So, you’re in the business of starting a business.
You’re looking for the freedom and flexibility that comes with only answering to yourself.
You’re planning to take life by the reins and your industry by storm.
In other words, you want to get your own freelance business going.
Starting a freelance business is an exciting prospect. Perks like setting your own hours and pursuing your passion are certainly attractive — but a lot of effort, strategy, and planning goes into earning those benefits.
It’s a tough road with a lot of confusing twists and turns, so it helps to have a map.
Let’s explore some key points you’ll have to address using a roadmap to starting a freelance business.
1. Understand what you want out of your business.
Before you set your big freelance business plans in motion, you need to know a lot about yourself and why you’re starting your business in the first place.
Ask yourself some of the following questions — Why are you doing this? Is it to be your own boss? To set your own hours? To pursue your passion? All of the above?
And how much time and effort are you willing to put in? Is this going to be a side hustle? Are you going to keep your day job?
You need to know the answers to all of these questions — and quite a few more — before you can really commit to starting your own freelance business. You can’t actually know what you’re doing if you have no concept of why you’re doing it in the first place.
2. Have a solid picture of your personal financial situation.
The idea of dropping everything to pursue your passion on your own terms is starry-eyed daydream material. That’s why you need to be careful.
It’s easy to romanticize the image of you walking out of your office with a big smile on your face, knowing that you’re about to do what you’ve always wanted without anyone to answer to.
It’s a lovely concept, but you can’t get carried away. You need to ground yourself, and understanding your personal finances is a crucial part of that.
Familiarize yourself with personal and business-related expenses and understand how long your savings can sustain you. Take a good hard look at your financial situation, and identify a point where you might jump ship if things don’t go according to plan.
Take all of that into account and use it to set a monthly income target. There are a lot of helpful resources online — like the Boundless Freelance Target Income Calculator — that can walk you through the different factors you must consider when calculating how much you’ll need to make.
Understanding your personal finances will help you get a clear picture of what you can expect going forward, and give you a concept of how to handle the issues that are going to arise.
3. Make sure you’re really in it.
If you want to succeed as a freelance business owner, you have to be all the way in. You need to find and maintain a special kind of motivation.
You have to ask yourself some burning questions, including — Am I ready to commit as much as I possibly can to this? Is this exactly what I want to do? Do I have a comprehensive plan? Do I genuinely believe in that plan? Am I willing to fail?
When it comes down to it, you have to believe in yourself, believe in your business, understand it might not pan out, and know you’re willing to stay the course to successfully start a freelance business.
4. Set measurable goals.
You’ll need to set benchmarks to make sure your business is making progress and that you, personally, are staying the course. It’ll also help your confidence to know that you’re consistently reaching milestones you’ve set for yourself.
Make sure the goals you’re setting are SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Also be sure to set different kinds of goals — specifically short-term, long-term, and ongoing.
A short-term goal may be something like getting your website up and running with a certain number of monthly visitors within three months.
A long-term goal could be reaching a target in annual revenue within three years.
Lastly, an ongoing goal might be dedicating a specific number of hours to client outreach each week.
Make sure these goals are reasonable and outline a solid trajectory for your business. Keep careful track of them to have a better understanding of what you’re doing well, and what you could be doing better.
5. Sort out the business-end of the business.
You’ll want to handle the nitty-gritty administrative and legal ends of your freelance business before really getting started.
That could mean taking steps like formally organizing a business entity, getting a picture of your tax exposure, and familiarizing yourself with what your business contracts might look like.
You should also have a plan in place for cash management. How and when money comes can be unpredictable in freelancing. You should have some concept of how you intend to maintain enough cash to stay afloat.
Additionally, consider building infrastructure that helps you manage your sales, marketing, and customer service. A CRM is a great way to do that. Consider adopting one and letting it serve as the backbone for a lot of your business operations.
The main point I’m getting at here is that there’s a side to starting a freelance business that isn’t particularly fun or exciting. But you won’t get to enjoy the fun and exciting stuff without addressing it first.
