to choose from, but which one is best for a digital marketer working from home?
That depends on a few factors:
Low Budget and low experience? Fiverr is a great option for beginners especially if you don’t have too much cash to splash.
Fiverr is ideal for you if you’re starting out because it allows you to grow your portfolio by getting a few early gigs within the first few hours of signing up.
Low Budget and Decent Experience? Upwork is a great option if you’ve already got experience and a decent portfolio.
It’s more exclusive as well so you can charge higher rates than you would on Fiverr and you have less competition with other freelancers.
You have to pay every time you place a bid, but at just over $1 for 10 bids, it shouldn’t be enough to break the bank.
Decent Budget and Decent Experience? Look no further than Contently.
This platform, while pricey at a few thousand dollars per month, gives you access to incredibly powerful software and support.
Its exclusivity also gives you access to consistent high-paying work.
These specific platforms are ideal for the digital marketing niche. I’m sure you’re itching to sign up for one of them!
6. Approaching And Acquiring Clients
Once you’ve chosen your preferred platform, follow this process:
Check Out the Work Feed
There should be loads of jobs on here that fit with your digital marketing skills.
Search for Your Niche
Can’t find the ideal job on the work feed?
Search for specific jobs in the search bar. Let’s say you specialize in digital marketing for the construction industry.
Type “construction” in the search bar and you should find something tailored to you.
Place a Bid
Once you’ve found an attractive job, select the job and make a bid.
This often requires you to write a letter of motivation as well as display specific portfolio work in order to convince the prospective client to hire you.
Wait and See
It can take between one and four days to get a response.
Be patient because it can take clients a few days to respond.
If your first bid gets rejected, try not to feel too discouraged. This can be common to newcomers.
Change Things Up
If you consistently fail to acquire jobs from bids, try other easier jobs in order to build up review scores and gather testimonials from other clients.
Don’t Overdo it
Avoid applying for too many jobs at once.
This may tempt you to take on too much work at one time which will affect the quality of your work for each client.
Also, some platforms such as Upwork charge you per bid you make, so make sure you don’t waste money making too many bids.
In order to freelance successfully, you may need to look outside of your preferred freelance platform to build business relationships.
Not everyone in need of a digital marketer is familiar with using freelance platforms, so it would be good to reach them.
Networking is an excellent way to start this process. It’s recommended that you have an up to date Linkedin profile and that you use it regularly to connect with potential customers and partners.
7. Maintain Business Through Building Skills And Maintaining Relationships
How Do I Network Successfully?
As someone who’s likely skilled in communicating online, you may not think of this skill as something you should need to grow much.
Never underestimate the power of networking though.
Don’t pass up the opportunity to regularly attend online networking events and build relationships either.
Source: Jordan Harbinger
Practical Skills for Networking
Networking expert Jordan Harbinger offers a free course in which you can learn the simple and practical skills involved in networking. Here are a few of his tips that could be useful to you:
- Connect Four – For 15 minutes per day, scroll down to the bottom four contacts in your Whatsapp chats and contact those four people.
Send them a message of encouragement and let them know that you’re curious about what they’re up to these days workwise. This will keep conversations with your network going continually.
Over time, these people will start asking you about what you do, which is a great way for you to pitch yourself and get more gigs.
- Email Roulette – Open your email on your computer and compose a new email. Start by typing “A” in the “To” field and see which suggestions come up.
Send out emails to as many people as you can who come up as suggestions. In these emails ask them how they’re doing, ask them what they’re doing for work these days, wish them well and see what kinds of conversations ensue.
Continue this exercise by typing “B” the next day and form this as a habit. Do this for 15 minutes per day as well if you can.
This is a great alternative to cold emailing because it ensures that you have a well established rapport before advertising and asking for referrals.
- Digging the Well Before You’re Thirsty – Who would you call for help if your business was going under and you needed urgent help?
Make a list of these people and use the above networking techniques to contact them and maintain those relationships.
Business isn’t always going to be booming and there will be times when you’ll need help to stay afloat.
If you leave it too late and ask connections for help out of the blue, chances are that they’d be less likely to help you.
