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Photo Credit: @kjackso via Unsplash

Marketing a freelance business can be tough — so tough, in fact, that most freelancers simply don’t.

This situation may sound familiar to you…

You REALLY need to drum up some new projects and cashflow. With all of the strategies and tactics available, it’s hard to know where to put your focus. Should you post more on Instagram, cruise job boards, or dig into LinkedIn? A twinge of desperation drives your activity, and like a manic hummingbird, you buzz from tactic to tactic without ever maximizing a single one.

On the other hand, when you’re flush with freelance work, your logic goes like this: “I can barely keep up with my client work. I have no time for marketing. …


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Photo Credit: @solomac via Unsplash

She had a great big mane of curly brown hair, a tan, and an athletic build.

Maybe she was a soccer player?

From what I could piece together while pretending to be reading my book, Mystery Girl was a nanny, helping out a family on Spring Break.

MG was in charge of the kids while the parents either played with the kids or relaxed. The kids clearly loved her, and I had trouble not staring.

My 15-year-old mind naturally struggled to focus on anything. I read the same page fifty times.

Where were one or two buddies when I needed them? …


Including a free spreadsheet template

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Photo Credit: @karim_manjra via Unsplash

Marketing can seem like a big, squishy, mystifying concept. Some of Balernum’s clients start out skeptical of it. The first thing we do is correct some misconceptions. Marketing doesn’t have to be flashy or complicated.

Marketing is spreading the word and giving people a chance to care. The best way to up your marketing game is to double down on what’s already working.

Before we guide clients through our step-by-step process for creating a marketing plan, we go through Balernum’s 20 Stories marketing exercise. I’d like to explain how that looked for one of our favorite clients. …


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Gosh, if I could bottle the time I have wasted on second-guessing myself and sell it, I’d be a very rich man. Kardashian rich. Richard Simmons rich.

Maybe you too have had a GREAT call with a client. You whistle a happy little tune while you work up a quote. You send it over to them, and PRESTO!

Crickets.

One day passes, then another, then a week, and still, no word.

You don’t receive the quick reply: “Let me think about this.”

The client doesn’t dangle this classic carrot: “I’m headed out of town, but I’ll follow up with you next week.” …


My middle kid Theo’s catchphrase of late is “I can do it myself.”

I LOVE this boy… his strong will, his humor, his sensitivity.

He is a joy. He spreads light wherever he goes.

He talks to strangers — we probably need to work on that? — and he brightens their day.

There was Charles at Sam’s Club on Saturday.

George at the grocery store.

The mother-daughter team working the counter at Buck’N Good Donuts. (Yes, that is the real name.)

My boy makes my heart hurt with love and pride.

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Meanwhile, his particular strain of stubbornness drives me…

CRAZY.

Theo’s tenacity will serve him well later in life, but right now, it adds friction and struggle to simple, everyday things like finishing his dinner or picking a pair of socks. …


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Photo Credit: @edulauton via Unsplash

I’ve spent the last 11 years figuring out why some freelancers and consultants thrive and others don’t.

By “thrive” I mean they build profitable businesses and enjoy significantly more financial, time, and creative freedom.

Some freelance designers have more margin and take more vacations. Some brand consultants eat more bacon.

Okay, that may just be me, but you catch my drift…

Some of us step off of the perpetual feast-or-famine rollercoaster, and some of us don’t.

Why?

The difference lies in 4 things which I will get to shortly. First, circle up for story time. …


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Photo Credit: @pcbulai

“Mr. Church, why do you have candles in your room? Are you a metrosexual?”

This came from Ben, one of the just adorable freshmen I taught during my stint as a high school English teacher in 2005–2006.

“Ben,” I said, “You have very rigid ideas about masculinity for someone who hasn’t finished puberty.”

My response wasn’t exactly kind, but I’m still proud of it. And I still like candles. In fact, I just ordered one to use at brand workshops.

As I have ratcheted up my prices over the last 12 months, I have gotten much more intentional about client experience. …


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The other day, I watched Salem, my six-year-old princess, try to make the TV do what she wanted.

She punched a button on the Roku remote over and over again.

That repetitive noise, drilling into my skull like auditory water torture, is what made me look up.

(My three kids are Jedi masters when it comes to producing noise of the irritating variety.)

“Salem, stop!” I said. “You’re going to break the remote. If pressing the button didn’t work the first time, why would doing it another 50 times suddenly do the trick? It’s not magic.”

Have you ever said something to a kid and then had a mind-melting realization? …


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(plus, our template you can steal)

Imagine that you are a clown wearing giant floppy shoes and a wig like a cotton candy explosion. Then, imagine you show up to a kid’s birthday party while feeling very uncomfortable because you personally hate clowns.

The mom shows you to the backyard where you run through a routine of tricks. The kids yawn. Time creeps past, and the party limps across the finish line. The mom writes you a check… reluctantly. You can tells she’s disappointed, and you really can’t blame her.

You only said yes as a favor to a friend. If the mom had asked your advice on how to throw her kid an epic birthday soiree, then you would have steered her a different direction. Go karts. Old-fashioned arcade. Laser tag. Even build-a-bear would have been better than clowns. …


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Photo Credit: Chris Benson

This may rub some of you the wrong way. I hope you’ll hear me out.

I recommend that you avoid bidding sites and content mills.

This may seem like strange advice to give, considering the purpose of this short guide is to help you get more clients, not to avoid them.

Even so, I don’t believe that using bidding sites to get projects is a long-term business growth strategy. Here is my thinking:

  • You will not get paid to write proposals and submit them.
  • You may spend more time bidding for jobs than you spend working.
  • You will often be asked to work for pennies. Once you factor in revisions, communication, and project management, you will barely beat minimum wage. …

About

Austin L. Church

Husband & Father. Writer & Freelance Coach @ AustinLChurch.com. Brand Strategist @ Balernum.com. Love Jesus, Megan, Salem, Theo, Ellis & you. You’re ready. Go!

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