Be sure to work out aspects like accounting, how your business is going to function on a day-to-day basis, and how you’re going to save and manage your money before really launching into your freelance business.
6. Start figuring out your buyer personas.
As per HubSpot’s own definition, a buyer persona is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
In other words, it’s the kind of person you think you’ll be selling to.
You’ll want to start by conducting general research about your target audience. Get a feel for who your customers and prospects are. You should consider reaching out to those people for surveys and interviews. This will help you understand what kind of buyer is right for your business.
From there, you’ll want to whittle down your base a bit. Pick out commonalities among the potential buyers you’ve identified. This could include considering factors like demographics, how they like to be contacted, behaviors, and interests.
Once you’ve identified trends within your audience, develop personas based on the different patterns you see. For instance, if you’re a caterer, you may notice that 40-to-50 year old women booking their childrens’ birthday parties or other family events make up a significant portion of your business. Use that information to develop a buyer persona specific to those qualities.
Give that group a name and boom! You have a buyer persona.
That’s a very high-level overview of the process, if you’d like a more in depth perspective on how to go about developing one of these personas, check out this article.
7. Determine pricing.
When determining pricing, it’s important to consider how you plan on charging clients.
Will you be hourly? Will you charge a flat fee? Will you use project quotes? It’s important to settle on how you’ll be making money before you start actually making it.
Once you’ve landed on your pricing structure, start figuring how much your services are going to cost. You can start by researching industry averages. You should be able to find some solid figures online. Sites like Payscale and Glassdoor are good places to start.
Additionally, take a look at How to Calculate Hourly Rate for Freelance Marketers & Consultants for some initial estimates.
It could also help to reach out to other professionals in your space to see what they charge and how those price points are working out for them.
Bear in mind, this isn’t an exact science. Finding the right price for your services will probably take some trial-and-error. You should keep experimenting until you get it right.
8. Create and maintain an online presence.
You’re going to need to get a website up and running as soon as possible. That’s going to be your first point of contact with a lot of your customers.
Having a great-looking website that’s easy to navigate assures potential customers that your business is legitimate and professional.
A well-structured, visually appealing website can also distinguish you from other freelancers in your space. You can use it to give your prospects a picture of your services, portfolio, and pricing.
Additionally, you’ll want to establish a solid social media presence. Outreach through social networks is becoming essential to any kind of business — and freelancers are no exception.
A robust social media presence is incredibly important when it comes to engaging with existing customers to keep them interested in your business.
Create and develop profiles across a variety of social networks. The more likes and followers you can gather, the more trustworthy and established your business will look.
9. Network, network, network.
You can’t conduct business without contacts. That’s like trying to drive a car without gasoline. But networking is much easier in theory than in practice.
It takes a lot of energy, and it’s often difficult to know where to begin. There’s no doubt it’ll be tough, but the success of your business could hinge upon whether or not you put in the effort to network effectively.
You should start by identifying where your target buyers are hanging out — both online and offline. Then, you can use that information to develop a marketing and networking strategy that meets them where they are.
Attend local meetings relevant to your industry to make personal outreach to potential prospects and fellow professionals in your space. It also helps to stay active on online forums about the areas your business covers.
Be sure to use social media to keep consistent contact between you and your potential buyers, as well as you and your fellow professionals.
Like I said, you can’t conduct business without contacts, and it’s not easy to establish those relationships. It’s also difficult to maintain those connections once you have them, but don’t get discouraged.
If you make smart, dedicated efforts to reach and connect with prospects and fellow professionals, you should be able to establish a productive network for your business.
Take a look at How to Master Non-Awkward, Effective In-Person Networking for more networking tips.
10. Market yourself effectively.
You should develop a solid content marketing strategy. Blogging is an essential part of that process. When you do, be sure to write content that is generally relevant to your field — not just specific to your own business.
You want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. That can give you the kind of credibility your business needs to stand out.
You want to show that your business is legitimate. The best way to do that is to demonstrate that you really know what you’re talking about when it comes to your area of expertise.