You never know how much you’ll need the people in your network later in your freelancing journey. The sooner you sign up for this course and practice these daily habits, the better.
8. Charge Clients The Right Way
Because there are so many different freelancers who work in diverse fields, there are many ways to get paid as a freelancer.
If you’re not using a freelancing platform such as Upwork or Fiverr, its recommended that you follow these tips by Neville Medhora:
- Accept simple payments using services such as Paypal, Square, or Venmo. It might be tempting to use sophisticated invoicing and payment software but starting small is more cost effective and simple.
- Don’t market yourself as bigger than what you are. Try not to charge too much if you’re just starting out. Clients will likely see through this. Price yourself competitively but not the same as a digital marketer or company that has more credibility than you.
- Ask for 50% of your payment for the project upfront. This ensures security for you as it shows that the client has the money to pay you and is invested in your work before it starts. It also provides an incentive for you to finish the project well and on time.
Charge Clients in a Way That Works For You
Online platforms will typically offer several different payment methods you can choose from.
These are appropriate for people offering different services. Upwork, for example, has these options:
- Charging the client the full amount once the project is complete,
- Charging the client for milestones completed throughout the project,
- Or charging clients an hourly fee.
If you want to charge an hourly fee, you’ll need Upwork’s tracking app which times your work hours.
It also takes screenshots of your work every few minutes and sends them to your client so they see you’re not slacking off.
9. Use These Strategies To Ensure Consistent And Excellent Work
Freelancing from home can be a stressful and lonely experience.
Common concerns may be in terms of where your next contract will come from, whether your skills are still relevant in the current marketing climate, and whether your competitors are outperforming you.
Defining your “Why” and your niche are important steps, but so is defining excellence, specifically in line with your goals.
Here are some practical tips to consider if you’re new to working from home:
- Set up a daily routine. It can be easy to get lazy when you’re your own boss so make sure your day is planned out and daily goals are set before you start working.
- Get dressed. I know that making a living from home is romanticized because it allows you to spend the whole day in your pajamas, but it’s a bad habit to get into.
Putting on work clothes signals to your brain that it’s time to work, which can be motivating. Changing those clothes at the end of a hard day’s work signals to the brain that it’s time to relax.
- Work in a dedicated workroom. This is similar logic to the pajama situation. Having a specific location for work signals to the brain that work only happens in the workroom. This allows you to relax and unwind when your work for the day is done and you leave the room.
- Learn How to Prioritise. Divide your work and rank tasks according to urgency and importance. Do the most urgent and important tasks before doing others.
- Socialize. Working from home, especially if you love your work, can tempt you to spend countless hours working away on projects. Make sure you don’t neglect your friends and family though.
- Stay Healthy. Snacking while working the best, right? Not necessarily for your health though. It’s great to snack throughout the day, but make sure it’s on healthy, fresh foods in decent portion sizes.
Taking a break from work to exercise daily is also a great way to keep yourself energetic and your mind sharp.
How To Maintain a Good Attitude When Things Get Tough
According to Dr Carole Dweck, having a Growth Mindset can be useful when defining excellence and moving toward goals.
This means focusing less on success based on outcomes and more on success based on continuous improvement.
For example, your goal was to complete four contracts in six months for a certain rate, but you only managed to win three.
It may be tempting to be disappointed for not reaching your goal.
However, if you take note of the experience and skills you acquired during those contracts, it’s likely that you’ll feel more encouraged.
Now set your goal for four contracts in six months and see if you’re able to get closer to it the second time around.
Strive for Consistent Excellence
Excellence should be based on how effectively you continuously improve, not just on how much money you make or how many big companies you’ve worked for.
Write down how much your skills have grown in the past year. Wouldn’t it be exciting to learn more?
Set some growth goals, write them down, and put them somewhere where you’ll see them often.
Working in digital marketing from home as a freelancer can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor, but it is a profession that is in high demand and can be incredibly rewarding.
If you take the time to strategically build your brand over time and practice daily habits to stay connected and relevant, then you’ll be well on your way toward reaching your goals and becoming a freelance Rockstar.
Start today by writing down your “Why” and setting up your personal website or freelance profile.
It could be the first step in a fulfilling and life-changing journey.