The Gig Gardener

Working for yourself as a freelancer is a little like gardening.  You reap what you sow.  

It is true that gardens will ebb and flow with the seasons, regardless of the gardener’s interventions.  Seedlings come up unexpectedly, some plants survive serious neglect and some won’t ever work, regardless of the love that we pour into them.  And the weather?  Well, we have to learn to work with that.

But one thing is for certain, there are times of the year when we have to put some love into it sit back and wait.

It’s a little like that at KindredHQ this week.  We’ve got some big expenses coming up and we’ve got to start planting the seeds for future freelance work.  We’re thinking ahead, so we’re prepared for a (hopefully) bumper crop in a few months time.

Gardeners know that pollination doesn’t stop at the picket fence or garden wall; seeds get carried on the wind.  So we wanted to share some of this year’s seeds with you.

Sow your seeds

  • Enlist your family and friends to spread the word about you and your business.  Your marketing army.
  • Tell the relevant people in your address book that you are looking for work, where you are and what you can offer
  • Gently, ask your satisfied clients for referrals

Clients, like plants, need care and attention.

  • Contact all your clients past and present when you have a new service to offer them
  • Get in touch with past and current clients when you have completed a big project
  • Get client citations for your website and Linkedin
  • Use an email signature.  We’ve used Wisestamp to create professional looking emails.
  • Send promotions for services with your invoices
  • Make a poster for your client to hang up on their office wall

 Dig in

  • Get out and about with people in your industry.  We love Meetup.  You can find more or less every type of meet up to suit.
  • And go to meet ups where your clients are.
  • If you aren’t in a major city, then join a local business group.  Good ones do exist, so persevere.
  • Join an industry organization and get listed.
  • Big one this.  Keep in touch with ex colleagues.  You are most likely to get work from people who used to work with you.
  • Develop your elevator, or as we call it, your Twitter pitch.  If you are having difficulties with this, ask us for help!  We are developing a new service to help you do this (available September 2012)
  • Comment on blogs and in Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook conversations to draw people back to your freelance site.

Display your colours

  • If you’ve set up a company, you will probably have got some free Google Adwords.  Use them!
  • List yourself in business directories or Yell.
  • Get really creative with some business cards.  We don’t think you can beat for nice looking cards and other promotional goodies.
  • Take out an ad out in a local newspaper
  • Give a taster session of your time for free so that clients get to know your style.
  • Give something away for free.  We are writing a book! It’s easy to publish yourself these days.  Two of our favourite sites are Blurb and Lightning Source for self publishing.

Be an expert gardener

  • Get your story published.  Honestly, journalists are always looking for articles.  Go large and pitch to one of the big ones – you never know.  PRWeb is a well known tool.
  • And find a relevant blog too.  Offer to write for them and they will probably return the favour and write for your blog too.
  • Offer to speak at industry and networking events.  Eventbrite has lots to scour through and is a very powerful tool for organising your own events – even taking care of the ticketing.
  • If you can, get on the radio. Just email the radio stations that carry programmes that are relevant to you and get yourself listed as an expert.
  • Write an eBook and promote it online.  It’s easier than you think. (See Lightning Source and Blurb above)
  • Enter for an award.  Not all of them are that expensive and you might get lucky.  The promotion is worth the effort.

There you have it.  We start in earnest first thing after the holiday.

And in the spirit of self promotion; if you have a spare freelance job going that would suit a couple of jobbing freelance creative types, then please do get in touch.


Who is Alex Butler

Hello, I'm Alex Butler and I founded the KindredHQ community and blog back in 2011 after I re-started a freelance career. I LOVE freelancing and I wouldn't swop the freedom, control and joy of working for myself for anything. But I realised how much I missed the company and energy of other people - of having a team around me. So, I got a few people together one day with our laptops, a jar of coffee and some jelly babies and we sat and worked together one afternoon. We've been doing that every week in London, UK since then! I am still 100% freelance and I like to share the everyday highs and lows of being a freelancer here on the blog.

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