I’ve frequently mentioned that I get most of my freelance work from Twitter. It’s not hard but it will take some time to build credibility and to be viewed as providing value. It doesn’t cost anything except for your time.
Keep in mind that this is geared toward locating WordPress work but it can be adapted for whatever you do; writing, coaching, SEO, etc.
Here’s how I do it.
Join and Participate
- Join Twitter
- Fill out the profile with a picture, bio, and website, if you have one
- Customize your twitter background or find a friend to help you do it
- Follow some people
- Don’t follow too many people all at one time
- Post interesting information. Links to cool sites and articles. Once and awhile include one of your links
- Follow everyone back who follows you except for the spammers. Even if they aren’t in your niche. Why? Because you never know who might want your services
- Talk to people. Put @username to reply to them and d username to send a direct message
- Don’t worry if no one replies back at first. It can take some time.
- Find more followers, post interesting information, follow back, talk to people, repeat
Be Helpful and Kind
- If someone posts a question or needs help with something that you know how to do, help.
- Help some more
- Do some freebie work. I have two clients that I do WordPress support for in exchange for promotion and publicity. That has generated more work and revenue then I would have ever earned by charging them. This will also help you build up your portfolio and client testimonials.
- Do volunteer work for a non-profit. You’ll be doing something good for a cause you care about and again it will add to your portfolio.
- Are you seeing a trend here? You are going to GIVE before you get anything in return other than people being very very grateful.
- Use search with your keywords. I use search.twitter.com or the integrated search in Tweetdeck and have a running search on the keyword WordPress.
- When someone asks a question related to your area of expertise, follow that person and @ them to answer it. Do this even if the person doesn’t follow you back. Most of the time they will.
- If the question gets more complicated or the person asks for more help, kindly say you provide some support for free but that you also do this for a living and point them to your services page.
- Make sure you have a services page. In addition, don’t hide your contact information. Make it easy for people to find. I have my phone number on every page and not one person has called me without sending me a message asking if they can call first.
Work Will Find You
- After doing the above for a while, work will start finding you.
- People you have helped and that you have done work for will recommend you to others
- But make sure you do a good job and are responsive, helpful, responsible and kind or you won’t be recommended
This system will work. You have to be patient. I signed up for twitter a year ago but didn’t really use it until March 2008. I started using it more frequently in May 2008 and throughout the summer. By August I was finding freelance work fairly often. Now I am contacted about three times a week and I rarely run my keyword search anymore. I am booked through the year and new projects are being scheduled well after the holidays.
You might be able to make this happen faster. When I started using twitter I wasn’t really thinking about freelancing and someone talked me into it. If you know your goals when you start, you may have different results. I mostly muddled through this and learned as I went along.
Don’t, I repeat, don’t sent tweets saying that you are looking for work. This might work if you have a lot of followers and have provided them with a lot of value, but I don’t think it’s the right way to approach this.
So, what do you think? Do you think this would work for you? Do you think it takes too much time and effort? Do you have the patience?