What You Should Do Before Your Freelance Marketer Leaves Your Team

Make sure that there is a clear transition period for documenting the process

As a small business owner, you may not have the available funds to hire a digital marketer on a full-time position. Instead, you have developed several relationships with freelancers throughout the years, asking for help on specific projects to help sustain and grow your business.


However, the reality of hiring a freelancer is that you usually end up having to choose between officially hiring them as a member of your team or phasing them out, whether because they found a new job opportunity or you no longer require their services. Once you give them the notice that their services will no longer be required, there is one a crucial step that needs to occur during the transition period before they leave.


You need to give time for the freelancer to leave as much documentation as possible so that you can hand off any pending or future assignments to your next marketer with ease.


Why is this important?

Whenever you have a new hire there is an inherent cost in the time it takes for that new team member to get caught up to speed on your current business processes. If the goal is for them to provide a stellar service, there has to be documentation that they can refer to when beginning their relationship with you.


Do you have past work that you can show them? Do you have strategy decks and campaign planning documents that they can look at to get a better understanding of where your business was and where you are heading? Can you show them process maps, customer studies, or the performance of previous campaigns?


The more documentation you have on hand, the faster your new hire can work. So this goes without saying that when your current freelance marketer is leaving your team, you have to make sure they set the next marketer up for success. Even if its just a one-page document that summarizes the marketer’s daily routine, tools regularly used, and account credentials to make the learning curve faster—this is better than having your new hire dive in without anything to learn from.


If these types of documents aren’t made, you will take on a cost on time spent having to train your new hire—even if the training is in the form of several strategy calls that could have been condensed into just one initial session if documents were readily available.


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Don’t Price Your Services Too Low

You are seen as a risk if you cheapen the value of your work

When pricing your services, it is extremely vital that you don’t provide a low price point because you’re afraid of losing the prospect. Yes, sometimes clients shop for price—these aren’t the people you want to serve. You want to work with clients that are shopping for value, that are willing to pay for the result of the work rather than the time it takes to get it done.


When you provide a low price, you cheapen the value of your work. You tell the client, “my work costs this much because I’m not confident that I will be able to succeed.” When you charge a premium price you are telling the client, “you are paying for the revenue that this work will get you.” This doesn’t mean that you can guarantee that you will bring your client more revenue, but the price does allude to the success you’ve brought to previous clients.


Can they afford your work?

When pricing your services, always make sure you have an estimate of their total budget. This budget includes the pricing of your services and all of the other costs involved in hiring you. In marketing for example, if you’re charging $2,000 a month to manage ads, that may be too high a price if the business only has a monthly ad spend budget of $300. If however, they spend $10,000 a month on ads then your services are reasonably priced.


There is a lot of thought that most go into how you charge your clients, but you should always try to avoid pricing your services by time spent. The only moment charging by time is relevant is if your physical presence is required for the job (or if the client’s brand is so big that working for them will elevate your own brand). 


In most cases, if you are doing your work remotely, you’re a creative vendor, or you provide consulting services—you should charge by value and intended results rather than by time. And make sure the price is relative to the size of the client and how much revenue they make.


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Want New Clients? Focus On Your Old Ones

Stay type of mind by building relationships rather than simply getting the transaction

When thinking about where to find your next client, try using your contacts list in your phone or email. The easiest way to get a new client is to sell an old one on the new services that you provide. There can be a period of three years in which you don’t speak to one another, yet following up with an old client can lead to new opportunities.


Reaching out to old clients to get rehired or to get referrals to leads within their network is also a test. If you were good enough when you were working for them—if you really satisfied their needs, there should always be an opportunity waiting at the end of a call. You won’t know unless you reach out to them to ask. The answer is automatically no if you don’t make a request.


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The Purpose Of A Portfolio: Showcasing Usefulness

Without a good portfolio, any attention you get will be useless

Gig work is not an oligopoly, there are plenty of opportunities to get clients and there is plenty of competition. The challenge we all have as freelancers is discovering the best approach to standing out. That’s where your portfolio comes in, the purpose of your portfolio is to showcase your usefulness.


If you want to make a portfolio that is useful to both your clients and yourself, it needs to clearly capture your work. Your portfolio has to answer, “What kind of work do you do and are you good?” The purpose of a portfolio is to show your clients that you can consistently produce quality work, under any conditions. Your portfolio should be tailored to the type of work you are best at and the type of work you want to do.


