MN-How to Quit Your Job and Become a Digital Nomad in 90 Days Optimizing your online presence

How to Quit Your Job and Become a Digital Nomad in 90 Days: Week 3

By Rob | July 27th, 2016 | 4 Comments
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Optimizing your online presence.

Welcome to Week 3 in the series How to Quit Your Job and Become a Digital Nomad in 90 Days.

Now that you’ve discovered why and how you plan on making a living as a digital nomad, and you’ve committed to preparing your finances for the transition, it’s now time to get serious about your online presence.

The difference between being a $2/hr freelancer and a $200/hr freelancer is partially based on your skills, but even more so on your reputation, visibility, and professionalism online. Discover how to optimize your online presence and you’ll double, quadruple, or maybe even 100x your hourly rate.

Developing your online presence requires ongoing work and will build over time. However, there are a few things you can do to help ensure that you land high quality and well-paying projects.

Week 3: Optimizing your online presence and freelance profiles

This week’s discussions and activities will focus around building your online presence and reputation. We’ll work on improving our online presence while simultaneously developing our skills and client base.

Week three outline:

Day 1: Develop your elevator pitch

Day 2: Create an exceptional freelance profile

Day 3: Maximize the value of your social media channels

Day 4: Develop your personal site

Day 5: Guest post and contribute to established media outlets

Day 6: Network with niche thought leaders

And now, week 3 begins…

Day 1: Develop your elevator pitch

“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki

Thought

How would you describe what you do in 30 seconds or less in a way that would motivate potential clients to want to learn more? This is your elevator pitch. It’s a brief statement sharing what you do in a clear, concise, and engaging way. It should be easy to understand and engaging.

Although it can vary based on who you’re talking to, your elevator pitch should present you as a professional an expert in your field.

Currently, my elevator pitch is: “Essentially, I blog for businesses. I’m a content marketer who helps businesses attract customers online with engaging and SEO-friendly content. By creating blog posts and ebooks that provide value to readers, I am able to establish my clients as industry thought leaders – making their website the go-to source for content in their given field.”

It’s nothing amazing (I’m sure you can do something better), but it briefly explains what I do in a way that will encourage potential clients to ask more questions. Often times, business owners follow up by telling me what their business is about and ask me whether or not content would be beneficial in their circumstances.

A clear elevator pitch does two things. First, it helps you clearly explain what you (an unclear explanation often bores people and limits your ability to land clients). Second, it helps you understand your focus. Every time you explain what you do to others, it becomes more clearly defined in your own mind.

Daily tasks

  1. Develop your elevator pitch. Spend 30-60 minutes clearly defining your elevator pitch. Make sure it’s easy to understand – and consider asking a few friends that work in a different industry whether or not it makes sense. Once you can articulate what you do, every time you meet someone you have the potential to land a new client.
  2. Apply to several projects and include your elevator pitch in your introduction.
  3. Work on projects – either for clients or your own projects. Remember, the more you produce, the better you’ll become.

Day 2: Create an exceptional freelance profile

“Always deliver more than expected.” — Larry Page

Thought

Your first impression online is just as important, if not more so, than your first impression in person. People will glance at your profile or website for just a split second before deciding whether or not to work with you.

The best way to get started with a great profile on Upwork, Fiverr, or any other freelance platform is to look at the profiles of the highest rated freelancers and replicate their formats. For example, if you’re on Upwork, search for mine (Robert Erich) and observe everything about it. Once I revised my profile based on a review of the best, I suddenly found myself receiving a massive uptick in interview requests. I haven’t had to reach out for a job in several months because I receive more than enough requests through my profiles.

A few things to focus on when developing an exceptional profile include:

  • Your profile title: Make the most of explaining who you are in detail. Don’t just say you’re a freelance writer, add more. For example, I refer to myself as a “Senior Level Content Marketer Specializing in B2B and SaaS Organizations”.
  • Your description: Make your description specific and be sure to include keywords. When someone searches for a freelancer with your skillset, what will they type into the search bar? Integrate these terms into your profile.
  • Your profile image: Mine looks goofy, but that’s okay. Have a closeup of your face that clearly shows who you are – and smile! Even though the internet seems impersonal, we all prefer doing business with people – so let people see who you are.
  • Your portfolio: Include some of your best samples from a variety of niches – but don’t go overboard. A few high-quality pieces are much better than a long list of everything you’ve ever created.
  • Your reviews and recommendations: We’ll talk about this more in the future, but ensuring that you receive high reviews is one of the most important elements to a successful freelance profile. If other people have enjoyed working with you, future clients will be more optimistic as well.

All-in-all, a great freelance profile will make or break your ability to succeed as a freelancer or consultant – especially when starting out. Even if you have limited experience, by presenting it in the best way possible you enhance your ability to land jobs.

Daily tasks

  1. Read a few of the best freelance profiles available. Visit your niche category on Upwork or Fiverr and look at the top freelancers – analyze their wording, format, etc.
  2. Rewrite your profile – modeling it after the best ones you just reviewed. Be sure to include keywords in your title and description.
  3. Work on client projects. By now you should either have a few projects completed, or you should have at least applied for 25 jobs. If you haven’t heard back from any of them, contact me and I’ll review your profile and proposals.

Day 3: Maximize the value of your social media channels

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

Thought

If you’re serious about becoming full-time self-employed, then your social media accounts are no longer just a fun place to share cat videos – they’re an asset that can make or break your success as a digital nomad.

Although most people initially find clients through freelance platforms, it’s still possible to land clients directly – especially if you’re looking for projects on Indeed.com, Craigslist, and other online job boards. Therefore, having an established online presence that sets you up as an expert is important.

