When you pick a career in digital marketing, the options in front of you are virtually limitless. As an up and coming field, the world of digital has well and truly established itself as a stable career prospect worldwide.
Upon finishing a course in digital marketing and gaining all the associated qualifications, your instinct would tell you to look for job openings at a digital marketing agency. This is the standard career path followed by most, and it is indeed effective in guaranteeing a successful career.
As digital marketers, however, we’re not supposed to box ourselves in. A real digital marketer opens his mind to new possibilities and innovative opportunities. In that spirit, you should consider that there are multiple other career paths you can opt for as a digital marketer. In principle, all career avenues involve practically the same job responsibilities and roles across the board. What differs is the scale of operations, and the type of clients you deal with.
At this juncture, you’re probably wondering how you stand to benefit from alternative job avenues. After all, if success is guaranteed along the mainstream path, why bother with other options? If you think about it, you’ll realize that success can be had through any which way, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of job satisfaction. Therefore, choosing the right track for your career is of paramount importance.
Table of Contents
Many Roads, One Destination
As mentioned before, there’s more than one way to go about making a name for yourself as a digital marketer. Let’s quickly skim through the various routes you can choose after completing your digital marketing training.
– Employment at agencies
– Starting your own business/establishment
– Becoming a digital marketing trainer yourself
– Setting up shop as a freelancer
Of all the options available to you, freelancing is possibly the most unique of them all. It is the practical embodiment of being a jack of all trades, yet not quite a master of any. Most people perceive freelancing as nothing more than a mere pastime, or an extension of a hobby. However, the truth is, if done right, freelancing can become a full-time career as far as digital marketing is concerned.
Work On Your Terms
For those unfamiliar with the specifics of what freelancing entails, it’s quite simple. As a digital marketing freelancer, you will be offering your services to people who are looking to collaborate on projects or people who are in the digital market for skilled workers. Usually, this means that you work for an organization (or an individual) under a contract for a specific period.
As part of the training you received at your digital marketing institute, you would have picked up functional level skills in every aspect of digital marketing. This paves the way to set up a solid foundation as a digital marketing freelancer. Most people either get into freelancing as a means to supplement their income, and yet others do it simply because they work best on their terms! Either way, freelancing as a career option is a choice that can open up vast possibilities for your career!
How It Works
To those new to the world of freelancing, it may seem like tricky waters to cross. This is partly true because it’s very easy to get lost and feel stuck at times. Freelancing does require careful planning and long-term dedication if you want to make a career out of it.
Let’s say you have been toying with the idea of entering the freelance arena, and are wondering how to get started and hit the ground running. Let’s take a look at the ideal game plan you should stick with to become a full-fledged freelancer.
Decide your specialization :
What do you want to be known for as a digital marketing freelancer? Content creation? Website design? Pick any three skills that you want to sell to your prospective clients and showcase them effectively. Make sure you can deliver on what you promise, however!
Assemble a portfolio :
Remember, think retroactively when you’re piecing your portfolio together. Think to yourself, if you saw this portfolio, would you hire? Make sure the portfolio crisply summarizes your best work in an easy-to-consume format.
Fix your rates :
This doesn’t mean that you have to set hard and fast rates. Have a general idea of how much you want to charge per job, and on what basis you charge your fees. This is especially important when you are working in an avenue that comes with operational charges, such as website development.
Set up a workstation :
You need a base of operations from where you can work seamlessly and deliver projects on time. This could be a home office setup, or if you can afford it, you can rent a small space for a separate office. Either way, make sure you are comfortable with your workspace as a freelancer, and that it doesn’t affect your productivity.
Spread the word :
Since you’ve had digital marketing training, chances are you already have a fair idea of how to go about this. Start with your immediate contacts in the field, especially your peers. From there, you can work your way up to small-scale clients and startups. Most organizations in the field usually look to outsource work when the demand is too high. That’s your cue to swoop in and try to close a deal with them. Getting your name out there also builds up your reputation in the freelance circuit.
Rapport is everything :
As a freelancer, it’s not enough to just land clients. You have to put in the effort to make them feel like they are in good hands. All it will take is a little time and dedication from your end. However, if you care for your clients, it could net you that much more business and projects from their end!
No matter which avenue of digital marketing you choose to freelance in, these six points are the pillars of your trade. If you work on these points with a dedication to succeed, then you can quickly start climbing the freelancer ladder to success!
