Freelance Pitching

  • Three ways to find new work in April

    finding new work in april

    Happy Pitch Slap Wednesday (not sure what the hell I’m talking about? You’ll need this post then). Welcome to a new series of monthly posts identifying ways to find new business and find new business.

    Pitching for work can feel like an endless, tedious task at times, so these tasks should help keep #PitchSlapWednesday fresh!

    Online: Facebook adverts. Have you tried Facebook advertising yet? If you’ve got a page, there’s a good chance you might have given the Boost function a try. At just £3 a post, it’s worth a try eh? But have you tried using the PowerEditor function? It gives you far more freedom to pick and choose your audience – so a post about your services can reach exactly who you want it to. There’s a great guide here if you’re looking to try it out.

    Offline: Flyers. In the world of digital media, it’s easy to forget about offline old school marketing. But depending on your services, a well placed flyer or poster can be really effective. Say you’re selling a service that requires face-to-face interaction locally. It’s important to reach them in the places they’re visiting. So if you offering a service where mothers are your primary target, make sure your posters are up in community halls, nurseries if possible and kids play areas. You can create a quick and easy poster using Canva.com.

    In a communityGuest posts. When was the last time you wrote a guest post? I know, I know, sometimes it’s enough of an effort writing your own blog. But a well placed guest post can make a huge difference to your viability – and help you reach new potential clients and customers. Perhaps even consider a post swap to get a bit of accountability with another blogger?

    What will you be doing for #PitchSlapWednesday this week?

    [su_service title=”Need more help with pitching?” icon=”icon: users” class=”a:link {http://thefreelancelifestyleecourse.usefedora.com/courses/freelancepitching }”]Take the How To Pitch e-course for just £29! Learn how to format your pitch, how to use LinkedIn to win clients, how to win on bidding sites and much more!a:link { }[/su_service]

  • Announcing: How To Pitch For New Clients, the mini e-course

    The Freelance Lifestyle (3)

    Happy Pitch Slap Wednesday everyone! For newcomers to this blog, Pitch Slap Wednesday is a friendly little reminder that as freelancers we need to be pitching on a weekly basis – even if we’ve got a full workload now. Quiet periods can creep up on you very easily, especially around this time of year, so having a line up of potential work is a Very Wise Move (and hey, if you get it you could share the workload with another freelancer).

    Pitching isn’t just for experienced freelancers though. It’s an essential part of building a business when you’re new. Essential but a bit scary when it’s a whole new world.

    A couple of months ago, the lovely Madeleine Noble Jones got in contact and asked if I did a pitch-specific e-course. Which sounded like a brilliant idea. So, I’ve put together the How To Pitch For New Clients mini e-course.

    It covers a multitude of topics, including:

    • How to identify your ideal client
    • How to match your services to their needs
    • How to sum up your services in a sentence
    • How to use freelance bidding sites
    • How to prepare for and excel at networking
    • How to use LinkedIn to boost your business
    • How to create a pitching document
    • How to set up a newsletter that could win you clients
    • How to set up your terms and conditions

    *Please note, if you’re already a member of the 30 Day Freelance Lifestyle E-Course, areas of this will be covered. However, there is plenty of brand new stuff in there too!

    Until the 14th November, I’m offering this mini e-course for $49 (about £30). Like the sound of it? Want to boost your clients and your income? Simply click on the link below!

    [themify_button style=”xlarge green embossed” link=”http://thefreelancelifestyleecourse.usefedora.com/course/freelancepitching/” ]Come and get it![/themify_button]

    What are you planning to do for #Pitchslapwednesday this week? Let me know in the comments or through Twitter!

  • Five ways to be a better public speaker

    (c) Sunny Gill
    (c) Sunny Gill

    Public speaking is one of the hardest skills to learn as a freelancer. Standing in front of a crowd of people, presenting your thoughts on a topic can be nightmare inducing. As someone who was a shaking, stuttering red-face mess at school when presenting anything to more than two people, I know this fear well. I’m the introvert who felt uncomfortable being the centre of attention at my own wedding.

    Even two years ago, I’d have stayed away from anything that involved the words ‘public’ and ‘speaking’. Embarrass myself publically? No ta.

    But I kinda love it now. I get what people mean when they talk about the buzz you get.

    So, how did I go from bumbling mess to someone who feels more comfortable with public speaking? (not TED talk comfortable, but room full of 100 people comfortable). Here are five steps I took.

    1) Using PowerPoint? Update to Prezi

    Update: I now use Canva for my presentations, both to create them and present them directly through Canva. You can have a nosy at their presentation templates here.

