How to Freelance Your Digital Marketing Expertise

Freelancing is the dream.

You get to make your own hours, work from wherever you like and decide who you want to work with.

You’ll never have to commute again, can work without any pants on and decide if a project is really for you.

Now that’s a pretty sweet place to be.

At the same time, it comes with its own drawbacks.
How to Freelance Your Digital Marketing Expertise
There is no guaranteed paycheck, no IT department if your computer breaks down and no sick leave when you do. So how do you pull it off? How do you freelance your digital marketing expertise?

Don’t quit your day job

The first step is not to rush into things. If you’ve still got your job, then don’t just quit immediately. Instead, keep working at it and wait with taking your freelancing full time. You see, freelancing requires a lot more prep work than people realize.

To name but a few examples:
  • You’ve got to have clients
  • You need a financial buffer
  • You have to learn how to sell yourself
  • You have to establish your presence (possibly by working for peanuts)
The best place to do all of this is while you’re still on somebody else’s payroll. Yes, you might be itching to go, but then you’ll have to do all that setting up, learning and experimenting on your own dime.
Besides, there are other advantages to still being plugged into the system:

Steal the stationary

For example, the people at your job are a valuable source of information about how to do things that you’re not so familiar with. For example, have you ever done sales before? If you haven’t, realize that’s a vital aspect of freelancing. It’s all about learning how to approach potential clients.

Yes, you can read a lot of the literature online, but that isn’t the same as getting personal advice. And so, go talk to the sales team. Learn what they do and how they do it. Ask them which are their favorite sales books and why.

Similarly, you need to learn how to set up your own enterprise, pay your own taxes, manage your IT and so on. All things that people in your company can help you with.

Evaluate your position and track your progress

Yes, you’re probably good at your job. The thing is, there are so many people out there that are trying to do the same thing as you that you’ve got to get better all the time just to compete. For this reason, you’ve got to set benchmarks for yourself, see where you’re lagging behind the competition and always be looking for ways to improve those skills.
 Evaluate your position and track your progress
Some good benchmarks to set are how many social media followers you have, or pulling in a certain type of project. Remember these should be realistic. Otherwise, there is no real point to them.

Read, read, read

You’ve got to stay ahead of the current trends, and that means reading all the big websites. Also, make certain that you read some of the big books out there. And don’t just read in your area of expertise, but target areas that you’re weaker at, or that adjoin your own field so that you can expand your offer.

Some example books to consider:
  • Check out Optimize by CEO Lee Odden to get a better understanding of online marketing. It will give you some great insights into the practice of content marketing.
  • Ann Hadley’s book Everybody Writes will help you get a handle on content writing, by starting you at the beginning and working you all the way through the writing process. A great book if this isn’t your strong area.
  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries will introduce the concept of the minimum viable product and will teach you about how to manage your marketing. Highly informative.
  • Zero to one by Peter Theil might be controversial but will certainly give you some insights into consumer behavior. And that’s better than reading something mainstream, right?

Buddy up

Some area not your field of expertise? Then start finding people in that sector who know their stuff and start working together on projects with them. This way together you can offer a complete package so that you can approach bigger clients, take on bigger projects and produce more varied work.

That last point is particularly important as sometimes work in a field will suddenly dry up, or will change beyond what you know. In that case, you want to be able to move into another area smoothly and seamlessly. That is much easier to do with other people you can work with and ask for advice.

Social network

No, you don’t just need the online kind, but the physical kinds as well. Yup, that does mean you’re going to have to wear pants occasionally.

Go out with former colleagues, attend the big networking events, go to the fairs and the conferences, as these are how you stay in the picture and make certain that people know you’re out there and that you’re just a call away.

What’s more, work is all about relationships. So make sure you maintain yours. These people can then act as referrals, tell you about jobs, push your page and more.

Build your brand

You can freelance without a website. You can also play golf without only one hand. The question is, why would you want to? Building a website isn’t that hard or that expensive. And it will pay serious dividends in the months to come. Not only can you use it to attract new business, but you can use it to social proof how great you are, as a business card for your work and as a platform to try out your marketing ideas and strategies first hand (and then show off the results).
 Build your brand
And so, it is vital that you spend some time working on making this as good as it can be, linking it up with the right social media platforms, and getting it mentioned on the right lists, websites, and emails.

Also, make certain you focus on getting rid of negative publicity, that you’ve cleaned your social media profiles from anything that might tarnish your reputation and that you’re constantly working on getting a slew of positive news stories, so as to push any negative publicity further down on the Google results page.


Maintaining a blog as a digital marketing expert is a no brain-er. We all know about content marketing. And as a freelancer, there really isn’t any easier way to get exposure without having to pay a fortune.

That doesn’t mean you have to do it every day. Just once a week is fine, as long as you can produce engaging content. Just write up a couple of hundred words explaining something that you understand well. Why? Well, for several reasons.

First off it shows expertise and that gives you authority. And, especially when you’re just starting off, that is something that you need as a freelancer. After all, there are a lot of people saying that they can do a great job as digital marketers. If you write great blog articles about the field, then people can see for themselves that you’re not just hot air.

Secondly, you’ll be able to point to it with other experts to demonstrate to them that you actually know what you’re talking about. That will make it far more likely that you’ll be able to create a connection and thereby access their network.

Finally, it gives other people something to link to. And that means that more traffic will come towards your site. Now, initially this might not be that many people, but it will grow. And so will your online profile. Keep that up and eventually, you might even be able to stop digital marketing and instead just get paid for telling other people to do it. And then you’ll have moved on from freelancing to getting paid while you sleep.

Now who wouldn’t want that?
Guest contribution by Elaina Meiser A graduate student and an enthusiastic blogger. She started blogging over five years ago as a hobby and now she writes for Best essay Education. You can follow her on Twitter .
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