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Freelancing Without a Website — Your Success Guide

New to freelancing and not yet ready to set up your own website? Here’s how to get up and running with just a profile on a freelancing site.



Setting up a website to market yourself as a freelancer is a great idea, but what if you’re not quite ready for that yet? Or, what if you’re looking to take a more streamlined and minimalist approach? Let’s take a look at what you can do with just your user profile on a freelancing job marketplace website such as Conyac.


Getting Started


So, you’ve decided to start freelancing, taken your first step by signing up to a job site, and worked to make your profile as appealing as possible. In addition to pitching for open projects, you also list your various services to encourage prospects to contact you. Over time, as you complete gigs successfully, your profile becomes more attractive thanks to the glowing client reviews you accumulate.


Technically speaking, all the functionality you need is in one platform, and you could build a full-time career from this one place, but is it feasible? The answer depends on the supply/demand situation on this particular site. If your skills are in demand and the site isn’t flooded with freelancers who are as good or better than you, then you have a chance.


Offline Self-Promotion


The fastest way to get clients is usually through face-to-face meetings. If you live in a big enough city, then there are probably events such as trade shows or meetups that will have attendees who would make ideal clients. Check out event listings on Eventbrite, Facebook, and Meetup.


Get some business cards made up that clearly state what you offer and have your freelancer profile URL on them. I’ve used Moo, and they are excellent. However, I ended up finding that I could take the design made on Moo and send it to a local printer to get equivalent cards made cheaper.


It goes without saying that you’ll need to “look the part.” If it’s an event for the startup community, then you’ll likely want to come in a t-shirt and jeans. If you’re targeting people who are likely to be wearing suits, then you’ll look cheap if you don’t match their dress code.

The next part is learning how to work a room, collect leads, and follow-up with them effectively. If this is new to you, check out YouTube videos on the topic.


While you could work directly, if it’s your first time working with a client, then both sides may not feel at ease. Agreeing to work together via a freelancing platform such as Conyac can make sense. Both sides will have protection with regards to payments. The client doesn’t have to release payment until they confirm the job is complete. And, the client must have pre-paid the project fee to the platform’s escrow before you start work — so you know the funds are there. Furthermore, there is accountability, as both sides can leave each other publicly viewable reviews.


Online Self-Promotion


Self-promotion via online media isn’t for everyone. Like all things, it takes sustained hard work, creativity, and consistency over time to get results. If that sounds like something you’d be up for, promoting your freelancing profile URL via social media can bring you new clients if you take the right approach and eventually start getting noticed. Below are a few ideas to get you started.


YouTube

For example, a YouTuber who gives writing tutorials could end each video with a call-to-action (CTA) along the lines of, “And, if you’d like to hire me to edit your writing, click on the link in the description box below.” So, the viewer knows to look in the video description and click on your freelancer profile. In this way, they could work to build two income streams: YouTube advertising commissions and fees for their services on the freelancing site.


If you’re too shy to appear on camera, no problem. Plenty of YouTubers who publish popular tutorials do it without sharing their face. Search around to find one that is close to your taste and try to incorporate elements of their approach into your own.


Podcasting

Alternatively, podcasting is easier than ever, thanks to the likes of Anchor.fm. However, your freelancer profile URL will need to be short, easy to remember, and easy to spell; “Find me at Conyac-dot-cc-slash-example.” Pro tip: If you published videos and the content was mostly spoken word, then you can convert the video file into audio and publish it as a podcast. Many YouTubers do that. A well-known example is Gary Vaynerchuk.


Instagram

If you are a photographer, designer, or illustrator, then perhaps you could work to build a following on Instagram. Set up your profile bio to make it clear what you offer and set your bio link to your freelancer profile URL. Then, in the description of each picture, after writing an interesting comment, you could add a CTA such as, “Like my work? Hire me for your graphic design needs — click the link in my bio for details!”


Blogging

If writing comes naturally to you, then blogging can also be a great way to get noticed. Great platforms to look at include LinkedIn, Medium, and Quora. The latter two have partner programs that you can join to earn some supplementary income.


Conclusion


If you’re keen to make a website or blog (or combine the two), then, by all means, go ahead. My intention with this article wasn’t to convince you otherwise. However, a lot of freelancers aren’t ready for that step and prefer to keep things simple and streamlined. It is possible to use just your profile on a freelancer site such as Conyac and build a business there. Or perhaps do it that way for a while and then set up your own website once the timing feels right.


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