What creative freelancers can do when they have no audience

During a time when work, if not deemed essential, is pretty much at a standstill, how can you continue to develop, make money, and increase brand awareness?

If you are in the creative or entertainment industries, you may have lost your audience, but you still have your creativity and ability to entertain and inspire. 

A lot of creatives overlook that they are a product or personal brand, and, like all products, they will do better in some markets than others. Like all products, they will also need to clearly show what they have to offer and upskill to reveal new features/services in order to secure the work they want.

Now is the best time to invest in yourself, cultivate brand awareness, build and nurture your audience, and set things into motion for when the industry gets back on its feet.

Here are several ways to increase your brand awareness, solidify your skills, and improve your online presence during these uncertain times.

Jamie Body, a freelance entertainment specialist

1. Take stock

Now is the time to take a step back, assess your skills, and see what you are good at, what makes you money, and what makes you happy. Establishing what you have to offer and also what you enjoy doing will allow you to fine tune your client base during this new work landscape and figure out who is buying what you have to sell. 

Your talents and your skills are what secure you the job, but you need to get out there and be seen by the people you want to be seen by. There is no point in having an amazing product that is packaged incorrectly and therefore the wrong people see it or worse, no one sees it. Some important questions to ask yourself may include:

What do you have to offer that can make you money?

Make a list.

This should highlight what you are good at but also what you enjoy and what you won’t mind investing your time in. This will in turn also highlight what you don’t enjoy doing and the services you won’t offer. This is the time to add more of what you love and less of what you don’t. Unless what you hate actually makes you loads of money.

How can these in-person skills make you money online?

While you can’t physically go to work, what aspects of you and your brand secure you work in real life? Do they clearly translate online?

What are your different touchpoints?

If you are a writer, your ultimate and best paying goal is to have your work published, but you can also make money teaching, sub-editing, ghost-writing. Don’t take yourself out of the running by being a one-trick one-price pony.

If no one is buying your product right now, do you need to sell a different skill or offer a different service?

2. Online vs offline

Having looked at your list of skills, plus what’s on your CV and website, are they clearly presented online? Is your website up to date, does your social media bio clearly show what you have to offer and have a clickable link to your website or portfolio? You want to keep people online with you for as long as you can.

If you have a fantastic meeting, pitch, or audition, don’t just leave your talent in that room. Having an authentic online presence allows you to perform, entertain, and provide creativity to more people.

People buy into people. If you offer an amazing in-person experience, you want that to match your online presence so there isn’t a disconnect. The same works in reverse: don’t spend so long creating this amazing online presence that when you meet your clients in person further down the line, they are underwhelmed.

In a time when we can only really function online, are you selling the best you? Think about the brands you like and why you buy into them. Personality and personability sell.

Think of SEO and where you sit on Google. If your skills list writer, editor and content creator you need these to be clearly shown on your CV, listed on any social media accounts you use for business, and have images to reflect this.

A picture paints a thousand words and all that. Show me what you do instead of just telling me.

3. Defining your audience

Knowing what you have to offer and having a clear online presence that matches your offline presence should help you to secure your work. But who is buying your service?

What problem do you solve for an individual or a company/brand? What type of people or company suffer from the problem you solve? Who are your competitors and how do you stand out from them?

Break your ideal client down to their demographic, location, income, where they shop etc. How can you package yourself to get seen by them? Do you have anyone in your current client base that suffers from that problem?

Working online: Taking the above and turning it into cash

You have assessed what you have to offer, making sure it is outlined clearly online and that there is no disconnect between the offline and online you. Now, how can you make money online?

When creating your touchpoints or price points with your skills, you may now have an idea of what is workable online. There are still people buying online, you just need to tread more carefully during this time and find the people that really need your services.

Online classes and consultations

Whether it’s Zoom, Skype or on Google Meet, people are wanting to use their time to learn new skills or finish projects they keep putting off. Offer coaching or consultations with price points for 30/60/90-minute options or a free 10-minute phone consultation to generate warm leads. You can pre-record a masterclass or do it live, offer a downloadable PDF booklet (easily created in Canva or with Adobe software) and sell that as a one-off, or pitch to be a guest on someone else’s course or a guest speaker/columnist.

Freelance sites

There are some great sites such as Upwork, Fiverr and People Per Hour where you can not only pitch for work but also house your own online portfolio where people can contact you.

Recording and filming at home

Do you have video or audio equipment at home? Voice over and presenter agents are looking for individuals with the ability to record at home for clients. Adverts are still being made, and companies are running their conferences online and need guest experts or hosts. 

These are not the only ways to make money online, but it’s a start.

Now is the time to look at your business model and personal brand and to make sure you are positioning yourself correctly in your avenue of freelancing to attract the clients you want. 

By Jamie Body

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