    As tech is something I both enjoy using and find keeps me calm, my first step was to look at what I was using. Mainly my presentation tools. PowerPoint has been doing the same thing for years and it shows. Prezi is far more impressive and a little bit more intuitive (plus if you activate it with your iPhone, people tend to get very excited). Other tools you could try are Haiku Deck and Slideshark.

    2) Make it funny

    One of the best ways to keep the attention of your audience during your presentation is to make it funny. I’m not talking about using an entire stand-up routine, but the occasional funny picture in your presentation or perhaps a funny experience you can share will keep them hooked.

    3) Make it interactive

    Ask the audience questions or for a show of hands throughout your presentation. If you show you’re interested in what they think, they’ll be interested in what YOU think. Also, it keeps everyone awake…

    4) Do it YOUR way

    The danger of watching too many TED talks is that you can feel pressurised to use the same approach. You know the one. Dramatic pauses for effects. Not a single indication of nerves. It’s brilliant, but if that’s not you, then don’t do it! The more natural you are, the more the audience will enjoy it. So if you prefer to use a bunch of props, pace around the stage (I’m a pacer and a hand mover), do it! It’s worth filming yourself beforehand though, so you can pick up on anything you’re doing wrong (such as talking into your boobs or failing to look at the audience).

    One thing EVERY public speaker needs to do though, is plan what they’re going to say. The idea of blagging it may seem appealing, but it rarely works out well.

    5) Practice, practice, practice

    This is the best advice I can offer. I’ve been fortunate to get a year of experience under my belt, working at a business school for young people. A couple of friends who saw me present at Blognix last year and this year mentioned they could tell the difference. Teaching classes of 16-year olds can do that!

    The more practice you can get, the better. Volunteer at local networking events to kick things off. Do training events at companies. It’s all great experience and will help you create your own personal presenting style. If you can’t do any of those, try YouTube. Set up an account (make it private if you want), and get talking about things. Or try podcasting (check out my lovely friends Sam and Lea at The High Tea Cast for more info on podcasting)

    I can’t promise you’ll be rivalling Tony Robbins anytime soon. And you’ll still worry that your legs will give way when you stand up to do your talk. But hopefully, you’ll also start to kind of enjoy public speaking.

    Do you have any tips for being a better public speaker?

  • How to create a Trovit job alert

     

    Trovit job alert

    As some of you may know, one of the things I do during the work week is teach young people about career skills – from CVs and cover letters to hunting down the perfect job. One of the things that they get very excited about is, Trovit. Trovit is a bit like Google Alerts, but for jobs rather than for mentions online. Every day, you’ll get an email digest of all the jobs that fit your specifications across all the big job sites – so it’s a bit like having your own virtual recruiter.

    While this is great for students and graduates looking to land a job, it’s also a great tool for a freelancer – it also checks out sites like Elance and PeoplePerHour.

    (This isn’t a promoted post, I just really like this tool)

    Got five minutes? Let’s set up a Trovit alert.

    Step 1: Head to Jobs at Trovit

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    Step 2: Pop in the search that you want to go for.

    I’ve gone for Freelance in London as it brings up the most results, but I have regular alerts for Blogger and Freelance Online Editor.

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    Step 3: Finalise and enter your email

    Happy with your search? Lovely. Hit the ‘Receive the latest job listings by email’ section and enter your email. That’s it! Now every day you’ll get an email summarising all the awesome freelance gigs you could apply for.

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    Bonus tip: Set up a divert so it lands in a special sub folder in your email. I’ve got it set up through IFTTT so it lands in my Pocket app to read on the tube.

    Now you can sit back and let the job offers roll in (kidding – this is just something to compliment the pitching you’re already doing, not replace it). Why not Pin this post for later?

    UPDATE: They have an app too!

  • Let’s Pitch Slap Wednesday: Finding new clients

    #PitchSlapWednesday

    I’m not really in the habit of telling little white lies or giving the impression I’m the perfect freelancer. Telling porkies tends to only adds pressure to others (and a whole heap on myself). I like to be honest with you – whether it’s about the state of my accounts or a change in the approach I’m taking. I love freelancing, but it’s not all onesie Wednesdays and tweeting for brands.

    So, here’s my truth this week: I have been a lazy freelancer in 2014…in terms of finding new clients. Work has been happily busy, but I’ve lapsed a little bit in terms of hunting down new clients. When things are going well, it’s easy to let these things slip – and you only realise when something happens to a regular client and you’re in a state of panic about finding more regular income.

    Chatting in the Facebook group for my Freelance Lifestyle Ecourse Alumni, several others felt the same – whether they’re brand new freelancers or experienced. So, in the spirit of adopting an accountable approach where we can share tips and set ourselves goals, I’m renaming today ‘Pitch Slap Wednesday’. Today, I want to make step to hunting down some new clients – and I want you to join me!