You’ll also want to write up content offers to attach to your blogs to convert website visitors into leads. A content offer is an asset like a whitepaper or an eBook with information relevant to your field.
You can use content offers to attract and log contacts. In order for a reader to download your content offer, have them fill out a contact form. In doing so, you’re identifying that reader as a potential lead.
You should also be actively promoting content on social media — and it doesn’t always have to be your own. You can actively post other thoughtful content from other outlets in your industry. By doing this, you can let your followers know that you’re staying educated about and on top of industry trends.
Your content marketing strategy can shape your reputation. If you create and promote enriching content that your readers will get a lot out of, you’ll stand out as an authority in your industry.
11. Maintain relationships and boost your reputation.
One of your first priorities will always be preserving the client relationships you establish. You have to do everything in your power to delight your customers and keep them close.
This means keeping consistent contact and providing exceptional customer service.
Positive word of mouth can be a huge boost when starting a freelance business. Happy customers can provide that, and even happier customers will go out of their way to offer it.
If you can, get testimonials from those kinds of clients to display on your website.
And it should go without saying, but everything on this means nothing if you don’t do your job well. Do good work. Put in as much effort as you can. Be professional and consistent with what you do. And keep your customers happy.
12. Stay persistent when unexpected difficulties arise
You must be prepared to stay the course, if you want to make it. Odds are you won’t see stellar results right away, and it will probably take a lot of time and effort before you do.
You have to set yourself up for success and do everything you can deliver on the goals you set for yourself. You’ll hit snags. Some things won’t go well. You’re bound to deal with at least a few hard times.
In spite of all that, you have to be professional, persistent, and do all you can to best serve your customers. That’s going to put you in the best possible position to make it.
It’s not going to be easy. But if your head and heart are in the right place, it’s going to be worth it.
Top 15 Facebook Advertising & Marketing Podcasts in 2020
- Facebook Advertising & Marketing Podcasts
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Facebook Advertising & Marketing Podcasts
Seattle, Washington, United States About Podcast In Next Level Facebook Ads Podcast, Phil Graham and Sam Carlson help you master Facebook ads and give you an edge over your competition. If you want to be part of a movement that is taking digital marketers to new heights, this is for you. Frequency 1 episode / week Since May 2017 Podcast fbadspodcast.com
Facebook fans 26.5K ⋅ Twitter followers 660 ⋅ Domain Authority 5ⓘ ⋅
Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States About Podcast ‘I know Facebook Ads have been effective for others, but they are too hard and too confusing. I’m running ads now, but I think they could convert for a better cost.’ says host Jenn. The Ads Maven, Jenn Possick is here to help by sharing the secrets behind making Facebook and Instagram ads work for you – to get thousands of new subscribers onto your email list and to sell your products and services to your existing audience online. Frequency 1 episode / day Since Sep 2019 Podcast inspiredchoicesnetwork.com/p..
Facebook fans 6.2K ⋅ Twitter followers 7.7K ⋅ Instagram Followers 1.2K ⋅ Domain Authority 35ⓘ ⋅ Alexa Rank 3.2Mⓘ
Portland, Oregon, United States About Podcast Learn Paid Media is a podcast that focuses on teaching you all aspects of online paid media. Nick Banik is a digital marketer with experience managing Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook, and Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads, YouTube advertising, programmatic display advertising, and much more. The podcast focuses on how to learn paid media and how to manage online advertising campaigns for both large and small budgets. Frequency 2 episodes / month Since May 2019 Podcast learnpaidmedia.com/podcast
Twitter followers 43 ⋅ Domain Authority 5ⓘ ⋅
