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Securing Work

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by dedwardp, May 25, 2011.

  1. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    At the moment I do my freelance work part-time around other commitments but, in a week or so, I'm going to have around 15-17 weeks where I can commit to it pretty much full-time.

    Because of this I want to give it a proper go and really try and get hold of a lot of new work and run everything as properly and organised as I can, but what would everyone say is the best way of trying to go about this?

    I'm open to anything really, whether it be phoning around local businesses of all trades, phoning printers and agencies for surplus work etc, anything!

    Quite often I spend a bit of spare time dropping round e-mails when I can but the response to this isn't always so great.

    One idea I did have would be to try and put together a small booklet/leaflet type piece to post around as opposed to just a flyer - could this be a good idea? What sort of information and portfolio work would people look to include in a small leaflet?

    Perhaps even post it with a letter and then follow this up with a phone call a couple of days later to see if there's chance of a meeting or something like that?

    Look forward to hearing what people think and thanks in advance! :)
  2. Russell

    Russell Member

    Although 15-17 weeks is a fair amount of time, in terms of getting yourself set up and running freelance wise it's relatively short. Any flyers, leaflets etc are going to have limited impact. I did something similar for a client area I was trying to get into a couple of years ago, spent a fair bit of money on some mailers and followed up them up with calls but nothing really came of it, possibly because I didn't have the best point of contact sorted.

    When I started freelance 90% of my work came from other design agencies. Whilst a well put together mailer would help you stand out, from my experience when it comes to hiring freelancers most agencies would open an email, click on your folio site and decide within 30 seconds whether to save your details for possible future contact or just delete.

    To build up your own clients away from agency work I would spend the time focusing on as much face to face promotion as possible. Rather than in investing in expensive short run leaflets, perhaps invest in a few months membership to a networking group and just chat and hand over business cards. If you give the right personal impression (and if the people you speak to have a need or know someone that does) you'd stand a lot more chance of bringing some clients in than blanket mail outs.
  3. rossnorthernunion

    rossnorthernunion Senior Member

    Leaflets are for printers and pizza shops.

    Use social media, use your contacts, use your head.

    Be quicker and more productive.

    Talk to people, see people.
  4. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    Yeah, I appreciate that. As I say though I'm already set up and get enough work through to keep me going for the time I spend on it part-time already, it's just really looking for ways of bumping that up to keep busy for the time I can now spend completely towards it.

    At the end of this time I'd still like to sustain as much as I can so I'm pretty keen to see how well it could go.

    Thanks for the suggestion, I'd not really thought too much about networking groups so it's something I'll look into.

    Fair enough, thanks. I think in my head I saw it as more of a brochure; a bit of a physical portfolio I could leave rather than trying to direct people to the online one, just put it in to their faces in the first place?

    I'll certainly bear everything in mind though.
  5. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    I've done that before, the response wasn't exactly overwhelming. I like the idea of having a little micro-portfolio in booklet form (mine was about 3"x3") and give people something physical to look at and pass around, but at the same time it's worlds away from the immediacy of email and social networking. I say if you're going to do it, try not to throw much money at it. There are faster and more convenient ways for people to see your work, but who doesn't like a little book?
  6. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    Ah, that's fair enough then.

    But that's the sort of thought I had behind it really, that everyone likes looking at something physical and, in addition to that, if you e-mail someone a link they might be more inclined to delete the e-mail regardless whereas the booklet might catch their eye. Even if just briefly.
  7. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    On the same note, consider the amount of books and papers floating round a busy studio... Why not cover all bases and have an emailable (is that even a word?) PDF version of the booklet?
  8. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    Hmm, though on the other hand if you were going to send it to them by e-mail would there be no major difference between that and simply sending them a link?

    I'm thinking more of businesses who could need things doing as opposed to design agencies as well. They're still something to look at as outlined above but I think I was looking at targeting local businesses rather than studios.

    Or is that unlikely to be pulled off, would people say?
  9. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    Or is that unlikely to be pulled off, would people say?

    I would say "tell me about it".

    Mailers don't work, don't waste your time and money. Ross is right social media works and get out there and talk to people, email web links, email PDF samples...just keep making a noise.
  10. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    A lot of work is gained from word of mouth, but of a catch 22 when you don't have much coming in but you want more. Best thing to do is get out there in person, carry business cards around and don't be afraid to introduce yourself if/ when the opportunity arises.

    Social media can do you a lot, but you need to use it proactively - simply having a Facebook or Twitter isn't enough!

    Good luck to you, hopefully you succeed. I really wouldn't bother going down the mailer route though, if people need design, they'll go looking for it, so the chances of you landing on their doorsteps, in the right hands, at the right time is very small.... unfortunately! Phone calls will work just as much, cost less but are completely disheartening (for me anyway).
  11. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    Thanks, I think it seems like the way to go, just getting yourself in front of as many people and businesses as you can. I suppose it would help to have some sort of offer to put in front of them that may seem more enticing?

    What's seen as the best way of getting in to people like this? Obviously there's been the suggestion of the networking group which is one way forward, but aside from this are there accepted alternatives to just getting around, turning up at business units and trying to speak to someone etc?

    Thank you though, I think for phone calls it would have to perhaps be treated more of an introduction and so on, with the chance of possibly meeting is possible?
  12. Russell

    Russell Member

    Turning up at someones door is not going to go down well at most places. Do you like it when someone rings your doorbell and tries to flog you Virgin Media, British Gas etc. It's more about finding an acceptable place to meet people and talk about business without being pushy. Online try some small business forums, discussion groups on Linked In etc. Take part in the discussions but also check out other participants profiles, look at their website, branding etc and see if you think it's up to scratch, if not get in touch (but be gentle in terms of any crit of their current stuff).

    Offline look into any local events, seminars, training etc for small businesses. As a freelancer you are a small business so not only will some of these be useful for yourself anyway, again it's a place where you can talk informally about what you to other small business owners without it being seen as all sell, sell, sell.
  13. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    That's what I thought really, I've seen it mentioned before and assumed it mustn't have been that as I couldn't really envisage it in my head!

    Thanks for those tips though, I'll start having a look to get some ideas together that I can try and be as proactive as I can about straight away when the time comes, I'm looking forward to it really.

    I think what you say about dropping subtle criticisms in a bid of suggesting your improvements is a good one - very tricky thing to do, mind! I have a meeting with a cakes business in a couple of weeks now so hopefully the first of many :)
  14. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    It really just takes time, so do as much 'networking' (hate that word) as you can now!

    I would love to see an example of how to reword "your website is ****" into something that will hit home with them and turn into a client!

    With websites, I would imagine putting it into terms of turn-arounds and conversions will help get an interest.
  15. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    Yeah exactly, you know you could make so many improvements and, subsequently, bring some sort of result but you don't want your first impression to be critical or else you're on the wrong foot immediately and straight to the deleted items!
  16. TMac

    TMac New Member

    I agree on the social media stuff, just having it isn't enough, you have to spend the time and be proactive to get yourself out there. Doesn't hurt to stay active with forums and to register with sites like and
  17. jungledrum

    jungledrum Member

    this! building a bond face to face is essential

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