View Full Version : Freelance Jobs?

10-01-2013, 10:29 AM
Hey all,

I've been working freelance on and off for the last couple years with varied success using freelance websites. It's been difficult recently competing with people in india/china/wherever else when they bid nasty-low prices for projects. In short, I was looking to get out of the websites bidding scene and lean more towards local businesses in my area, agencies, and whatnot. I was wondering if any of y'all had tips on how to get jobs. Do you go through advertisement agencies? Contacts through meetings? What have you tried and what seems to work better? Any tips would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance!

10-01-2013, 12:07 PM
I started by joining my local Chamber of Commerce, as well as a local advertising club, and going to every event they hold, networking my rump off, iPad in hand to show demo animations and passing out business cards. I also started going to local AIGA events to get a feel for that crowd. I've only been in business full time a little over a year and a half and it's been very slow going but I'm starting to reach a critical mass of gigs that are paying the bills. I strongly recommend having some savings or another revenue stream to help tide you over because you are going to need it at first.

I believe a key approach is to get cozy with your local ad agencies. Help them see you not as competition but as an asset they can draw on to add to what they offer their clients.

10-01-2013, 02:36 PM
Thanks Spinland. I'm wondering if the ole' "dropping of a demo reel at every agency" would be worthwhile. Maybe even visiting local businesses directly? I'm not even sure where to start.
Going to meetings is my next goal though.

10-01-2013, 02:48 PM
Every place you've mentioned is the place to start.

I found that the frustration at the thought and feeling overwhelmed were the biggest culprits at the kind of juncture you describe. Being overwhelmed often leaves you with statements like the above. This is where those hearing the statements so want you to hear yourself as you say where to go but then end with not sure where to start... It's the tragic kind of funny that this is.

You have skills so don't let this time ding you into thinking otherwise. Be clear as to what you need to do and then, and seriously, this is big, do it. You know what to do but you are now questioning all of that clear and wise thinking you have done.
You've had the good thoughts. Do the good thoughts. Do more of the good thoughts. You should be good.

10-01-2013, 03:06 PM
Thanks a lot Robert. I really appreciate the advice and kind words. I'm trying to compile a list of things to do so I can actually go through them all. I don't really know where to start or if anyone had advise so I thought I'd ask. I imagine many of you have gone through the same thing, so I thought I could learn a bit or at least figure out what's worked or hasn't worked for y'all.

10-01-2013, 03:26 PM
Personally I find that making a personal connection is significant value added. Just dropping off a demo reel (IMHO) doesn't match the impact of chatting with them over a drink and then producing the reel to show them right there, in person. The one thing you are going to be able to leverage that makes you value added over those commoditizing sites you've been using is the relationships you forge with potential clients. If they don't see you for yourself and what you offer instead of simply a bottom line then you (again, IMHO) aren't going to be able to compete with those guys working for pennies on the dollar overseas. That's why I espouse joining your local Chamber (and any other related organizations in your area) and attending every event you can get yourself over to.

Two little tricks I use: 1) have your current demo reel on a tablet computer and bring that with you to events (a good smart phone is second best), and 2) you can get branded small-capacity USB thumb drives (I use a 2GB one) for pretty reasonable rates if you do some searching. Once they're hooked by your reel leave them a copy on the branded thumb drive.

10-01-2013, 03:32 PM
Thanks again Spinland. I totally agree with you. I guess I'll save all the money from burning DVDs and just buy an iPad then ;) :P

- - - Updated - - -

Two little tricks I use: 1) have your current demo reel on a tablet computer and bring that with you to events (a good smart phone is second best), and 2) you can get branded small-capacity USB thumb drives (I use a 2GB one) for pretty reasonable rates if you do some searching. Once they're hooked by your reel leave them a copy on the branded thumb drive.

Spectacular ideas. Thanks a lot. Almost missed them with the edit. Thanks.

10-01-2013, 04:24 PM
At least half of your job is selling yourself!

Start by visiting every business in the area on a Tuesday or Wednesday until you have worked through the lot. Drive to the industrial & commercial areas & work through all of these areas one by one.

I would print off a brochure (even an A4 will be fine to get you going, & to the point (a few thousand these days doesn't cost much)) you can give a flyer together with a business card.

If you can't see anyone be nice to the receptionist & ask her to give, your card (& flyer) to the appropriate person also ask the receptionist her name. Be brief & ask who is the person you should see & the best time to phone them, then leave. Phone the company in a few days or no more than a week later to speak to the person & ask if they got your information.

The ones you can't drop into in that area (no hawkers), phone to make an appointment. Work through street by street so you minimise wasting time. Don't make too many appointments you never want to be late (if you have not done cold calling before just make a couple of appointments not to overwhelm yourself). When you are seeing people don't under or over dress. Keep to the point as there are just as busy as you. Also mornings are better than afternoons. Forget Monday, people have things to do & are in a bad mood, forget Friday as people are focused on other things.

