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Let's say you're all set up and ready to go. You know where you'll be working, your office systems are in place and you're ready to show your portfolio to prospective clients. Now it's time to find those prospective clients, and more importantly, to let them find you. In another video I talked about building your professional network but cautioned at that stage not to hit them up for work. Now it's time to get a bit more aggressive. First, follow up on all past leads. Always keep track of who you talk to, when, and why as you go. Make that a habit.
That's how you build your professional network over time. Once that's done, here are some things you can do to make yourself more accessible and attractive to clients going forward. The first is to beef up your website. In an earlier video, we talked about preparing your portfolio and, of course, that's going to become a substantial part of your site. But there are a few other elements it needs as well. First, a description of what you do. Put it front and center, preferably, on the homepage. This is where you express all the soul-searching you did earlier while sharpening your market focus.
It should define your business in terms of the skill you're selling, the industry you'll target and the type of customer you'll sell to. Other elements include information about your credentials. That is, why people should trust you with their projects. Finally, make sure it's easy to find a way to contact you and that's it. You can also add other elements and I recommend you start paying close attention to other freelancers' sites for ideas. But your website is not done yet. You'll also need a domain name and a place to host the site.
Your site will also need occasional maintenance. A website isn't just a set it and forget it kind of thing that won't take a lot of time. But you'll either need to get the necessary skills or hire someone who has them. In either case realize that the benefits you get from your site are directly proportional to the attention you give to its planning, creation, and promotion. Your website is only one way to announce your availability online. You'll also want to have presences on the big social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.
I recommend that you do a land grab on those services for a name that reflects your business, even if you're not ready to add any content yet. And don't forget to add yourself to professional directories related to your skill and location. But eventually you will start building out your social media homes. Twitter of course, is only as good as the regular post you make to it, but there is a little space for self-description. And on Facebook it's possible to display quite a lot about yourself. On both systems, as on other social sites, there are opportunities for responsible promotion.
A final way you can get the word out is by using standard advertising techniques and I talk more about those later. But really, the two most important parts when you get started are that first, you have information that's clear and easy to access. And second, that you started taking advantage of the connections in your professional network, while at the same time growing it. If you follow the tips in this video, you're well on your way.
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