The post contains some affiliate links. Review my disclosure for more information.
I’m pretty emphatic about this point and it’s ok if you’re like “Whoa, Hold up Ciara.” This is one of those will not change my mind areas. All freelancers need a blog. It’s a fact, and there’s no way to get around it.
Sure, you may have an amazing network or you may only work on referrals. All that’s fine, and if you don’t have a blog and you don’t have a storefront, and you’re not working in someone’s office how do people find you?
Freelancing Models: The Old vs. The New
Freelancing isn’t new. People have been leaving their jobs and agreeing to work on retainer or on an hourly rate for years. In fact, many “blue color” workers have been “freelancing” for years.
This isn’t new.
There are two distinct freelancing models: the old model vs. the new model.
The Old Model
The old model looks like an educated highly respected professional getting fed up with their job—whether they tire of the work, their boss, their colleagues, or the commute is irrelevant—and they decide it’s time to quit. But then they realize quitting just means finding the same job at another organization and working from the bottom up again; after a while, no one wants to do that.
So they just bemoan their situation until they decide to ask their boss to let them freelance/consult for the organization. It’s a win-win. They get rid of the “job” and have the flexibility to sleep late and go grocery shopping at 10 am on Wednesday. They’re employer turned client gets to stop paying benefits and can lay them off at any time if the budget gets too tight to keep them employed.
That’s the old model. It’s like a job but it’s not a job; it’s a job without a commute or consistently standard hours.
The New Model
The new freelance model looks like sipping a piña colada on the beach in Phuket while finishing up a marketing campaign for a company in Sweden.
Similar time zones are irrelevant and there are no standard office hours. Clients pay for expertise and results. Freelancers squeeze their work into their schedules, making time to take their kiddos to the park, go to Disney World on a whim, fly to Phuket to visit with friends travel through the region.
The job is an accessory. It’s not the main attraction.
These aren’t flakes
These are educated, experienced, talented individuals who value life over work and believe that while work is service, it shouldn’t take over your life.
All Freelancers Need Blogs
So, I’m not saying the new model is better than the old or vice versa. What I am saying is that each model has different requirements.
With the old model, you work with who you know. Your freelance income mirrors or slight exceeds your full-time employee income. You can take checks because you still live in the same house and your life hasn’t really changed, except you don’t commute and go grocery shopping on Wednesdays at 10 am.
With the new model, your network has no clue what the heck you’re doing. You travel. You work and it all looks really sexy but no one gets how it works. They don’t understand how to reach you —let alone how to refer someone to you.
The new freelancer needs a blog. Here’s why:
1. You need a home base.
If you’re a digital nomad or you’ve been out of the “employed” game for a while, your network is stale and people may not know where to find you or what you do.
A blog is a great way to stay connected with your network.
2. Let people know where to find you.
When you have a consistent home base, people know where to find you. My mother hasn’t changed her number in over 30 years. She still has a house phone. She’s consistent.
People like consistency. It’s a form of security.
If you’re a digital nomad or you like to travel from time to time, having a blog allows people the ability to consistently “find” you even if they don’t remember your latest phone number or don’t use WhatsApp.
3. Time Zones Suck
They suck time. Time zones are a time suck. It takes forever to schedule a meeting with 3 people who are in the same time zone. Just think how long it takes to schedule a meeting with 3 people who are in 3 different time zones. It’s insane.
I’ve done it.
Don’t waste your time.
Having a blog allows you to publish your schedule. When new clients want to contact you, you can use your blog to completely automate the new client process. And when they’re ready to sit down and have a conversation with you, your online scheduling tool (I use Acuity) will make sure you two are in sync.
Never have an email that says “your time” and “my time” again.
4. Referrals Dry Up
Referrals have a way of just drying up and if that’s your main source of clients, then bye bye clients. You need a consistent self-selecting way for people to find you.
Freelancers need a blog to keep their pipeline of potential clients full and happy. There’s nothing worse than loving your work but not being able to find clients who agree.
Been there too.
When you publish free content for your ideal audience, you’re not only highlighting your expertise but they get a sense of your personality and they know whether or not they actually want to work with you.
With a blog, instead of having a cold lead you now have a warm lead. Nice how that works isn’t it?
5. Portfolios, Samples, and Testimonials Oh My!
And last but definitely not least, freelancers need a blog to showcase their amazingness. You need a place where you can showcase your portfolio of work and document your testimonials and kudos that you’ve gotten from past work.
It’s hard to write an email where you reference your former client’s testimonial. It’s way more noteworthy to find your blog and see your former client’s testimonial than to have you try to sell me on your awesomeness.
When you start a blog, you get to make that light touch with your prospective client that lets them know you’re a Rockstar without having to say,
“Look, I’m a Rockstar! My former client even thought so. See!” Don’t do this. Start a blog.
All freelancers need a blog. It simplifies the client onboarding process; allows you to provide a consistent point of contact to yourself and you get to showcase a specific image of yourself to your ideal clientele. It’s your digital nomad online freelance storefront and when done correctly, it will help you draw in your dream clients.