You can accept other types of work to get supplemental income or for more experience, but you don’t need to add all of your previous work into your portfolio. The work you do add to your portfolio has to include the work you’re most interested in doing. And when you are an amateur, you need to design your portfolio to distinguish yourself from the sea of other competitors out there.


A portfolio that separates the amateurs from the professionals

The difference between an amateur and a professional is mainly based on time spent working. Amateurs work on a creative task during their spare time, usually doing said creative work as a hobby or as a side-hustle. A professional does their creative work full-time and it is their main source of income. An amateur can sometimes be better than a professional, but they simply haven’t made the transition into full-time work. Often times this transition can’t be made because of an inadequate portfolio.


A portfolio has to let your prospective clients know they can trust you with their money. Your portfolio has to give your leads confidence when they contact you to begin the negotiation and hiring process. The clients that end up paying you do so because they don’t believe that you are a risk. Before any negotiations are made, the client has to be willing to spend their money on you. Your portfolio convinces them to start a conversation.


Portfolio design takes time to master

Your portfolio has to be able to describe your process and the skills that you can bring to the table. Therefore, there are many design considerations that you have to consider when creating your portfolio. Can your portfolio describe your process? What types of services do you provide? How you decide to answer these two questions will either make your leads click to learn more or leave your portfolio page.


Amateurs have many services whereas a professional has one to two main services that they provide based on the industry they work in, market size, experience, preferences, and established credibility. When deciding which services you want to pursue, think about which types of services can let you cross-pollinate your skills. In copywriting, for example, one key skill that cross-pollinates amongst many types of services is research.


Additionally, you can and should describe your process for how you start and how you will deliver your assignments if hired. Whether that is stated at the beginning or at the end of your portfolio, this is an essential element to a successful portfolio.


A prospective client may be impressed by your work but, having your process clearly displayed will also let them know if you’re the right person to hire. Perhaps how they do their own work doesn’t align with your work process. Describing this ahead of time, in your portfolio, will reduce friction and future headaches for all parties involved.


Here is what you can do if you are just getting started

If you’re seeking the best way to start a freelance career in copywriting, you need to take matters into your own hands. If you are struggling to find work so that you can build a portfolio, try giving yourself assignments. Searching for writing prompts, rewriting a landing page you found online or creating a sample newsletter based on the emails you click on the most are great ways to start building your portfolio. You can also use the assignments and tests given to you when you’re applying for copywriting positions as portfolio items.


Even if you’re new to freelance work, having an empty or nonexistent portfolio is much worse than having a portfolio with a few self-assigned samples. At least with sample work displayed, you can show your skills to leads that are open to hiring someone who is just getting started. Also, by completing assignments you get better at your craft and the core skills that go along with it, which is necessary to grow your career. How else are you going to get better without doing the work?


If you can’t get hired by clients right now, hire yourself first.


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For an example of how my portfolio looks like, click here.


Do You Want To Get Paid For Your Writing Services? Here’s What You Need To Know

Business owners still need writers for their marketing

The first step in getting paid for your writing services is understanding that people will pay you. There are clients out there who want to save time and hire a professional writer to create content and sales copy. Video creators, graphic designers, and other freelancers certainly have it easier when starting out because their work does require the use of more tools and seems more difficult than simply writing.


Some business owners do believe that they don’t need to hire a professional writer—that they can just do it themselves. Just remember that these business owners are never going to be your clients.


The clients you are searching for have already acknowledged that they need to hire a professional if they want their marketing to be optimized and effective. The real challenge that you will have is figuring out where to find them. Once you do that, then all you need to do is sell yourself.


I suggest using these places to find your first set of clients:

  • Facebook Groups
  • Craigslist
  • AngelList
  • LinkedIn job search (and hashtag search)
  • Monster
  • Ziprecruiter
  • And good ol’ Google


There are a ton of websites and platforms online that provide job postings for freelance writers. You may need to do some spec work in the beginning, either working for free or taking on writing gigs that pay $0.03 per word just to start building a portfolio. However, after four to five assignments you can definitely start charging by the project or by the hour.


