How to start marketing yourself as a freelancer

As a marketing, advertising or creative professional, you already know how to market other people’s products and services. You’ve got the best practices down. But marketing yourself? That’s another story.

It’s too common for marketers and creatives to neglect their own marketing and personal branding as they move mountains for their clients. But as a freelancer or consultant, you can’t afford to do this – because you need every bit of visibility you can get, and because how you market yourself indicates your skills. 

If the idiom “The cobbler’s sons have no shoes” hits too close to home, or you feel creatively blocked when you think about how to market yourself and your services, it’s time to change that. No more excuses! 

Here’s what to do to start marketing yourself as a freelancer.

1. Write your elevator pitch.

“It starts with treating yourself like a client,” said Brittani Kroog, Freeman+Leonard recruiter and a former art director and creative freelancer. “Identify your ideal client – not just their industry, but also company size and job title. Review your own skills and talents, and the results you’ve achieved for past clients. What types of problems do you like to solve?” 

“Figure out what makes you unique as a freelancer or consultant, and how that overlaps with the problems your ideal client has and the results they need to achieve,” Brittani said.

With this clarity, write a strong bio and elevator pitch. In 30 seconds, you should be able to describe what you do and who you help, plus what you’ve accomplished and what you want to do next. 

And make sure your bio makes its way onto your LinkedIn profile summary.

2. Showcase your results.

If you haven’t already, create a simple website and include samples of your work and case studies. (You can password-protect it if you like.) Include testimonials if you have them, and show as much evidence of your abilities as possible. 

“We hear it from clients all the time – case studies, work samples and creative portfolios are critical to helping them decide which freelancer is the right fit for their company and their project,” said Ashley Allen, Director of Talent Solutions at Freeman+Leonard. “Don’t leave them hanging!”

This is especially important if you’re new to freelancing. “Your first few clients won’t want to feel like guinea pigs – they will want to see success stories and work samples to inspire confidence in their decision to hire you,” Ashley said.

3. Show up where it matters.

Next, develop a plan for how you’ll stay top-of-mind with those clients. B2B marketing is all about playing the long game. Find out where your ideal client gets their information or hangs out online, and focus there. 

“If you have a particular marketing or creative specialty, use that to your advantage,” said Freeman+Leonard recruiter Jordan Goodwin. “Every social media strategist should have a stellar social media presence, every writer should be blogging, and so on.” 

Whatever the format and channel you choose, let your own marketing – both its quality and the results it generates – serve as a proof of concept for your own talents.

Don’t get overwhelmed! 

As with other aspects of freelancing, you’ve probably learned that once you’ve “taken the leap,” the rest of the journey actually comes just one step at a time. You didn’t have to have it all figured out on day one to start your freelancing business, and you don’t need a perfect marketing plan to start increasing your visibility.

So don’t let perfectionism (or overwhelm) stop you from hitting “send” on that LinkedIn post. 

4. Work your connections.

Once you’re ready to get out there, don’t forget to leverage your professional network. Collaborating with freelancers and agencies who offer complementary (not competing) services can be a highly effective way to land new clients.

And that includes Freeman+Leonard! Whether you’re champing at the bit for your next project or just want an extra set of eyes on your elevator pitch or portfolio, send them our way. Our recruiters are always happy to advise you along your freelance journey. 

Don’t forget that a talent acquisition agency like Freeman+Leonard can help you find new clients, too. (That’s right – we don’t just deal in the traditional 9-5!) Demand for freelance talent is rising, and we’d love to meet you if we’re not already acquainted. And if we are, we’d love to hear how you’re doing! Reach out to our team on LinkedIn anytime or submit your portfolio at