A while ago, I shared an article with some useful tips for finding freelance gigs in the e-learning and training industry (No-Fail Strategies to Succeed as an E-Learning Freelancer Part 1). These included practical ideas like building a blog, having a strong social media presence, and creating and sharing content. In this second part of the series, I share even more tips, tricks, and techniques to help you land that next job.

Network, Network, Network

Join and participate in the Articulate Community

Articulate is home to the world’s largest online e-learning community, with well over 700,000 members. Joining and participating in our community has many benefits, such as earning you public recognition in the forums as a knowledgeable contributor or expert. It can also help you create and foster connections and learn about new gigs. Plus, participating in the Weekly E-Learning Challenge is a great way to hone your skills and show your work.

Join local organizations and groups

Many cities have guilds, organizations, and industry groups that you can join, some for a membership fee and some for free. Participating in these groups can help you gain local exposure as an expert in your field. 

Attend industry conferences and events

Attending conferences, workshops, and events will make you more publicly visible and will set you apart as not just someone who’s knowledgeable, but also as someone who is willing to share that knowledge. It’s also a great way to practice your public speaking and presentation skills. In fact, often presenters get to attend events for a discounted rate, or even for free. For information about Articulate events and User Groups in your area, check out this article.

Always Be Selling!

Have your elevator pitch ready

How do you respond when somebody asks, “So, what do you do?” Do you have a solid and enticing response that makes them want to know more? No? Well, then you need a short statement that quickly and simply defines what you do and why you do it better than others. When you have an intriguing elevator pitch, you’re poised and prepared if a potential customer asks you what you do, versus fumbling for words to articulate your value.

Create a portfolio

A portfolio is essential if you want to be seriously considered for a job, especially if you’re doing anything related to visual design or development. Potential clients want to get a sense for your style and have a look at the quality of your work. I’ve heard of many situations where customers won’t even consider candidates who can’t present a portfolio with at least a few examples. If you think you’re locked by non-disclosure agreements, then sign up for a free trial of Articulate 360 and create your own examples that you have the right to use.

Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up-to-date

Let’s face it, everyone is using social media and technology for work and business purposes. Recruiters comb through job search engine sites and LinkedIn every day to find candidates. If your resume and online profiles are incomplete or unprofessional, they might skip right over you—or not find you at all!

Ask for referrals and testimonials

If you’ve had a great experience with a client or customer, be sure to ask for a recommendation or a referral. Word of mouth is the best endorsement of all, and it’s how your great reputation gets exposure. If people are truly happy with a service you’ve provided, most will love to recommend you to their friends, family, or colleagues when the need arises.

Define a Strategy

Create a strategy for attracting new business

How many organizations do you know that operate with absolutely no strategy, and just hope that everything works out? Not many successful ones, that’s for sure. As a freelancer, you are your own organization and you should have a detailed plan that identifies how you will attract and retain new business and capture new opportunities. At least a few times a year, check how you’re doing against your strategy and adjust wherever necessary.

Set specific goals and challenges

Setting specific goals and targets will motivate you and help you reach new heights. Don’t set difficult, unobtainable goals; instead, focus on simple achievements, such as “I’ll update my LinkedIn profile every week” or “I’ll network with 3 new people over the next 2 months.” Setting small goals and challenges will build your confidence and fuel your motivation as you work your way toward larger ones.

Learn new skills

When you work in an industry like e-learning, the technologies and tools change and evolve all the time. Make it a priority to stay on top of these changes and learn new skills to make yourself more valuable. For example, maybe it’s time to learn Javascript or to finally take that course in graphic design you’ve been considering. Whatever it is, investing in a new skill could be the defining factor that helps you get that next job.

Don’t forget to check out these awesome related forum discussions and articles:

In particular, you might want to check out these articles about freelancing by community member Daniel Brigham:

Do you have your own tips about how to find freelance gigs? We love your ideas, feedback, and comments, so please share them below. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and come back to E-learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

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