What you don’t want to do is start searching in the wrong places. You definitely don’t want to focus your efforts on finding work through platforms like UpWork, Fiverr, or Guru. Although these platforms make the search for clients faster, they incentive that you price your services as low as possible. They also take a cut from what you make. The better approach is to do the hard work yourself and create a dedicated time in your schedule to manually search for clients.

“But what if I just can’t seem to get clients? I have no experience.”


The best way to showcase your writing style, even without a portfolio, is to create a blog. By creating a blog, and ideally an entire website, you are not only showcasing your ability to write clearly and persuasively—you are also showcasing your ability to promote your ideas. Clients want to see that you can provide more than copy or content writing, your competition definitely has more to offer than that.


It’s important to write as much as possible, as websites that publish 16 posts a month get more traffic than those that post weekly. Writing every day is a great strategy as it pushes you to explore more topics and creates a set schedule for you to practice your craft. Your prospective clients can use your blog as an alternative to a portfolio, especially if the client doesn’t need you to have years of writing experience.

There are ways to get exposure

What if you want your clients to come to you? The best way to start getting projects coming into your email inbox or LinkedIn messages is to collaborate. Guest posting is a sure-fire way to get people’s attention. If you have publications that you’ve written for on your website, it validates you as a professional and it makes you more attractive to clients.


It is difficult to start guest posting for websites like Forbes, FastCompany, Wired, or Mashable but, it is not impossible. I’m personally going through this stage of my freelance writing journey myself.


I have to note that it is best to start with guest posting on small publications that can be found on Medium. At the very least, even if you don’t immediately get incoming leads for your services by guest posting, it will increase the overall traffic that you get on your website.

Save yourself time by learning how to structure your business

As a freelancer, you run a business. You will have to be responsible for every aspect of that business, from how to get your clients to how you charge them. One thing I definitely recommend you do is to create a client questionnaire to ensure you understand the scope of work before taking on any project—especially your first project.


A client questionnaire can help you understand what is required of you and it can help you know if:

  1. You’re qualified to take on the work,
  2. How much time you’ll need to dedicate to the project,
  3. If this client is worth your time,
  4. And if you will benefit from the experience.


I put a list of questions I ask my prospective clients below. I don’t ask them all of these questions during the first interaction but, I make sure that all of them get answered before I begin tackling any project.

Questions to ask before submitting a bid or proposal

  • What are the specifications of this project and when do you want it to begin?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?
  • What is your payment method?
  • What are the hard deadlines for this project? Do you need me to set up the specific dates for each deliverable?
  • Have you worked with freelance copywriters before?

Questions to ask before the work begins

  • Can you describe your business in 50 words or less?
  • Who is your target customer (age, gender, location, job role, etc.)?
  • What do you want people to do when they visit your site? What is the #1 thing?
  • What are the key features of your product or service?
  • Describe your current process for making a sale?
  • What are your current content assets?
  • Do you have direct competitors?
  • Can you list any pieces of content, websites, or profiles that are similar to what you are hoping to achieve from this project?
  • How many people from your team will be involved in the feedback process for my copywriting?
  • If the copy/content is published online, may I get a live link to my site?
  • Will I be allowed to use this piece as a sample in my portfolio?


And let’s not forget the documents that you will need to make to make sure you get paid without any hassles. Most contracts, invoices, and other freelancer necessities can be found online as templates. You do not need to (nor should you) make anything from scratch. Just Google “Freelancer contract/Freelance invoice/Freelance proposal/etc. template” and there will be a ton of sites that provide them for free!

There will be a learning curve

If you feel like you aren’t confident enough to write content or create sales copy for a business, there are many resources available so that you can start learning. Youtube is my favorite resource, as there are hundreds of copywriting and content writing professionals who are promoting their expertise by teaching other writers.


There are obviously books that can also help you too, my favorite being On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.


Whichever resource you use, just know that you shouldn’t use the fear of being too inexperienced as an excuse to not get started. I blogged for five years before ever getting paid for a word I wrote. Yet, those years of not getting paid taught me and I am certain your learning curve will be much faster than mine.


If there is anything that you take from this article just know that you can get paid for the words you write—you just have to use the tools and advice from other successful freelance writers and take action.


If you simply start by setting up a blog (you can start writing for free both on LinkedIn and Medium), you’ll be well on your way to becoming a professional writer.


To give you some extra help, here’s a list of resources I use to keep my skills up-to-date and to help me grow as a freelancer:


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