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States About Podcast Facebook ads with a Twang is dedicated to taking the often over complicated process of creating successful Facebook ads and breaking them down step by step in less than 10 minutes at a time. Frequency 5 episodes / quarter Since Jul 2017 Podcast onefocusmarketing.com/blog-page
Facebook fans 11.7K ⋅ Twitter followers 613 ⋅ Domain Authority 23ⓘ ⋅
Utah, United States About Podcast Host Taylor Timothy is an online marketer, paid ad expert, and a lead generator. The Marketing Lyfe podcast is to help small businesses , and entrepreneurs get more leads and sales for their business so that they can grow. The key to success is using paid ad platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, youtube, and google. Running Paid traffic is essential for your success. You must be running Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google paid ads, Youtube ads if you are wanting to take your business to the next level! Frequency 2 episodes / week Since Sep 2018 Podcast buzzsprout.com/696946
Facebook fans 105 ⋅ Domain Authority 68ⓘ ⋅ Alexa Rank 10.9Kⓘ
6. Pin To Top
Philippines About Podcast Pin To Top is a podcast for Entrepreneurs and Experts who would like to get help doing Facebook Marketing and gain excellent business ideas. Let ‘Pin To Top’ provide you with Facebook Marketing basics, strategies, and tactics – plus excellent business ideas every now and then – to help you maximize your Facebook presence less the overwhelm. Frequency 1 episode / week Since Feb 2019 Podcast anchor.fm/pin-to-top
Facebook fans 871 ⋅ Domain Authority 74ⓘ ⋅ Alexa Rank 5.5Kⓘ
Woodland Park, New Jersey, United States About Podcast Fast Forward, Inc is a digital marketing agency in New Jersey. eCommerce Uncensored by Fast Forward, Inc is a podcast dedicated to bringing eCommerce entrepreneurs actionable tips and techniques to grow their sales, email list, and traffic. They’ll talk about Email Marketing, Facebook Ads, Social Media Marketing, Shopify, Woocommerce, Sales Funnels, and much more. Frequency 2 episodes / week Since May 2017 Podcast ecommerceuncensored.com/cate..
Facebook fans 219 ⋅ Twitter followers 174 ⋅ Instagram Followers 1.4K ⋅ Domain Authority 19 ⋅ Alexa Rank 1.4M
Parker, Colorado, United States About Podcast The Social Media Marketing Happy Hour Podcast hosted by Dawn Marrs & Traci Reuter is designed for the entrepreneur, solopreneur, small business owner and marketing leader who is ready to learn to leverage organic social media marketing, sales funnels, Facebook advertising, and Instagram ads. Grow your email list, generate more leads and sales and just be more effective with your marketing. Each episode is jam-packed with success tips & nuggets to help you succeed in your entrepreneurial journey. Frequency 2 episodes / quarter Since Jul 2014 Podcast happyhourhangouts.com/catego..
Facebook fans 7.3K ⋅ Instagram Followers 1.9K ⋅ Domain Authority 33 ⋅ Alexa Rank 1.5M
Clearwater, Florida, United States About Podcast ‘After delivering seminars all over the world, I realized how unique the knowledge I have really is. So I decided to share my ability, to help people become successful in what I view to be the greatest marketing era in humanity’s history.’ is what host Manuel says. Tune in to this podcast to get Facebook marketing insights, tips, and ideas from Manuel Suarez. Frequency 3 episodes / month Since Mar 2018 Podcast anchor.fm/facebookninja
Facebook fans 3.9K ⋅ Twitter followers 237 ⋅ Instagram Followers 11K ⋅ Social Engagement 1 ⋅ Domain Authority 74 ⋅ Alexa Rank 5.6K
10. The Content Fix
Richmond, Victoria, Australia About Podcast Do you want to know how to use content, social media and digital marketing to make people aware of your business, build engagement and convert that audience into customers? The Content Fix podcast provides you with mini masterclasses and interviews to transform your content and social media from a time drain to a winning business strategy. Tune in to learn the techniques for expanding your business. Frequency 1 episode / week Since Jun 2019 Podcast jillianbowen.com/podcast
Twitter followers 6.7K ⋅ Social Engagement 33 ⋅ Domain Authority 6 ⋅ Alexa Rank 2.8M
11. Casual Fridays
San Diego, California, United States About Podcast This is a podcast for marketers and entrepreneurs looking to get on the social media fast track. Tyler also shares tools and processes he personally uses to help him with social media management, marketing, productivity and more. Frequency 1 episode / week Since Aug 2013 Podcast casualfridays.com/category/p..
