Self-promotion for the freelancer

If you are a freelancer, you already know that a big part of your job is self-promotion or finding jobs.

You've done your homework, you've got your degree, and now it's time to put that degree to work for you. However, you keep running into one big stumbling block. No one will hire you because you don't have any experience. How, you ask yourself, are you supposed to get experience if no one will hire you? You're in a classic Catch-22 situation, but there is a solution to this problem. Volunteering in your field is a great way to gain experience, experience that will qualify you for the jobs you want.

For example, let's say you want a job as a freelance writer. You've got a BA in English, so that should qualify you for many of the positions that are available. But, you don't have a portfolio of published work. Many of your prospective employers want to see a track record of published pieces. Volunteering to write for anybody and everybody that will give you a by-line is a great way to build your portfolio. True, you won't be getting paid for your time and effort, but neither were you paid while you were in college. However, you will be establishing yourself as a published writer with a track record of success.

Numerous volunteer opportunities for writers exist on the Internet. A simple google search will lead you to dozens of links of web sites that are looking for volunteer writers. You can easily build a portfolio of published work in just a few weeks. Once that's done you can start looking for a paying freelance position.

Looking for a job is now your job. You should tackle this challenge in the same manner you would any work that is assigned to you with professionalism, dedication, and persistence. There are a variety of tools that you will need to assist you with this task and you need to make sure your tools are as sharp and as polished as possible.

First, you need a resume. Make sure you include on your resume the freelance writing work you have done. Just because you were not paid for the work does not detract from its value as work experience. Next, is your portfolio. This should be a simple binder or folder of "clips" (copies of published work with your by-line on them). In addition, if you have acquired numerous clips you may want to create a curriculum vitae. This is simply a list of the publications your work has appeared in and the name and date of the publication. And finally the last of your tools is a cover letter. A cover letter is simply a letter that states briefly, in no more than one page, your interest in the position and your qualifications for it. This cover can be rather generic if you don't have access to a computer; however, it is more effective if you can tailor a specific cover letter for each freelance job for which you apply.

Now that your tools are ready, you can begin your search. The Internet is probably the best tool you have available in your toolbox when it comes to freelance work. A google search will reveal dozens and dozens of freelance positions that are available. In addition, there are web sites that contract out freelance work for a percentage of your earned income.



Potential employers list their openings on the site, and once you become a member, you can contact the employer directly. The sites work in different manners when it comes invoicing you for payment. For example, some offer a free basic membership that will allow you access to only some of their listings. If you get hired, you invoice the employer for your work directly from their site, and they take a percentage of what you earn. Others, however, charges a monthly subscription rate, and also takes a percentage of what you invoice the employer.

However, if you don't feel the need to pay to look for work, the Internet has dozens of other sites available that list freelance work. It will take time and persistence to track them down. You should set aside a certain amount of time, each day, to look for work. Have your resume, CV and/or cover letter ready to upload, as many of the links have a direct e-mail option where you can immediately apply for the position.

Don't apply for positions for which you are not qualified. This will simply frustrate and depress you. Do apply for any and all positions that meet your qualifications, and stick with it. It will take time and persistence because there are usually hundreds of people applying for the same jobs. In addition, you can create your own job leads through the Internet.

You can do this by doing a google search on web sites that use writers, i.e., web content outsourcing sites, essay writing sites, e-zines, etc. Send them a cover letter expressing an interest in joining their pool of writers. You will find that this "cold-calling" may produce even better results than applying for the posted positions simply because there are not as many applicants for the positions.

Finding the freelance job you want is simply a matter of persistence, professionalism, and dedication. If you go about it in a professional manner, i.e., having the right tools ready, and if you make it your job to find a job, and if you stick with it, you will succeed. Remember most overnight successes usually have years of hard work behind them, hard work that finally paid off.

© High Speed Ventures 2011