Staff to Freelance Tips

photo by: Hannah Strayer

If you have a staff job in the communications field the odds of being let go are higher than ever for very good reasons.

One of the largest costs for an employer is healthcare. Freelancers come without that cost to the employer. When it comes to cost savings many companies are seeing this a good reason to outsource their communications to freelancers and agencies.

When a company hires a creative person they are stuck with that person’s creativity. As the company grows and needs to change it is much more difficult to do that with creatives who cannot produce different kind of work beyond their own style.

“Say goodbye to full-time jobs with benefits”

“In the Future, Employees Won’t Exist” was the headline of Tech Crunch story.

Microsoft has nearly two-thirds as many contractors as full-time employees. Even the simplest business structures, sole proprietorships, have increased their use of contract workers nearly two-fold since 2003.

“40% of America’s workforce will be freelancers by 2020” said Quartz.

“Stanley if you put in as much work as you have been doing at Georgia Tech into your freelance you will be successful,” said a friend in 2002 when I started freelancing full-time.

That was the most profound statement at the time and made me think of treating my freelancing just like a full-time job.

Ken Touchton and me

One of the best mentors I have ever had in my life is Ken Touchton. When I started out freelancing full-time Ken called every week to check on me.

Ken told me how when he started out he would get up, get dressed with a shirt and tie and then go to the next room and start his day, even if he had no assignments to go anywhere.

If you find yourself laid off and having to look at freelancing let me give you just a few tips that are very general but worked for me.

Here is one blog post for those who have yet to take the plunge – 9 things you need to do before going freelance full-time.

Some of these tips will link you to past blog posts to help you explore each tip more in depth if you choose.

  1. Solve a problem, and then start the business – Your business is to solve a problem for another business. Ask yourself the question what business problems am I solving for my clients.
  2. Photographer are you Liked or Loved – Your need table food and soul food. The best way to get both is the personal project that shows your business solution through a photo project for example that shows how you solved this problem for someone.
  3. How much you can make as a photographer? – You need a good understanding of the cost of doing business. One key element is to know your personal family budget. If you don’t know what your personal bills are and how much you bring in and the difference you are probably going to fail in business.
  4. When it comes to marketing: Act like a freshman and not a senior – No one knows you or what you do so you will have to tell them and also communicate how your services will benefit their bottom line.
  5. Create a calendar with actions for you to do. Here are some things that should be on your list:
    1. People to contact by phone [weekly] – These are your clients and prospects.
    2. Targeted marketing campaign – this is where you write a letter for example that targets people in your database that are in a particular industry.
      1. Education Market
      2. Editorial Market
      3. Sports
      4. Medical
    3. Blog – this is where you share something that continues to build your reputation as an expert. I recommend three times a week.
    4.  e-Newsletter – I send one out monthly to my clients. This is just a way to reconnect with your audience. Remember to think of why they want to get this not that you want them to hire you.
    5. Snail mail – you can send hand written thank you cards to all your clients that hire you recently. Do this after each job. Maybe create a postcard or some other mailing. Remember they have to physically touch this before it goes in the mail, whereas emails will get automatically deleted and never seen.
  6. Networking events – You need to be out and meeting new people. I call this fishing with a big net.
  7. Workshops – You need to continue to grow in knowledge so plan to attend meetings through the year to help you expand your skills.

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