HANK BLANK’S TIPS ON HOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL FREELANCE CAREER
1. Creating a job for you is a full time occupation. Building your career in isolation sending e mails to people telling them you would “Love to Work with you,” is a low probably approach. You need to have an aggressive Networking Strategy and be out there. You need community.
Networking in person is much more productive. You foster a broader, far deeper exchange with more touch points when you meet in person with people. Community interaction stimulates a better dialogue than an e mail.
You should attempt to have 5 networking meetings a day. If you do you will end up having three meetings a day with cancellations and changes to your schedule.
You can build a very large network very quickly if you are dedicated to networking.
If you have 3 meetings a day and get 2 contacts to follow up with from each person you will gain 30 contacts a week, 120 in a month and over 1400 in a year. How would your life change if you met one new person a day? A lot I would surmise.
2. Expand your networking circle from your local AFF Chapter. Attend meeting in LA, OC and San Diego to expand your reach. Each of these markets has many smaller agencies that can’t afford to hire an additional creative person but they do hire freelancers.
3. Broaden your networking circle to related marketing oriented groups such as PRSA, IABC, BMA, AMA, HPRMA and others. You can find a complete list of networking events throughout Southern CA by checking out http://www.meetingsandmixers.com
Also attend events such as Orange County Forum, UCI Distinguished Lecturer’s Series, and Economic Forecasting events. There won’t be a lot of creative people there but lots of people of influence and connections.
4. Improve your Interactive Creative Skills. Traditional advertising is becoming a dinosaur. The growth is in the Interactive area and many companies in those industries won’t hire a traditional creative person and train them when they can find practitioners well versed in new media.
5. Improve your Strategic Skills and Knowledge. A creative person with great strategic and problem solving has always been a unique asset and is highly sought out. Become current on today’s marketing trends in all areas by subscribing to all the daily newsletters available on http://www.mediapost.com and it is free.
6. Broaden your Social Network. The most business oriented Social Networking site is http://www.linkedin.com. You can add what you do in an area called Service Providers.
You can find contacts on Linkedin. It is a very robust tool. Make sure your profile is complete; ask for endorsements from previous clients and associates. Make sure a hyperlink of your Linkedin profile is part of your salutation. When prospects ask for references you won’t have to scramble and you can just send them a link to your Linkedin profile.
A strong Linkedin page will also show up on Google when people search for you.
7. Write a blog. It is easy to do on http://www.wordpress.com. If I can do it so can you. Write a weekly column on your favorite ads, consumer trends and what you see out there. A blog will also help improve your Google presence.
8. Spread the word. Distribute news that you learn about that might be right for you to your network or on Twitter. If you are known as a giver then you will receive a positive return. Just be patient.
9. Promote yourself. Make yourself your client. Many business magazines like OC Metro Business http://www.ocmetro.com/ have social networks where you can add your photo and your services.
10. Embrace Public Relations. You should send out a monthly press release on Business Wire for a very affordable cost.
If you have just completed a major campaign for a client send out a release about it. A 400 word release will only cost $225 and it will be distributed aggressively on the Internet.
If you Google Hank Blank, I own the first five pages, not postings on Google. Why? Because I have treated Hank Blank as a client for years.
11. Get involved with a non-profit and offer your services. There are over 1700 non-profits in Orange County alone and many need your creative services. People involved with non-profits have a lot of social currency as well as financial currency. Your involvement will validate you as you meet new people during your journey and you will be enhancing your character.
About Hank Blank
Hank Blanks provides a variety of Marketing Services. These include advertising, public relations and interactive solutions. He also helps agencies with New Business Development and conducts agency reviews. He conducted the Jenny Craig and Villeroy & Boch reviews.
Hank also speaks on networking often to organizations and companies across the country.
His presentations are called “Why Agencies Don’t Want New Business,” and “Networking Your Way to New Business.” They are available on his website.
Hank Blank’s Linkedin profile is http://www.linkedin.com/pub/3/88b/ba5
Invite him into your Linked network.
He is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hankblank