Today, many people think of freelancing as an activity that takes place online, rather than face to face. However, there are still tons of benefits to local freelancing and regional jobs to go around. Read on to learn more about the benefits of local freelancing gigs as well as how to find them.
What’s in it for companies?
From a company’s perspective hiring locally may be a little more expensive but the advantages often outweigh the costs. Being able to meet face-to-face makes those involved more accountable and companies are often more comfortable revealing sensitive information to someone they can meet with. Working with someone who speaks the same language brings clarity to a project and working in the same time zone can allow things to run more efficiently.
What’s in it for freelancers?
For freelancers working face to face can feel good. There is a sense of belonging and the opportunity to work with a team. Freelancers often struggle with isolation when working from home but, occasional meetings with clients alleviates this. Ultimately, communication is better when we meet face to face. We consciously and subconsciously are able to interpret nuances in facial expressions or body language that allows us to pivot a conversation or sales pitch. The ability to meet and brainstorm results in an end product that is more in line with the company’s objective and let’s face it, a better end result means happier customers which is good for business.
Working with local companies is a good business strategy. But how do you find local gigs?
It may seem obvious but the best way to find local freelance work is to let potential clients know that you are open for hire and the best way to do this is to network. This includes offline events, online social networking and referrals. Offline events include going to meet-ups in your community and constantly connecting socially. Bring your business cards and get out there. Work your current contacts. Contact your old employers. You probably know a lot of people through Linkedin and Facebook and those people know a lot of people. Be sure to include your skills and the services you provide on each of your online profiles so that anyone can quickly see your expertise as a freelancer. Stay active in social media. Join groups. Search for open jobs. Promote yourself on freelance marketplaces. For example, at Workhoppers.com you can set up a profile and advertise your skills to LOCAL vetted companies for free. Be sure to put your best foot forward on every project and ask for a review. A positive review leads to more jobs.
Develop your brand
Personal branding is really important when engaging with a potential client. Create your own web site or just a simple one page design that provides information about you and your talents. Be sure to include the easiest way to contact you. You can direct clients to learn more about your services and see your best work. Be sure to include the web address on your business card. Consider having a blog or contribute to other blogs, become a known expert in your field. Include your freelance expertise in the author profile with a link to your web site or page. People who see your content will also see that you are available for hire. Build on your own successes. After completing work for a satisfied customer ask the client for a quick quote about your work that you can post on your site. Think about where your local potential clients go or what they read. Advertise in local on-line or print media options.
The freelance job market can be very competitive so you need to stand out from the rest. When replying to local gig advertisements make a point to indicate where you live. HR gets bombarded with emails and most tend to be freelancers from out of the country even when the job specifies they are seeking someone in their city. Be creative when replying. Answer the ad directly telling them which specific skills are useful for their project. If you have worked for a top company (or sometimes even a competitor), mention that too. It helps and will encourage the gatekeeper to actually read your resume. Don’t forget to attach a recent resume to every email with the link to your site. Follow up a few days later with a phone call if you have not heard back.
Be an expert
When companies are hiring a freelancer they want someone who knows how to get the job done. Most likely they are looking for a freelancer to cover the lack of a specific expertise. Show passion about what you do and make sure your clients know you are willing to go that extra mile to help them. Always study the company and understand the big picture of your specific project.
Finding a steady flow of local gigs is not always easy but a little legwork can go a long way. Once you have got a few local gigs under your belt and found some new clients and connections you will likely see that getting work becomes easier over time.
Written by Linda Singer, co-founder of Workhoppers, a site Skillshare has partnered up with that connects vetted companies with the right skilled local freelancers. Unlike other marketplaces companies and freelancers are encouraged to meet face to face and there are no commissions.