A friend of mine once told me he felt calling himself a freelancer was akin to being unemployed. I disagree! Often, when you work on contract it’s not unusual to have gaps in assignments. During the time you’re not writing or designing, however, you’ll spend your hours searching for new contracts, getting caught up on administrivia, and reconnecting with your contacts.
As anybody who’s ever experienced job turmoil knows, looking for work is a job in and of itself. However, there is a way you can shorten the length of time you spend doing that if you generate job leads through your own personal efforts. Marketing can help!
Marketing is a way to make people aware of your publications, when you’re available for work, and that you can do the job required. For example, having a best-selling game or supplement is good for visibility and your reputation’s prominence. Even so, a publisher will spend a fair bit of time marketing the project you worked on, so don’t lose track of your overall goal.
It is crucial that you understand marketing in any context has to have a goal. This part of marketing is often overlooked or not very well-defined, because the term “marketing” has negative connotations. The field is considered snake oil, nebulous, and a huge time sink because you’re not producing anything. This common perception feeds into my friend’s comment about how it feels like freelancers are unemployed – especially when they’re not working. It doesn’t feel like work, but trust me, it is and it can consume you if you let it.
What is your goal? In a freelancer’s context, you’ll be able to weather any storm if you have a steady stream of work and you get paid for your efforts. Simplifying that, the reason why you’re putting energy into marketing is to ensure that you always have paid work lined up. Think of marketing as the framework to provide you with ideas to make yourself more visible in a professional way. When you consider it within that context, you’ll be able to take a more strategic approach to setting up your freelancing as a business.