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8 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

8 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

Building your personal brand through an online portfolio has never been as important as it is today. More than simply showcasing your latest works or achievements, it’s a way to stand out among a sea of talented, go-getters.

An online portfolio is recommended not only for freelancers but also for career shifters, college students and basically anyone who wants to make their presence known on the Web. Now, it’s easier than ever to be discovered through your personal blog or website. So easy in fact, that a LOT of people are doing it.

But competition doesn’t stop with the hundreds of domains being created every minute. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), there are more than 53 million Americans who are entering the freelance industry. That means one in every three.

So how do you ensure maximum success with your online portfolio if you’re competing with millions?

The answer is simple: make it search engine-friendly.

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1. Pick a Suitable Platform for Your Online Portfolio

It all begins with the platform you choose.

  • First, identify your NICHE and search for suitable platforms in that industry.
  • Second, check for FEATURES – especially for mobile compatibility.
  • Third, see if it fits your BUDGET and unique CONTENT requirements.

For example: if you’re a blogger or researcher, sites like Contently would suit your needs best, because it was built specifically with this type of content in mind. For artists (i.e. designers, photographers, graphics creators, etc.), try Foliodrop or IM Creator. Don’t forget to check if the platform offers a FREE version (with the ability to upgrade anytime).

2. Decide on a Simple, Readable Domain Name

The K.I.S.S. rule always applies, especially when it comes to choosing domain names OR creating URLs for inner pages of your online portfolio. Simple, readable URLs perform better because:

  • People know immediately what to expect.
  • Search engines (like Google) prefer them due to usability.

The rule of the thumb is to go with your name or initials (i.e. algomez.com, alanson.contently.com). But if you want to spice it up, you can include your expertise or related terms that give clues to what you do (i.e. seoexpert.algomez.com, ask-al.com). This is recommended if you have a common name.

3. Optimize Text AND Images

Keywords are NOT obsolete – you just need to know HOW and WHERE to use them for maximum effect within your online portfolio. To know which keywords are being searched within your industry, use Google’s Keyword Planner tool. Download the results, and pick the ones that are most relevant for use in your site.

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keywords-google-planner

    But don’t limit yourself to keywords. Long-form relevant terms sprinkled in strategic places around your portfolio can help increase chances of better visibility on the Web. For instance: if you’re an SEO consultant, try scattering ‘SEO consultant services’ or ‘what does an SEO consultant do’ within your blog.

    You may also use these keywords as filenames and alt-tags for photos in your online gallery. Optimizing images is a basic SEO technique that will help boost chances of your own images being found on search results.

    4. Include Proper Tags and Categories (for Blogs and Galleries)

    If you have a personal blog or a photo gallery, grouping posts under the right category with appropriate tags does several good things, such as:

    • Help users easily and quickly find your content
    • Help search engine crawlers properly align your content with relevant search terms

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    blog-category-tags

      It’s a small act, but it has a big impact in the long run. Keep posts and photos organized for faster archiving as well.

      5. Submit Your Online Portfolio for Indexing

      With all the content that’s being created every minute, it’s not surprising that sometimes, search engines take a while to include your online portfolio (and its updates) in their database. Help Google out a bit by submitting new pages to the Search Console.

      google-console-submit

        If your portfolio is a full website, you can also make and present a Sitemap for faster indexing. Once your page has been indexed, it will appear on the search results.

        6. Include Your Link in Author Bios

        Are you writing or contributing content to other websites? Make sure to promote your online portfolio by including a link in your author byline, along with your social media accounts. This helps spread the word about your work best projects.

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        7. Share Your Portfolio on Social Media

        Of course, don’t forget about social media! Pin your online portfolio link to your Twitter page for maximum visibility. Do the same on Facebook if you have a business account (you can’t Pin on a personal account). Add a link to your LinkedIn profile as well.

        A clever tip? Include a link when creating social media headers for your profiles.

        twitter-header-online-portfolio

          This is a beautiful and creative way to promote your portfolio without putting in a clickable link. Plus, it’ll be more noticeable as it’s usually the first thing people lay eyes on whenever they visit a social media profile.

          8. Stay Consistent

          Ensure that your contact details and URLs are correct. Keep them up-to-date and consistent. This is especially important if you’re managing multiple accounts (your website, blog, social media, etc.). Whenever you can, link them together so that search engines can recognize them as belonging to the same person.

          Basic SEO will make your online portfolio user- and search engine-friendly. Don’t worry about NOT being active everywhere. Focus your attention on your online portfolio (count your personal blog, if you have one) and maybe two to three social media accounts. This ensures maximum output from every platform you’re maintaining.

          Now, you’ll be ready to be seen on the Web, across any device, anytime.

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          Al Gomez

          SEO Expert and Entrepreneur

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          Last Updated on April 6, 2020

          How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

          How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

          Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

          Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

          Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

          But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

          Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

          Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

          What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

          As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

          What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

          Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

          Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

          Types of Career Changes at 50+

          There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

          Industry Career Change

          In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

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          With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

          An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

          This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

          Functional Career Change

          A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

          For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

          In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

          Double Career Change

          This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

          An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

          When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

          With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

          Entrepreneurial Career Change

          Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

          After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

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          By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

          Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

          A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

          Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

          So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

          1. Deal with the Fear

          As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

          If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

          I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

          It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

          2. Know Your “Why”

          It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

          Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

          3. Be Realistic

          Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

          This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

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          Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

          4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

          Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

          An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

          The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

          5. Update Your Skills

          Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

          The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

          Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

          6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

          Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

          Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

          Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

          Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

          7. Overhaul Your Resume

          Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

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          When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

          Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

          8. Know Your Timeline

          There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

          Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

          There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

          Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

          Final Thoughts

          Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

          Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

          And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

          Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

          More Tips for Career Change

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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