As soon as you are out the door write down the contact details also the receptionist's name, write down names etc if they did not give you are card. Also write down some brief points of the good things that happened & the mistakes you made so you don't repeat these errors. You will start to get a feel quickly what is working.

Try to use who, why, what, where, when questions & avoid yes no questions.

Go to all business, you may get some other work not in your key field but if you have bills to pay one can't get choosey!

Even if you can just leave a card & make an appointment for another time, you do not want to waste their time, just this initial contact is a really good start.

I was a sales rep years ago in a different life. I completely changed jobs & for my current work, I printed a brochure (a couple of updated versions), saw a lot of people and mailed a lot more & got a stack of work.

You have to physically get out there & put in the effort. Become your own sales rep.

10-01-2013, 05:22 PM
Thanks Jon. Great tips and awesome advice. Thanks so much. Very valuable advice. I appreciate you taking the time to list all these things.

10-01-2013, 08:29 PM
I would make Tuesday your "selling" day. Unless you are under the most critical deadline, this is your job for the day, to sell yourself. It is hard at first, & you will stuff up. But you will learn from your stuff ups very quickly. You really have to get out there, contact people, gather information. Be organised.

While you are not "working". Your job is to work for yourself. When you are working really put the effort in 1 day a week to advertise yourself. Because what you are doing is the ground work for the quiet times ahead.

Just to get going, go to your local printer & get a 100 A4 flyers printed. & in the mean time work on a more refined flyer, but it does not have to be expensive & it is also best not to look expensive as clients will think that this is when there money is going. You have to be economical & to the point with your advertising. To get going, anything is better than nothing & at the same time you are learning from your mistakes which in itself creates a wealth of information & really is invaluable.

Get yours kids etc to put a flyer & business card in & stamp on envelopes, stagger out the posting & then phone the business a week later (keep a data base of when & who you have sent information), "that you are following up from the information you sent out" The whole process automatically gives you a reason to contact them, if they "didn't get your flyer" send them another one in the mail today, & by default you have spoken to them & got a contact!

Hand write addresses on envelope & manually put the stamp on them. I know it is tedious but, people actually pay more attention when they see that there is some personal effort involved. If you set yourself to say address 50 a day to start with & 20 a day in the following months and maybe 10 a day there after. You will be surprised how quickly you will get letters out there & get a response.

My initial mail out when I first got into model making, I got a plenty of work reasonably & surprisingly quickly, but I did make my job of getting work my main job. Cold calling, mailing, phoning, flyer, business card. Set yourself targets, This is your job!

The key is that if people see that there is personal effort & that the client feels they are dealing with a "real" person it will make a hugh difference. Also put in a Phone Landline in if you do not have one to make you look more permanent if you don't have one.

Another tip. When speaking on the phone to potential clients, STAND UP while on the phone! It is psychological & it works, if you are doubtful STAND ON YOUR DESK! If you think you look like an idiot, more so a reason to try it!

10-01-2013, 08:50 PM
haha that's awesome. Thanks so much Jon. Would you recommend just putting 4-6 pictures on the flyer as a kind of "demo" and then just a name/phone number/short description of my services?

10-01-2013, 11:04 PM
That would be perfect. A few interesting pictures, which lead to further discussion. It's a good idea to run your flyer past someone who has not seen it before to get a better neutral view. Make is easy to read. Don't over complicate it or make it busy. Plain white background, or as they say what is NOT printed on the page can say more than about who you are!

Short description of services. People don't have time to read so in point form will make things easier for them to read & you to come up with ideas.

Get someone to look at the pictures, it is very easy for one to think that this is a great picture but others may not see the reasons why it is actually a useful picture. You may be better with one main picture & a couple of smaller ones, but it needs to work & 6 really good different pictures may really suit your services better, mock up a few ideas.

Uncluttered to the point, you are not selling pizzas from every region of the world. Only necessary details. Pictures & text which lead to further discussion of all the services you provide.

You are using a flyer as a tool & a reason for further contact & discussion of the "endless" list of quality & timely things you can do!

Never get bogged down on price when first talking to people! Initial conversations need to be pulled back to what everyone needs & can provide so everyone has the best possible job with the best quality, you are there for the long term, delivered in a timely manor (I have quite often said "I have no interest in doing a second rate job") (I will get back to you in "X amount of time" with a price!).

Also, ASAP is not an answer! I never accept this! Alway define a date that everyone is happy with. & for yourself have the job ready to deliver a day before that date. This also gives you a day for the balance to be paid.

10-02-2013, 05:03 AM
Use social medias, go out, meet people, do some networking. Or if you want to focus on the work, get an agent. H'ell negociate far better than you, will have all the time to find you work while you concentrate on what you love the most and probably do better.

10-02-2013, 03:02 PM
Thanks so much khan. I wrote that down as well. I'm understanding relationships and making personal connections is a really huge part of it.

Anyone else feel free to chime in. I'm sure other new people would love to read the awesome advise you all have.