I have heard that there is a lot of work with sales and marketing required for freelancers in order to get assignments. How does this work and what are the best practices for someone who wants to get started? Thanks for any reply in this matter!
Based on my experience, you don’t need to do sales and marketing, you just need to “close” an assignment. This is more similar to landing a job. You apply, go to an interview or two-three-four, and do some relevant followups if needed. Now in some cases you might also need to for example negotiate, read through and sign a more complex contract, work our practicalities yourself (such as “will the customer provide a laptop?” etc.), so it’s not as straight-forward as employment.
But it’s not sales.
Now - on the other hand (as a former sales-person), I could also argue that what I just described is sales. And it is. You just often enter the sales process a bit later than most sellers - when a need has been expressed, and the client has a budget. This all depends on the type of assignment you’re looking for.
In the long run, I’d say that you will benefit from skills in sales and marketing to make sure you have a good up-time (% billable time) and good choice of future contracts, but if you want to, you can lean back and fully rely on consultant brokers to do the hard work. Just as long as you’re willing to forfeit a % fee of what the customer would be willing to pay. For most, it’s worth it (depending on the customer). In essence, you can then send your CV to a broker, and get matched with possible assignments.
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@Alice thanks for your question and I agree 100% with @Simon. I also want to state that sometimes it is neccessary with a broker - you cannot get the assignment without one. If you did not have a broker to begin with, you will be assigned one. This is because bigger companies sign so-called framework agreements with brokers and consultancy firms (so that all their consultancy needs go through them first). With this said, the broker can absolutely do most of the “sales and marketing” work needed if you want and even if you do not want it, you might have to pay a fee to them anyway (in the situation i mentioned above).
However, the minimal amount of marketing and sales you have to do (cannot get rid off) as a freelancer is perhaps talking on hte phone, showing up at an interview and being professional and friendly in general. You probably have to explain what you have done before and what you can contribute with in order to resolve the task at hand, but I would not call that sales or marketing. That is the minimum level. Not that much and not that difficult, in my opinion. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid of the marketing and sales aspects - those are not a reason not to try out freelancing! If everything else sounds agreeable and interesting to you with freelancing - go for it! best of luck!!