Facebook fans 4.7K ⋅ Twitter followers 4K ⋅ Instagram Followers 1.1K ⋅ Domain Authority 40 ⋅ Alexa Rank 1.2M
12. Exposure Ninja
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom About Podcast Looking for ways to increase your website’s visibility and significantly grow the sales it generates? Join bestselling digital marketing author and Head Ninja at Exposure Ninja Tim Cameron-Kitchen as he, the Ninjas and special guests share ‘real-life’ actionable tips straight from the digital marketing front line. Frequency 5 episodes / quarter Since Oct 2016 Podcast exposureninja.com/podcast
Facebook fans 4.6K ⋅ Twitter followers 2.1K ⋅ Instagram Followers 839 ⋅ Domain Authority 42 ⋅ Alexa Rank 140.2K
13. You Unplugged
Berkeley, California, United States About Podcast Tips, interviews, and shortcuts for marketers who realize they MUST stand out to be noticed. Kim Klaver helps marketers who want to get regular customers engaging others like a normal person, and automatically on Facebook and email. Frequency 15 episodes / year Since Jun 2015 Podcast youunplugged.com
Twitter followers 2.3K ⋅ Social Engagement 1 ⋅ Domain Authority 13 ⋅
The post Top 15 Facebook Advertising & Marketing Podcasts in 2020 appeared first on Feedspot Blog.
Your Demand-Gen Strategies Have A “Last Mile” Problem (Here’s How to Fix It)
/As a demand gen leader, you and your team are working hard to capture the attention of your target audience and nurture them through the buyer’s journey. You’re constantly strategizing, launching new campaigns and optimizing your performance. And each month, you hand off a healthy number of leads to your sales team.
But only a small fraction of those leads become customers. And as the pressure mounts to achieve ever-increasing revenue goals, your organization’s sales and marketing teams become embroiled in a vicious blame game.
Sales leaders complain the leads marketing sends aren’t any good, marketing leaders argue the sales team isn’t working hard enough to close the leads they send and no one can agree on how to make things better. Because, while marketing tech improves your ability to turn content into leads, it stops short of helping you transform leads into sales.
It’s a frustrating problem that’s neither squarely in the realm of sales or marketing, but an organizational fumble in the last mile: The critical window between earning a lead and landing the first meeting.
Why does this happen? And what can you do to fix it? At Kronologic, we’ve spent the last year investigating these questions. And here’s what I’ve discovered:
Why Do So Many Organizations Fail In The Last-Mile?
For more than a year, my company has been working with sales and marketing executives at many of the world’s fastest-growing organizations, and we uncovered something unsettling: Companies are losing, on average, between 30% and 80% of their leads before they ever become opportunities. That translates into literal millions of dollars left on the table every quarter (and, in some cases, every month).
We also discovered three main reasons organizations lose those leads:
- Competition is rising: The marketplace is more crowded than ever. Time is a precious commodity and even if you manage to capture a prospect’s attention and keep it through the initial phases of the buyer’s journey, there are zillions of other vendors/projects/problems vying for their attention.
- Customers are growing more informed: Thanks to big data and the proliferation of content, your prospects have access to most of the same information you do. Much of the buyer’s journey happens before someone reaches a salesperson.
- Everyone is busy: You’re busy. Your sales team is busy. Your audience is busy. All our calendars are brimming with meetings, phone calls and appointments, and the further you have to push out a conversation, the less likely it is to happen. It’s essential you nail down a time when your solution is still top-of-mind for your prospect because your sales team’s window of opportunity for landing a meeting shrinks exponentially every hour.
What Can You Do To Fix It?
We’ve identified the problem and why’s it’s happening, but what can we do about it?
Here’s where I give you some good news: You have the power to significantly reduce your last-mile problem. In fact, as an industry-leading marketer, there’s a good chance you’ve already identified lead deficit as a top KPI and begun building strategies to reduce it.
Early attempts to address this issue have emerged in the form of Calendly and other link-based schedulers that your sales team may be relying upon today. (And before link-based schedulers, you could summarize the industry strategy as “death by a thousand emails.”)