    So, here’s what to do. Choose three things from the list below, and put them into action today. There are a mix of tasks that take between a few minutes and a couple of hours, so even if you’re tight for time you should still be able to do something.

    • Update social media bios with your latest info and keywords – 10 minutes
    • Find a local networking event, and book your place/email the organiser – 45 minutes
    • Update PeoplePerHour/Hourlie/website bidding site bios – 45 minutes
    • Look up the hashtag for your local area on Twitter, and have a browse for potential opportunities. Tweet using the hashtag – 15 minutes
    • Pull up Google, and look for the local business parks. Look at the businesses, and consider whether it’s worth dropping a leaflet/pack round to them in the next week with more information on what they do – 60 minutes
    • Check out some of the groups on LinkedIn and Google+ that link up to the service or skill you offer – 30 minutes
    • Check out the services page on your website. Is it doing you justice? Is it SEO friendly? Spend some time auditing it, and some time on Google Keywords working out which terms work best – 60-120 minutes
    • Ask around – you’ll probably be surprised by how many of your friends and family don’t really understand what you do. Explain it in terms of what they’d need, and you’ll probably find one or two will have a lead for you – 60 minutes
    • Check out some online job sites you’ve never used – 90 minutes
    • Get in contact with previous clients, to see if they have any needs. Also, consider offering them a referral incentive if they don’t have anything for you but know someone who does – 30 minutes
    • Consider a special offer – whether it be a 30 minute taster session, discount if they pre-book several months work or a free ebook when they purchase your services. – 30 minutes
    • *NEW* Give LinkedIn Pulse’s new blogging platform a try – a great way to reach out to business contacts – 1 hour
    • *NEW* Create a Slideshare presentation to share publicly (this is on my list today!) – 1 hour
    • *NEW* Check in with your previous clients, to see if they have any needs – 30 minutes

    How will you boost your freelance business today?

  • How to post an Hourlie on People Per Hour

    screenshot641

    A common way to get freelance work, especially in the first couple of years, is to use a freelance marketplace. I’ve spoken about them in the past (especially this video chat with Rosie), and I’ve heard some great successful stories about PeoplePerHourand Elance in particular. One of the things I touched on during the last hangout is one of the functions on PeoplePerHour – the Hourlie.

    The Hourlie is a task or project at a set price, packaged up to make it easy for marketplace buyers to purchase your product. It’s a low maintenance way to use sites like PPH, as you don’t have to pitch for work – the idea is for buyers to find you and choose the best package for them. You can also add extras to the package, like additional word counts or an option to fastrack to project, in order to upsell. Creating an Hourlie is a great way to create a passive promotion for you – it’s there in the background silently working away for you.

    Want to give it a try? Here’s how to create an Hourlie.

    Step 1: Once you have a PPH account, visit the Hourlie page. 

    screenshot642

    The Hourlie page will take you to setup page. It’s simple to fill in – add a headline, choose your price and timescale and a category. Then pick your tags wisely (have a look at other people’s hourlies if you want a good example). Adding images, videos and quotes or recommendations will really boost your Hourlie, and improve the chances of being hired.

    screenshot643

    The second half of the page is an opportunity to add in more information, tell the buyer what you’ll need from them and add on any extra services. Finally, you can choose your location.

    Step 2: Choose whether to boost your Hourlie

    screenshot644

    Once you hit ‘Post Hourlie, you’ll be taken to a page with the option to boost your post. This costs about £9.95, and will keep you featured at the top for seven days, and increases your chance of being in the newsletter. This is optional and not essential.

    Step 3: Check your Hourlie

    screenshot645Once your Hourlie is complete, you can check it before launching it as live.

    And you’re done! Pretty quick and easy, right?

  • How to pitch locally

    howtobeapitchbitch

    In my post on Monday, I mentioned about doing a post on how to pitch locally – and I had quite a few people get in contact to say they really wanted to read it. So here it is!

    As is often the case with The Freelance Lifestyle, the posts I write challenge me to up my game as much as they (hopefully) do for you. I have been a lazy pitcher, so writing this post has givin me the kick up the butt I need.

    How to pitch slap your local community

    I’ve come up with five steps to pitching to your local community.

    1) Identify who your local community is

    Who is your local community? I live in Bracknell, so my direct community is in my town, but often expands out to the larger Berkshire (and occasionally Hampshire) area. If you’re based in one of the big cities, go for a particular area. This doesn’t necessarily need to be your immediate local area though.

