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Why Laziness Is Never a Good Freelance Marketing Strategy

by Laura Spencer

on April 9, 2013

in Freelancing Basics Marketing

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer – Free Test Drive

Tell me what you think about this would-be freelancer. I heard from her over a year ago, and here was her question: “I need you to tell me several places online where I can be well-paid (she named a dollar figure) to write articles.

I often get similar questions and I usually refer them to one or more of several articles that list sites that pay guest bloggers to post.

In this case, I sent her the information that I usually send.

(Here’s an excellent list of blogs that pay writers from Bamidele Onibalusi over at YoungPrePro. Sophie Lizard over at Be A Freelance Blogger also has a very good list).

Most of the time when I do this, I get a thank-you for my help and I never hear from the writer again. This time was different, however, and not in a good way.

Almost immediately the writer messaged me back, “It’s too much work to try and get a guest post. I just want some place where I can go and write and get paid for it.

In this post, I explain why laziness is never a good freelance marketing strategy. I also list some basic freelance market tasks that every freelancer should be doing.

Why You Need to Work Hard on Marketing

Of course, there was nothing further I could do for the would-be freelance writer in my example above (and I said so).

She didn’t want to do the marketing footwork that all freelancers need to do. She had totally missed the fact that marketing is a big part of freelancing. Unfortunately, she’s not the only freelancer who has overlooked the importance of marketing.

Are you willing to do the work to market your freelancing business? Sadly, many freelancers are not.

Many would-be freelancers are pretty lazy about marketing. Unfortunately, if you’re just starting a freelancing business being lazy about marketing is not a smart way to go.

To be honest, most of us don’t get into freelancing with a goal of spending a lot of time marketing ourselves. We just want to write, or design, or translate, or program, or practice web design or whatever… That’s perfectly natural and understandable.

But if you don’t market your freelancing business, you’re done before you’ve started.

Some Basic Marketing Tasks

Here are some basic marketing tasks every freelancer should be doing:

  • Create a website with a portfolio. A portfolio shows perspective clients that you know what you’re doing.
  • Create a freelancing business blog. A business blog helps demonstrate your expertise and allows you to build a community.
  • Become active in social media. Social media lets you meet freelancers and prospective clients who you would never otherwise get to know.
  • Join online and offline professional associations. Professional associations have many benefits including networking, learning opportunities, professional discounts, and much more.
  • Research opportunities in your local area. There are many advantages to having clients who are located near your physical location.

Of course, if you do all of those marketing tasks, you’ll be spending a big chunk of your time on marketing.

The Question of Time

Freelancers often wonder how much time they should spend on marketing. One figure I hear quite often is that freelancers should be spending half of their time on marketing.

I disagree.

I think that 50 percent figure is too low for most new freelancers. At first, many new freelancers will need to spend most of their time marketing.

Even experienced freelancers need to devote a significant portion of their day (maybe even up to 50 percent) on marketing so that they don’t lose their momentum.

If you have free time during your workday, that’s not a sign that you should be taking it easy. That free time should be used for marketing–especially if you are having trouble finding enough work.

Market Smart

Of course, not all time that you spend on marketing is equal. Just spending a lot of time on marketing your freelance business doesn’t guarantee that you will get a lot of clients.

You want to be a smart marketer. You want to be sure to network and connect with those who are likely to need your services. And you want to make sure that your connections know what kind of freelancing services you offer.

So not only do you not want to be a lazy freelance marketer, you also want to be a smart one.

Your Turn

Are you a bit lazy about marketing your freelancing business? Or, are you dedicated to marketing your freelancing business?

What marketing tips did I forget?

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About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Lauraâ??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.