But those solutions are still too passive, requiring too much time and activity from a busy salesperson and their equally busy prospects. Plus, there’s no way to prioritize higher-value meetings.
Instead, you need technology that monitors leads’ actions and behaviors and automatically connects both parties at the moment you’re most likely to earn a meeting. (At Kronologic, we call this an Active Scheduling Platform.) By leveraging behavioral data and automating the appointment-setting process, you can capture a larger chunk of your leads and take back the millions (or tens of millions) you’re likely leaving on the table.
Plus, when salespeople aren’t spending vast portions of their workweeks playing email tag with leads, they can focus on other revenue-generating efforts. Like identifying which prospects’ pain points match to your company’s value propositions, for example, and having meaningful conversations that lead to highly profitable, long-term relationships.
The last-mile problem can feel insurmountable in our world of hyper-busy days, jam-packed schedules and shrinking attention spans. But, by relying on the right tech, you can seize opportunities to schedule those critical conversations and heal the discord between sales and marketing for good.
Aaron Bollinger is the Co-founder and CRO of Kronologic. Aaron is a winemaker, sales leader and former TV producer who’s not satisfied unless he’s taking on a new challenge. He’s spent most of the past two decades selling technology solutions to the world’s largest brands at all stages — from pre-seed to IPO and everything in between.
Brands should add text/message and have “identical support” across channels
- A new report from customer support platform UJET finds a steady use by consumers of all ages of multiple channels for customer service, and a desire for more texting/messaging.
- While there are still age-related differences across channel use, the interest in more texting/messaging support applies across ages.
- Multi-channel communications are becoming the norm for brands, as is the need for a consistent experience across channels.
Customers of all ages are gravitating toward text-based channels for customer service.
That’s a key takeaway in a new report from customer support platform UJET: “Optimizing Channels for Customer Support”. It is based on an online survey of 500 respondents in the U.S. by market research firm YouGov, and focuses on customer support communications with ecommerce, transportation and food delivery brands.
Improving customer service with texting/messaging
The report found that, although Millennial and Gen Z younger customers are in the forefront of expecting text-based customer support like texting and messaging, the trend applies to customers of all ages.
Seventy-two percent of all respondents said real-time texting with a live customer service agent would improve their experience, and 70 percent felt the same way about in-app messaging. The report also cites a 2019 study by call center software provider Aircall, which found that 91 percent of consumers prefer brands that provide multiple channels for customer service communications.
Other channels are still popular, however, and the use of chat/messaging is currently still in the minority. Almost half (42 percent) of the respondents across age groups will pick up a phone to talk to customer service, and 32 percent send an email. The report noted that many brands, especially in the ecommerce sector, still support only those two channels.
‘Next stage’ of customer service
Twenty-nine percent of all respondents use website live chat, 28% in-app messaging and 25 percent text or SMS. As might be expected, the breakdown differed by age group:
From the UJET report
It also differed by industry. In communicating with an on-call transportation brand like Lyft or Uber, for instance, in-app messaging and chat were the top channels:
From the UJET report
The report also points to the need for brands to move toward the “next stage of customer support,” which it defines as providing an “identical support experience” across channels.
In other words, a customer looking to solve a problem about a product can communicate across one or more channels with the brand, in an experience that calls on the same records about that customer’s purchases and brand contacts, and that has a similar mix of AI and human support — regardless of the channel chosen.
In addition to texting and in-app messaging support, large majorities of survey respondents said they wanted email support, as well as the ability to click a site or in-app button and receive a phone call from an agent at a convenient time.
But more channels are not the only customer service direction desired by customers. The report found that customers want the ability to easily share imagery with agents, so as to explain issues. Two-thirds respondents want the ability to upload and share a photo or screenshots with an agent. Additionally, 43 percent want to log onto an account using fingerprint or facial recognition, and 42 percent would like to chat with an agent using live video.
The post Brands should add text/message and have “identical support” across channels appeared first on ClickZ.
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