You’ve decided to ditch your full-time job for the thrilling life of a freelancer. It’s a big jump, and a whole lot of things are going to change in your life. You’ll be working differently, getting paid differently, paying taxes differently, and talking about yourself a whole lot more than you ever thought possible.
If all of that sounds a little overwhelming, don’t worry! Let’s start small, and tackle a basic questions.
Should you send your resume to prospective clients when you are trying to find work?
The answer is a big no.
While your resume is a great tool when you are on the job market looking for work, it’s not the right way to present yourself professionally when you are looking for clients in the free agent marketplace. Depending on what you are doing for freelance work, you’ll need to consider one or more of these tools to showcase your skills.
Your LinkedIn Profile
The very first place someone is going to go look when they want to know more about you professionally is your LinkedIn profile. Spend some time going through every section and make sure you have a great, professional picture, a punchy, results-oriented headline, and plenty of experience to back up your claim of expertise.
A Personal Brand Website
After they check out your LinkedIn, many prospects will hit up Google to see what they can find out about you. If you can claim your own name as your domain, this is a great way to show the world who you are and what you do. From simple, free tools such as Wix or WordPress to more complex (read: expensive) custom websites, you can easily create a basic brand presence.
A Portfolio Website
If you’re a graphic designer, writer, or any other type of creative professional, it’s a great idea to have an online portfolio. If you’ve got a website already under your company name, this can just be a page you create there. Specialized sites such as Behance and Dribbble are designed with easy-to-use templates for photographers, artists and designers.
When you’re selling yourself to a client, a resume doesn’t do a great job of visually presenting your skills. We all know that you should never put your picture on a resume, but when it comes to a bio, you definitely want to highlight who you are and make a personal connection. A bio should include a high-level summary of your career, bullet points about the types of work you do, and some quotes or testimonials that show how happy you’ve made other clients.
If you’ve decided to make freelancing a full-time income stream, it’s worth investing in some of these items. You can find helpful people who will do everything from a quick review of your LinkedIn to a full branding package that includes all of these items. Depending on your budget, you may not be able to do everything your first week, but over time, you should work towards a set of branded collateral that all hangs together. That way you can quickly and easily respond to opportunities, and put your best self out in the marketplace.