38 brilliant freelancer
WordPress.com – http://saintbarbie.wordpress.com
Create.net – www.elliejphotography.co.uk
Your ﬁrst freelance jobs: how to ﬁnd them and how to quote for them 39
Google Sites – http://sites.google.com/site/snduane
WordPress, Create and Google Sites are all designed for people
with no technical knowledge. So even if you’re a technophobe,
you should be able to create something online. And if you get
stuck, you’ll ﬁnd plenty of help in online forums, help centres
My own website building experience
My own site grew out of a free WordPress website. So my
ﬁrst domain was something like www.kendallcopywriting.
wordpress.com. I eventually met two kind web developers, and
in exchange for a curry they moved my website on to my own
domain (www.kendallcopywriting.co.uk). To achieve this I
simply had to buy a domain (I used www.godaddy.com) and
pay for web hosting (I used www.purplecloud.com).
So I started with a very basic website that was crafted out of
favours, open source software (WordPress) and a healthy dose
of experimentation (I regularly broke bits of code). My original
website was shabby, but it was functional. It allowed me to
offer my services to the world and start blogging. My amateur
website, which cost less than £100, brought me thousands of
40 brilliant freelancer
pound’s worth of jobs. Without the help of my website I’m not
sure I would have survived my ﬁrst year of freelancing. As soon
as I could afford to pay for web designers and developers to
enhance my website, I did. Even then, the progress and changes
have been incremental and progressive – ﬁxing small bugs and
adding features gradually, as my budget allows.
Get out and meet people
Whoever you are and wherever you’re going, you need to know
people. There’s a popular adage that ‘people buy from people’
which hints at the personal relationships behind many business
deals. While ostensibly most business-to-business (B2B) deals
are trades between two impersonal corporations, they are in fact
bargains conducted by people, between people. As a freelancer
you’re going to be selling yourself to other people, so you need
to know plenty of people.
Networking is often the difference between freelancers who
ﬂourish and those who fail. Good networking isn’t about circling
a room full of suits, delivering a polished elevator pitch and
swapping business cards. Good networking is about getting to
know people and looking for ways to
help them. We’ll look at networking
in more detail in Chapter 8, but
for now you should start looking
for interesting events in your area.
Networking opportunities are often
disguised as other things – so remember that chances to meet
people and expand your circle of friends and acquaintances
aren’t always called ‘networking’. Your football club, book group
or fellow volunteers are all part of your network.
good networking is
about getting to know
Your ﬁrst freelance jobs: how to ﬁnd them and how to quote for them 41
If you’re nervous about networking, that’s okay. Everyone gets
nervous about networking until they try it. I delayed my ﬁrst
foray into networking for several weeks because I was worried
about trying to sell myself to strangers. When I ﬁnally managed
to push myself to try it, I was massively relieved; the group
was friendly and very informal. So if you feel anxious at the
thought of networking, I recommend you start with an informal
event – something that’s barely networking. Maybe take a friend
with you so you don’t have to walk through the door alone.
Networking events are designed to bring people together, and
many event organisers know just how scary networking can
seem, so they work hard to make their events easy and inviting
for new people. Most cities have their own networking groups,
so search for meet-ups near you (just Google ‘networking
mytown’ or use www.meetup.com to ﬁnd groups).
Examples of networking associations include:
your local chamber of commerce
professional or trade associations
Introducing . . . you!
Freelance audio technician Anna Bertmark used a novel approach
to make connections when she started out. Rather than assault
her ideal clients with bland emails, Anna asked people for advice.
By changing the nature of her enquiry into something less com-
monplace than an appeal for work, Anna was able to arrange a
series of meetings with the people she wanted to work with. By
asking for advice, Anna appealed to her clients’ generous natures
and managed to start relationships with potential clients.