A Freelancer’s Mini-Guide to Nailing it
This is a cockroach.
You might be grossed out or suddenly get a squirmy feeling, but for me, I see dollar signs.
Okay, let me back up.
Before I was involved in marketing of any sort, I was in the pest control industry. Yes, I was one of those dudes with a polo shirt and shorts on that knocks on your door to offer pest control services. There were a lot of no’s (and I mean ALOT) before I heard a “yes” to purchase. This was a great growing experience, but I’ll be honest, it kind of sucked sometimes. After a few hours in the hot sun, it was hard to put on a smile for the next -potential- slammed door.
In short, I knew it wasn’t a long term game for me. In college I took a class on internet marketing, which was jointly taught be a couple of local guys who did something called “Search Engine Optimization”.
I was hooked, to say the least.
It was one class that I never had to worry about “ace-ing”, because I was researching and doing hours of extra work on this intriguing new project in the vast internet marketing world. I had found my passion, something that wouldn’t burn me out like pest control.
But then I had a quandry. I knew what I wanted to do, but wasn’t sure where to go with it. Everyone told me to pick a niche because when you target everyone, you end up with no one. I was sold, but it took me embarrassingly long to see the blatantly obvious.
I knew hundreds of people had bought pest control services from me on their doorstep, so I knew they would buy after looking at a website and making a call. And where did they find this magical company to call?
That’s right, Search Engines.
Let’s get up to speed. I honed in on one type of marketing, and offered it to one type of consumer. This is where you should start as well. The words “Full Service Agency” may sound appealing to you, but at the start, it’s not a great idea.
No matter what type of marketing you do, it’s important to find something you can deliver, to people you can relate to. Finding these can set you on a path to growth and service expansion.
First things first- pick a service or product you can deliver, and deliver well. I chose SEO, but even in internet marketing there are dozens of options: Google Adwords, Content Creation, Facebook Ads, Sales Funnels, SEO, Social Media Management, Conversion Rate Optimization, Web Design, and more. Again, choose ONE thing and make it your thang. Learn from the experts in your field through the virtually infinite free content on the internet, and work hard to be the best at that one thing.
Then choose your niche. If you’re like me, you had a life before freelancing, which includes employment. Is there any crossover? Think about your friends and relatives. What types of jobs do they have? If you see potential there, get them on the phone and do a mini informational interview. Get to know the industry as much as possible before making the decision to dive into marketing to them. If you feel it’s conducive to your service, pull the trigger. Commit. You’re always able to pivot if you need, but you’re only can make it as big or small as you want, but
Since I was comfortable with pest control and had considerable knowledge already, I pulled the trigger and landed a pest control client. I worked hard and delivered measurable results. From this first client, I received a referral. A few months went by and I received another, this one for a local home builder. This is obviously a different niche, but with substantial overlap in online needs. In the last report that was sent, I attached a this screenshot from Google Analytics.
As you find a niche and learn the ins and outs, remember to be flexible. Industries and marketing tactics change all the time. You have to roll with the punches in order to survive.