That was someone’s response when another asked how parents who work from home manage with running both their business and looking after kids.
This is one sentiment that freelancers are all too familiar with. People either doubt that you have a “real” job, or they think you spend the whole day in your pajamas with a toddler anchored on your waist, surrounded by to-do lists and dirty dishes.
It can be difficult to prove yourself as a professional when people view you as someone who works when they want to, and where they want to. So, you find yourself trying to establish credibility when looking for clients.
How do you establish credibility?
One of the most important factors that affect your marketing efforts as a freelancer is credibility.
How do prospective clients see you? What do they know about you? Often times, freelancers are busy looking for clients, that they may ignore some of the things that can help them establish credibility as a professional freelancer.
A carefully crafted social media presence
Your online presence is about one of the fastest ways to show credibility. If done well, you can use your social media accounts to win over clients without you even having to prospect them.
This requires some level of conscious branding and engagement. You want to be sure that all your social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc., have the same picture, and the same/similar bios.
Content is also very important here. Perhaps more than the others. What you talk about on your social media accounts should be what your prospective clients will be interested in.
If you want to chat about personal stuff, you can open personal social media accounts, and indicate clearly on your bio that you have a professional account.
The more prospective clients see that your online persona is serious and dedicated to their craft, the easier it is for them to believe in you. If you take a look at really successful freelancers, they have a strong social media presence.
If you wanted to hire someone to design a website, you want to see that they know how to do it, right? It is the same for all freelancers whether you are a writer, graphic artist or virtual assistant.
People want to see proof that you can do something really well before they pay you to do it for them.
Now, the fastest way to prove your expertise is to have an online portfolio showcasing projects that you have worked on.
But this poses a dilemma for people new to freelancing.
You only have your skills, and possibly a few stints in the corporate world. Where do you get a portfolio?
As a writer, for example, people will often advise that you work for free for some time, so that you can get some published works to showcase.
But what if you worked for yourself instead? What if as a web designer, your website is a representation of everything a prospective client wants? That even says more about your competence.
Be an educator
The major reason why a lot of freelancers start a blog is to educate others on a topic that they are specialized in. But these days, there are so many platforms to educate people and establish credibility beyond the blogosphere.
I was going through an online coach’s social media accounts, and without even checking her website, I could see enough proof that she knows her craft.
With Facebook Live videos and webinars, she touches right at the heart of struggles that her audience is experiencing. These are the type of audience that will convert to clients when they have experienced a free taste of your expertise.
If you don’t think that you want to run a blog, that is absolutely fine.
Having a blog doesn’t necessarily translate to coming off as a professional to people. You just have to choose the platform that you are most comfortable with, the message that you want to send out, and slowly build your own tribe.
Establishing credibility is very important in a freelance career. If anything, it positions you as a serious-minded professional who is capable of running a successful business from the comfort of their own home.