4 ways creative freelancers can generate new business opportunities

Nov 8, 2018

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

One of the biggest myths that exists in the creative industry is:

If the work is good enough it will speak for itself.

As nice as sounds, that line of thinking has stopped many a profitable creative career or business in its tracks.

Of course, I get the appeal of being "discovered," but the reality is, if you want to work with great clients, make great money, and create a positive impact (you do, right?), you need to intentionally create opportunities that will grow your business.

If you’re already starting to break into a sweat, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

Here are 4 ways you can create opportunities that will attract better clients and build your business:

Build opportunities one step at a time

As odd as it may sound, one of the most surprisingly motivational and real speeches I heard was made by Ashton Kutcher at the Teen Choice Awards. In it, he told his rapturous and captive audience that “opportunity looks a lot like hard work”. He talked of all the crappy jobs he’d had and how each one led him to the next opportunity. It’s awesome, so check it out.

Your business is the same. When you align with your talent and values and do great work, people will notice how great you are, ask you to do more, and refer you to everyone they know.

How to apply this to your business:

Come up with a list of companies you’d like to work with or associations that target your ideal clients, and pitch them an idea. Maybe it’s a workshop or talk you’d like to offer, or some other way in which you could share your expertise.

Tell people what you do, who you do it for, and why it matters

A surprising number of creative businesses or freelancers have no messaging on their website.

If you don’t let people know what you do, who you do it for, why it matters, and what they should do next, how are they supposed to know that working with you is critical to their happiness and success? I won’t lie; coming up with a concise statement isn’t always easy, but this little formula will help you get a pretty good statement in place:

I am/we are a ______ (insert what you do) that helps ______ (insert ideal client) by ______ (insert what you offer) so they can ______ (insert results they want to achieve).

Our goal is to ______ (insert big, impact-making goal here).

Here’s mine if it helps:

I am a business coach who helps creative business owners and freelancers by providing access to mindset, marketing, and business strategies that will help them stand out in a crowded market place, connect with their ideal customers, and create the life they wish for.

My goal is to help purpose-driven creative professionals create maximum impact in the world.

This does not have to be set in stone; in fact, mine evolves all the time. But it should feel true and inspiring to you as well as to your target clients.

How to apply this into your business: Put your statement on your website, weave it into your marketing content, and use it at networking events.

Give people a reason to take the next step with you

If your website is little more than an online portfolio, you’re missing countless opportunities to have people take the next step with you.

A great way to build goodwill and engagement is to offer a free opt-in gift, which should be jam-packed with great information or inspiration. When your prospective clients get a taste of how they will benefit from working with you, they’ll happily take the next step to learn more.

How to apply this to your business:

Review the newsletters you regularly read and check out their websites. Are they offering a free opt-in gift, perhaps in the form of a checklist, guide or report? See what resonates with you (and more importantly, your ideal clients) and put something together.

Next step is to get it on your website. If you’re not sure how to do this, any website designer should be able to help you with that.

Bonus: your opt-in offer will also be building your list, which means more eyeballs when you have a new offer to share.

Offer a complimentary introductory or strategy call

Creating something that’s of value and free is a great way to build trust with clients. Another great way to build connection and share your expertise is to offer a free 30-minute introductory call where prospects can share their challenges, ask questions, and get free advice.

Don’t worry about giving away too much. The more you give, the more you get!

How to apply this to your business:

Every time you write a blog post or guest post, make sure you have a call to action that ultimately leads to the introductory call. Now, make it super-easy by making that call-to-action a link that takes them directly to an online calendar where they can book it with one click. Not only does this save you time and energy, it looks super-professional.

There are a million ways to create opportunities. The more you try, the more you’ll figure out what works for you and your audience, and the more opportunities you’ll create. Comment below and share with me what you will implement first. I’d love to hear from you!

Justine Clay is a speaker and business coach for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Through a series of clear, actionable steps, Justine will teach you how to identify what makes you stand out from the crowd, create a marketing message that resonates with your ideal clients, and build a successful and fulfilling creative business or career. Sign up for Justine’s free guide: How to Find High-Quality Clients and Get Paid What You’re Worth and start making monumental changes in your creative business or career today.

Justine Clay

Justine Clay is a speaker and business coach for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Sign up for her free guide: How to Find High-Quality Clients and Get Paid What You’re Worth, above.