Although Bootcamp Media is a team of people, we know what it’s like to be a freelancer and appreciate there are many workers of that type in SEO, copywriting and web design.
We also know how tough it is to stand out in the independent working field.
The phrase ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ can be a little unfair, in our book, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with spreading your skill set across a range of disciplines, and if you’re a freelancer it could be key to your success.
It’s certainly helped many of the freelancers we’ve come across, and the reason is simple – they’ve all managed to make themselves far more useful to existing and prospective clients by widening the amount of stuff they can do for them.Here’s how you can do the same:
Think about services that compliment each other
Let’s say you started your freelancing career as a copywriter. If you expand your horizons a little, you might realise there are further opportunities to be had if you also turn your attention to content marketing.
This has led many a freelancing copywriter down the path of blogging and even onto other forms of content production, such as podcasting and video work. The latter examples, in particular, often come from interests and hobbies outside of work.
Take a look at your main area of expertise and start to think about services that might compliment it and which are in high demand. For example, if you’re a freelance photographer, why not add video production to your list of services?
Speak to your clients
What do your clients need? If every discussion you have with them revolves around the main task you carry out, you’re potentially missing a tonne of additional revenue-making opportunities. Unbeknownst to you, your clients may have problems that you could help them solve just by widening your service provision a little.
And you know what? They won’t come to you with those problems because they’ll already have pigeonholed you within a particular category; you’ve got to be proactive and show a desire to help them in other areas.
Take a freelance digital marketing consultant. Although their core competencies will probably lie in consultation and strategy, what’s to say they can’t get their hands dirty once in a while? Why not learn some web design or app development?
During client meetings, look for opportunities where the client appears to be hunting for a solution. Usually, this will come after a piece of advice you’ve provided, but they probably won’t immediately assume you could help them. Their question is more likely to be “do you know anyone who can do that?”.
And guess what? You do!
It’s you! Be brave and put yourself forward at this point.
Putting it into practice
So, you’ve decided to add services B, C and D to your freelance offering. But how do you advertise them?
Beyond talking to your existing clients (see above), we’d recommend the following:
- Update your website to include the new services and, if possible, add some examples of the work (even if they’re hobby-based or have to be carried out for free to build an initial portfolio);
- Drop them into conversation when speaking to potential clients
- Tell your friends and ask them to spread the word and look for potential partners you could work with (for instance, if you’re the aforementioned photographer who has decided to turn to video work, try speaking to a few digital marketing agencies who might outsource such projects).
And now for the unpalatable: you may have to do some of the work for free or at low cost, initially. If the skill you’ve chosen is particularly new to you or if you only have marginal experience but purely as a hobbyist, you’ll probably feel a bit uncomfortable charging over the odds.
You need to tread a fine line here because regardless of your competency level, the old adage freelancers live by still stands: don’t undersell yourself. Instead, pitch your price at a level that works for you and which offers a decent return for the client. You can increase your pricing later as demand for the service increases.
A word of warning
Make sure you only add additional services when you know you have the capacity and a sufficient level of competency to carry them out. Equally, if you need specific equipment to make the new services possible, avoid splashing out too heavily. Start small and build out your offering sensibly. As tempting as it might be to throw the kitchen sink at your website’s services page, the last thing you’ll want to do is let people down when it comes to delivery.
By maintaining a realistic focus on exactly how much you can do each day and investing time in becoming as productive as possible, you’ll be amazed by how many additional services you can add to your roster. It’s impossible to master multiple services as a freelancer, but that really isn’t the point; you need to choose a bunch that you love doing and at which you vow to continually improve.
Again, we’ll point out that Bootcamp is a team of people rather than a single freelancer, but we too have added to our services to make the business as valuable as possible. There are very few masters of their craft in the world, but there’s plenty of room for people who offer genuine value by doing the things they love. People like you!