If you prefer to read (which I MUCH PREFER TO DO OVER WATCHING VIDEO) here’s the skinny.
WHY TO CHOOSE A FOCUS
When I started freelance I would write anything for anyone as long as they would pay me and it was legal. (The thing I was writing about.)
Now I much prefer to focus on the green industry. That’s what I used to do before I was a freelancer. I managed botanical gardens. I also did a lot of writing and took writing classes. Once I started writing, it was natural for me to write about plants!
Choosing a focus lets me get much better at one thing which helps stave off the deadliest of afflictions for freelancers:
That is where (even if you are good at what you do) you don’t think you are good at what you do, which paralyzes you to effectively market your services. Which makes you broke.
THOSE ARE JUST THE BASIC FACTS.
When you know you can do your job in your SLEEP you no longer feel like an imposter. You feel like a pro.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR FOCUS
What do you love doing? What can you not stop thinking about? What is something that you can do that others hate doing but that they need in order to run a business/have fun/ provide for their members/ provide for their families/ stay healthy, etc. etc.?
That is your SUPERPOWER, or as my business coach says, your unfair advantage. That’s the low-hanging fruit. THAT is what you want to focus on.
I have a friend who is a PHENOMENAL speaker. She talks about foodscaping and people LOVE. HER. That is what she focuses on. She flies all over the country speaking to people about her topic and she makes a living at it. She does not, for the most part, also write articles/ design foodscapes/ write seed package copy/ write web copy/ and knit hats to sell on etsy. SHE GIVES TALKS ABOUT FOODSCAPING. And she’s successful. She figured out what she is good at and she focuses on it.
If you’re going to spend a lot of time doing something, choose something you LIKE. There’s one aspect of my business I have focused on a lot over the past few years that, this year, I’ve discovered is not ACTUALLY my favorite thing to do. It also has kind of crummy ROI. So, I’m not focusing on marketing that service right now. It is still in my wheelhouse and I’m still good at it, so if someone approaches me and I have time and they’ll pay my fee, I’ll do it, but I’m not ACTIVELY seeking contracts for that service right now. I feel better already.
TAILOR YOUR MESSAGE
If you’re going to choose an industry to work in, tailor your message to that industry. DIG Digital does a great job at this. They produce content and do marketing for garden centers and all of their messaging is focused toward that audience. They write blog posts about trends/ ideas/ marketing techniques specifically for garden centers. That way, when a garden center needs marketing they read what DIG has written and think, “Hey, they know what they’re talking about! They know what I need!” and they’re more likely to hire DIG or at least talk to them.
I could, admittedly, do a little more work focusing my own mothership website in this way. I’ve worked in it, but there is more work to do. Look. All freelancers are human. We aaaaAAAAALlllllll have things to work on.
One thing I did do this year is create some packages to give my potential clients an easy entry point for working with me.
See, if you read my big menu of services you might get overwhelmed. WHERE TO I START? WHAT DO I NEED?
Whereas if you look at my packages you have some context/pricing/framing for what I can offer and where to begin.
It’s a start.
PICK AN AVENUE OF PROMOTION AND WRING IT DRY
There are SO. MANY. WAYS. to market your services and products now. Traditional advertising (print/tv/radio), social media (Facebook/ Pinterest/ Instagram/ YouTube), digital (email marketing, adwords) and so on and so forth.
YOU CANNOT BE AN EXPERT AT EVERYTHING.
Try a few things and see where you’re getting the best response. Then do a couple of those things until you’re not getting as much response or you can’t pour anymore resources into those promotional avenues to get a benefit from them.
THEN add/try something else.
If you get a lot of email signups from doing Facebook live videos, focus on the Facebook live before you then decide to go start a YouTube channel. If you get more clients from speaking at conferences than anything else you do and you LIKE speaking at conferences, find more conferences to speak at!
And, if a channel isn’t working for you, switch. If you want people to sign you up as a speaker and nothing you do on Instagram is helping you reach your audience and get more gigs, do something else.
I’m constantly tweaking what I’m doing so that I can reach my goals. You don’t have to launch perfect. Just pick something and do it and edit along the way.
But above all, FOCUS!
Is there something about freelancing that’s bugging you? You need answers or help? Head over to Facebook and comment for me. I’ll see what I can do to answer your question.