    Another thing to consider is who your target customer is. For me that’s generally women aged 20-45, often mums who have just started their own business. So for me, it’s smart to focus on areas where this target market will be – like schools, community groups and Facebook Gossip Girl groups. One of the best ways to find out more about where they are is to get networking.

    2) Identify your own USP

    What makes you stand out from the competition? What’s your unique selling point? It could be your experience, your knowledge or your ability to work well with people. This will help you build your pitch.

    3) Decide on a pitching method

    How do you want to pitch? There are lots of different ways. You could:

    • Give out flyers at your local business park
    • Head to a networking event
    • Email pitch. (My method of choice)
    • Offer clients an incentive to recommend you to others (I’ve just emailed my clients to offer them a £15 Amazon voucher if they refer me to someone who then hires me)
    • Cold call. I’m afraid I’m not brave enough to do this, after spending a couple of years doing it in various jobs, but if you have the gift of the gab this might be your best option. As a personal note, I hate being phone pitched to.

    4) Develop your pitch

    I’m a big believer in keeping things short and sweet. Most people get enough emails and calls, so you want to get to the point as soon as possible. Same goes for networking and flyers. The beauty of the internet is that you can put more detail on your website, and give them the URL.

    The basic things you’ll need for your pitch is –

    • An idea of what their business is and does
    • An idea of what they’re currently doing instead of the service you offer (for example, if you’re a social media manager, do they have a social media presence already?)
    • A short (ideally just a couple of lines) introduction to what you do.
    • A couple of lines on how your services can help them
    • An introduction offer – this isn’t essentially, but sometimes an introduction offer can help edge that person into getting in contact, which brings us to…
    • Contact details. How else are they going to get in touch?

    For years, I avoided pitching because I thought it had to be in a certain format – and very formal. Actually, I think local businesses prefer something a little more personalised and friendly.

    Sketch out an idea of what you want to get across, and if you’re emailing or giving out flyers put together the content for a template.

    5) Do it!

    Pitching has been on my To Do list for the last two weeks. Actually, it’s been on my To Do list for months, but I’ve been putting it off due to wedding and honeymoon stuff. Now that’s done, I’ve decided to block out tomorrow to get pitching.

    There are things you shouldn’t do though…

    How to be a bad pitch b*tch

    • Dropping someone a long, long email about your service. What’s your first reaction when you get a long email? I usually delete it or put it in the ‘read it later’ folder that I never actually read. They’ll probably do the same.
    • Pitching without listening. If you’re doing your pitching over the phone or at a networking event, don’t forget to listen. Think about it – is it better to pitch to someone without knowing much about their business, or smarter to spend five minutes finding out about their business so you can tailor your pitch to them? Additionally, I’ve been to some networking events where someone (and I’m afraid to say, it’s usually a man) strolls up, throws their pitch in my face, then looks bored as soon as they realise I’m not their target market. Even if someone isn’t right for your business, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show an interest – after all, they might know someone else who is perfect.
    • Not doing your research. Lazy research is going to make you look foolish when the person you’re pitching calls you out on it.
    • Follow up to networking pitches. Had a great conversation with someone? Don’t forget to drop them an email a day or two later. Sometimes, people need a prod.

    Are you a pitch superstar? What are your top tips? Share them in the comments below!

     

  • Hi, my name is Emma, and I’m a freelance….er….

    freelance cat

    When someone asks you what you do, what’s your usual response?

    I’ve been freelancing for nearly five years, but I still don’t know how to answer that question. Right now, I’m doing everything from copywriting and blogging to social media planning and consulting. I love the variety of my work. But there isn’t one term to cover all of it – and freelancer doesn’t cut it.

    Which means I have the following options when introducing myself to others:

    • List what I do. While I occasionally do this, especially when out networking, it’s hardly the most interesting option. And it all sounds like I have a scatter-gun approach to business rather than offer the whole digital content package.
    • Tailor it to my audience. This can be a great option if you’re looking to give your services a little sales boost. For example, when meeting a business owner with no social media presence, I’ll mention my social media services first.
    • Introduce myself as an entrepreneur. I’ll be honest – I’m uncomfortable with this term. Like the term ‘blogger’, I think it’s developed a bit of a reputation. It also feels like a label others should give you, not one you should give yourself.
    • Create a term. Recently, I’ve been trying out Digital Content Consultant. It covers social media and online content, and hopefully comes across as more professional than ‘I’m a freelancer who writes and tweets stuff’.

    I still don’t think I’ve found the right answer. In fact, the world of digital media changes so quickly that it’s hard to find a correct label that is applicable for more than a few months. But Digital Content Consultant seems to work for now.

    How do you introduce yourself as a freelancer?