The Deciding Factors
Freelancing as a digital marketer is about bringing the same standard of work that people could get at a digital marketing agency, but with much more flexibility and ease of access. Granted, as a freelancer, you’ll only land a huge client once in a blue moon. The plus side to this is that there is no dearth of work in the vast realm of digital marketing. You will also have the freedom to choose the kind of clients you want to work with, and the niche you want to target. All-in-all, freelancing as a digital marketer can be highly rewarding. There’s a small catch, though, and it’s an area where most people slip up.
It’s not enough to just set up and kick-start your freelance gigs. A solid launchpad means nothing in the digital world if you don’t leverage it and make the most of it! Whichever way we look at it, digital marketing is a very sink-or-swim avenue. You have to be committed to consistent growth if you want to stay afloat as a freelancer.
To simplify it for you, we’ve condensed it into points.
- Set clear goals. Remember, this is not a pastime! You’re being paid real money to help real organizations deliver real projects. Whether long-term or short-term, have a clear finish line in mind before you start freelancing in earnest. It can be to make enough money to start your own digital marketing business or just to build your portfolio up with diverse work. Whatever be the case, have clarity on where you are going with your freelancing.
- Learn from every job. Every project you take up will offer something new that you didn’t know before. Every project tests your digital marketing training uniquely and demands that you bring the best of your skills to the table. As such, it is in your best interests as a freelancer that you adapt your method and services based on what you learn from each project. This can subsequently lead to you getting bigger and better offers from high-profile clients.
- Stand your ground. Most freelancers who are new to the field often experience clients who try to haggle with them for lower prices. Some parties will even try to barter with you, saying that they will feature you and your work on their site or outlet as free promotion, instead of payment. It is absolutely vital that you dismiss these offers firmly. The world of digital marketing is massive, and there will always be people who will try and get their work done for free. Stand up for your integrity as a professional and don’t be afraid to demand payment and get what you have earned.
- Never stop networking. At a certain point along the line, you may feel that you have reached a point where you have enough freelance contacts and have enough projects on your plate. However, you must consider that clients could leave any moment based on their necessities. Always keep trying to get new clients through mutual contacts, as it also guarantees that your portfolio stays diverse. It also brings an element of stability to the relative turbulence of freelancing.
With these points in mind, you should be well on your way to a solid freelance career in digital marketing. More often than not, it’s the starting phase that people struggle the most with. While they are open to the prospect of freelancing and are capable of pursuing it, their inhibitions and apprehensions hold them back. As any digital marketer would tell you, you will never realize the full potential of digital marketing unless you put yourself out there and test the waters. In the next section, let’s go over some common myths regarding freelancing, and clear the air with the truths surrounding them.
Let’s say that you have just graduated out of your digital marketing institute, and are looking to pitch your tent as a freelancer in digital marketing. Think of the first fear that pops into your head. Sometimes, it’s a legitimate concern, like, “How will I compete with big-ticket digital marketing agencies?”. Other times, it’s just general misconceptions that cross our minds, such as “Freelancing is not worth my time.”. What’s genuine and what isn’t, then? Let’s bust each freelancing myth one by one, and shed some light on the matter.
Freelancing is not a viable option for a full-time career.
False. Freelancing is a perfectly suitable career for anyone who puts their mind and dedicates themselves to it. There exist many full-time freelancers across the world, and they make good money through their various projects. They worked their way to the top of their niche, and so can you!
Freelancing will upset my work-life balance.
Whether or not this is true depends entirely on your approach. After all, the major draw and appeal of freelancing are that you get to work on your terms! Therefore, it’s essential that you draw a line when it comes to your work timings as a freelancer, for a healthy work-life balance.
Setting up a base as a digital freelancer is hard.
Not! No matter what avenue of digital marketing you choose to specialize in, the setup costs will be minimal at best. For most departments, all you’ll probably need is a computer and an internet connection! Think of it as a long-term future investment.
Freelancing will not look good on my resume.
False, because freelancing is what you make of it! If you choose your projects wisely and build a compelling portfolio, then your body of work will do the talking for you in the professional arena!
As you can see, there is no plausible reason to sideline freelancing as a career option following your digital marketing training. With the right effort, dedication and perseverance, your endeavours will bear fruit, and you will be on your way to making a name for yourself in the niche of your choice. After all, isn’t that what digital marketing is about?