Do you ever wish you could go back in time?
I received an email this morning from someone I reached out to months ago via my website. They represent a Bitcoin ATM company and I had initially asked if they had an affiliate marketing program and if they would be happy with me citing their company in a review of Bitcoin ATM’s even if they didn’t.
I received no answer. As it is, I receive no answer to most cunningly disguised marketing emails I send out. In this case, this wasn’t a big deal.
Fast-forward almost 6-months and in my website inbox I receive not just a reply, but a job offer also. No, the company in question doesn’t have an affiliate marketing program. However, they have decided to launch one. Would I consider creating the copy?
Now, this is pretty remarkable considering that my website has been down for almost 3-weeks and was a bit of a disaster to start with. Needless to say, though, I have said yes. Kerching! New off-freelance platform sale and (if I do a good job) potential return client and network connection in the most lucrative industry sector I write about. (Not to mention the one I like writing about.)
At the same time, though, this and a few other recent events are also making me wish I could go back in time 6-years and completely reinvent my approach to freelancing.
When I started out, I had a freelance-specific website which, to be honest, was a bit naff. It was called andy-freelance.com and although I thought it was amazing at the time, it amounted to a free stock image of a London bus (to exemplify the fact that I was a native English writer) and some horrendous links to projects which I had worked on previously for £3 per job through a freelance website called Clickworker.
Ah, those were the days… NOT.
The thing is, I largely abandoned my independent efforts to score clients and make a freelance income after I found Fiverr in 2014. I even gave up on freelancing altogether for most of 2015. Then 2017 came round and it was vital I made some serious $$$'s. In this case, I started running paid promotions on People Per Hour and this worked!
I scored some great semi-regular clients, communicated with most via email, and then started having other people email me directly, presumably through word of mouth recommendations. In fact, PPH was a perfect kind of freelance platform in 2017. I communicated with several big leads independently after running promotions, but always took them back to PPH to finalize payment. This made sense, as all payments were made secure via PPH’s escrow service.
Sadly, PPH is a bit different now. Paid promotions (for me at least) return zilch leads, deleting a gig/whatever they call it deletes your reviews, and when you get new leads (again, for me at least) these are usually from other PPH sellers looking to outsource. Anyway, all that is part of a completely different story.
On specifically to branding and website matters, I created my new website in June. On reflection, the most important thing I did was invest in a short, snappy domain name related to the industry I like creating content for the most. (Cryptocurrency.) In effect, I created a brand. However, I did not realize this at the time. I can say this as within a month, I had a major cryptocurrency news platform asking if I would like them to feature my blog posts on social media, in return for me syndicating some of their content. Later, I also had a serious offer from someone asking to buy my site.
To top all of the above, now I have a freelance job in the bag from a major player in the industry, even though my site currently amounts to nothing more than a “Coming Soon” page.
For the above reasons, I’m starting to think that I have stumbled upon the ultimate secret recipe for freelance/entrepreneurial success.
- Recognize what industry sector your clients are coming from
- Create a website but don’t create a website about you, create a blog about the industry sector
- Strike gold with a catchy domain name. Specifically, a short one related to the industry sector you want to serve, even if this means spending days coming up with things in GoDaddy
- Invest heavily (and I mean heavily) in learning how to build, maintain, and secure your site. - I didn’t
- Once you have your site, wield it like a weapon. Don’t spam, but do attempt to make industry connections by reaching out directly to people, before offering them some free PR and saying by the way, you can also hire me if you want
- Ignore trying to set up Google ads and independently find companies in your industry who offer affilate ad programs. Add ads from these companies to your site and effectively multiply your income streams by doing nothing
Of course, I’m writing this entire post because I am thrilled about scoring a miraculous single client. However, I don’t think this is a fluke. Now I am actually doubling down efforts to relaunch my website as a branding, affiliate marketing, and sales lead machine, which will could eventually catapult me to the Nirvana of true freelance independence.
All of the above (because I DIY everything) has also only cost me $200 to date. Do it. You will have to figure out your own way how. But it is the way.