You have decided to start a freelance social media management business. Congratulations. You are probably wondering how to even begin, and how you will find your first set of clients. I really understand the difficulty and that feeling of not knowing how to proceed. You are also well aware that the competition is quite fierce. No wonder you are concerned, and your concerns are valid. However, before you start to panic, I will tell you how to get started.
Firstly, you need to find a catchy name. Or you can even use your own name for your business. Once you have a name set up, you will need to register the business for tax purposes. Then you must get a website up. If you are extremely tight on money, you can do all of this inexpensively. You will need to buy a domain for your business website, and it will cost about $12-$14 a year- the cost of a meal at the mall food court. I recommend NameCheap since they offer WhoIs privacy. Hosting will cost about $100 a year, however if you are really unable to afford it- you can always sign up for a free WordPress.com site. The purpose of a domain is that it appears professional, and you can forward your WordPress.com site to the domain.
The next thing to do is to observe your competition. What are they doing? What kind of packages are they offering? What are they charging? Google social media services and see what comes up, and study the companies offering these services. This will give you an idea of what to offer and what to charge. You also need to commit to blogging at least once a week about anything that is relevant to your industry, and sharing it across your networks. You are also going to want to think about who you are planning to target. It is okay if you are not quite sure at this point. And remember, just because you have a niche in mind that may be great for you to target does not mean you need to push others away who are in other niches. Most of my clients are spiritual based small business owners. However, I have done social media work and freelance blogging for restaurant owners, home restoration companies, electricians, lenders, etc.
Now that you have that set up, the one question you will ask is how to find clients. You could advertise your business on free classified ads sites. I have had some luck from that- but I find that to be a very hit and miss method. However, believe it or not, what I do recommend is that you sell your services on microgig sites. I realize you will not be able to charge what you would like. I also realize that you are not going to make a million dollars but the reality is, what new business owner does? Please hear me out before asking me if I am crazy for even suggesting this.
Here is why it is important to start selling on these microgig sites. You are going to need to develop a portfolio. You are going to need to build a client base. You must develop experience, and this is a perfect way. Have you done a lot of freelance social media management work, or freelance writing/blogging in the past? If your answer is no, then this is a great way to start. You cannot graduate high school in grade 9! Therefore, selling your services on microgig sites is a great way to start. However, I do not recommend that you use your real name- and your own picture! And definitely do not steal someone else’s. A cartoon picture for this kind of purpose is fine, and create a pen name. Remember, you are creating experience and making the money you need so you can build a more professional website, and to invest in advertising. You will earn money from this to help move your business up.
I will recommend some good microgig sites to join, and to start selling services.
Fiverr– Everyone knows Fiverr. In fact even many successful business owners are selling their services on Fiverr even after being established. You sell your services for $5, and the more positive feedback and experience you have on this platform, the higher you will rank- and you will be able to sell extra services up to $40. A lot of people who sell their services on Fiverr actually do quite well. However, just know that the downside of this platform is that you will pocket only $4 of the $5, and they hold your payment for 2 weeks. You are also limited to selling 20 gigs or less. They have also done some tweaking on their site, which has hurt a lot of sales for sellers since traffic has dropped. You can definitely sell on Fiverr, but don’t put all of your eggs there.
Gigbucks– This is a great Fiverr alternative. You can sell your services for $5 to $50, and you can sell as many gigs as you want. A lot of sellers like this site a lot and have had a lot of success with it.
FiverUp– This is not one I have used but I have heard a lot of positive things. You can sell your services anywhere from $4 to $100, and apparently the response rate is great if you have an issue with the site. There is no withdrawal limit either.
Zeerk– You can sell very small $2 jobs or jobs up to $100. This one is becoming quite popular.
GigsBull– You can sell your services for $3 and up to $90. You can also be paid via PayPal or AlertPay. This is a good one and many sellers give this a thumbs up.
Sure you could also sell on the big freelancing sites like oDesk, Elance or Guru. However, I do not recommend it. Firstly, you need to use your real name, and you are recommended to take skill tests. You are also going to be bidding for jobs and really end up short changing yourself more than you would on any microgig site in the end.
Even after using a pen name to sell your services on microgig sites, you will have built a nice clientele. If you end up with repeat clients (which I have) from selling services on these microgig sites, you can certainly tell them who you are since they like you- and at some point will end up charging what you have wanted in the first place! And you also have them as references for new clients to contact if they want.
Eventually you will feel confident enough to expand, and your intuition will guide you on what steps to take. However, getting started to sell your services on these microgig sites is a great way to establish yourself.