To do this make sure your social media profiles are professional looking and void of any items that may obviously turn away potential clients. Then, add a few things that will reveal your knowledge of the field by emphasizing your freelance interests on your social media pages and sharing the occasional related content.

How do you optimize your social media profiles for freelancing without impacting your current employment? This can be challenging – especially if you’re connected with your boss on LinkedIn or Twitter. To navigate this field, consider using Twitter (maybe even a new account) to actively promote your new endeavor as Twitter is often a little less personal.

On LinkedIn, simply edit your profile so that your freelance skills are visible as a side hobby. Keep the focus of your profile around you job, but touch on your interest in writing, design, etc. – and don’t be afraid to link to your portfolio. To make it less obvious, turn off the LinkedIn setting that notifies your network anytime you make a change. Then, if someone ever does bring up your freelance work at the office, feel free to tell them that it’s a fun and profitable hobby! First, this keeps you honest and people will likely think it’s cool. Second, if it’s related to your current work in any way, your boss may ask you to help with additional projects that you actually enjoy! Who knows, your current place of employment may turn into your first major client after becoming a full-time digital nomad.

Daily tasks

  1. Update your social media profiles to at least mention your freelance/consulting interests. If you’re still employed, by sure to do it in a way that maintains interest in your current employment.
  2. Clean your social media profiles. Any social media profile you plan to share with clients should be cleaned up – with minimal (if any) controversial or inappropriate content. So make sure your profile looks professional.
  3. Work on client projects. If you’re having trouble landing clients, consider offering a very low price or money-back guarantee for the first couple of projects.

Day 4: Develop your personal site

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” –  Walt Disney

Thought

When it comes to developing and optimizing your online presence, one of the best steps you can take is to create your own website. Although there are many free tools that allow you to develop and share a portfolio (my favorite is Hubpages.com) when you have your own website, you have full control over your reputation, visibility, and appearance.

Even if you don’t have a plan for immediate growth, finding a great domain name that connects with who you are will offer tremendous value down the road.

And setting up a website doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or expensive. As I share in How to Create a Website in 20 Minutes, you can have a decent website up and running in just a few minutes – and it only costs $25 for the first year if you use the hosting company I use – iPage.

When you decide to launch your own website, you really have three options:

  1. You can create a blog (like Money Nomad) where you simply add your content and slowly build up a portfolio you can link to.
  2. You can create a portfolio website using your name – and share links to your work, your rates, and explain a bit about you.
  3. If you’re serious about growing your business into a brand, you can create a company website (like what I did with CornerstoneContent.org) where you share your business information.

Any of these three options work. The key is to simply create a place where people can find you and connect with you. Not only can you land more clients this way – but when you find clients directly you end up saving 20% or more on platform fees. And that adds up when your business grows into a few grand a week!

In short, the sooner you start growing your own online presence, the faster your business will grow into something serious and profitable.

Daily tasks

  1. Create your personal website. If you don’t already have a personal website with your domain name, I recommend paying $25 to buy your domain name and hosting on iPage and setup a free WordPress website.
  2. Work on client projects. The key is to constantly be producing! If you can’t find a client, then spend an hour every day growing your skill set through education and basic practice projects – this is absolutely critical!

Day 5: Guest post and contribute to established media outlets

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson

Thought

Freelancing is a lot like dating. Let me explain…

If you’re a decent looking guy (or mediocre freelancer) people won’t really notice you right off the bat. However, once the ladies (or potential clients) start noticing that other people think you’re something special, they’re suddenly interested in you as well!

I’m no psychologist, but I’ve definitely discovered that the economic concept of supply and demand works. The more other people see you around (making you appear less available), the more they want to work with you.

Once you’re an established writer, designer, etc., finding clients is easy – they come to you! But how do you get started? When no one seems to be noticing you, how do you jump out in a positive way?

Start gaining visibility by guest posting on blogs and website! Now, anytime you apply for a project, link to these articles. Not only do people see samples of your work, but their mental image of you sets you apart as an industry thought leader.

What if you aren’t a writer, photographer, or infographic designer? It still doesn’t hurt to guest post! If you can write half-decently find a blogger who will let you write on a topic related to what you do (even if it’s accounting, transcribing, or data entry). These guests posts show potential clients that you understand the industry and are a serious about what you do.

Daily tasks

    1. Ask a few bloggers if you can contribute a free guest post. Find and follow bloggers who discuss your subject but are still new to the field. Reach out to them and ask if you can contribute to their site.

 

  • Try pitching a client directly. By now you’ve been working on projects primarily from freelance websites. Consider finding a local company or online business that could benefit from your service, and send them an email sharing what you would like to do for them and a few of your past successes. Leave off your rates until they respond – then you can discuss rates appropriately.

 

Day 6: Network with niche thought leaders

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31

Thought

People work with, support, and promote people they know. Just as someone is far more likely to do a favor for a friend, influencers are more likely to reference freelancers, consultants, and bloggers that they’ve come to appreciate.

Seek out thought leaders in your niche through Google, Twitter, and mentions on other blogs – and start interacting with them.

How do you connect with these people? Simply comment on their blogs and share their social media posts. If you have your own blog, consider linking to a few of their articles. Finally, if they sell an ebook or course, it definitely doesn’t hurt to purchase it – especially if it provides access to an exclusive Facebook group or forum where you can speak directly with the influencer. Over time, they’ll come to recognize you and appreciate your input – at which time they may be willing to promote, work with, or mention you to their network.

Particularly as a new freelancer/consultant, if you can develop an association with thought leaders, it will add a tremendous level of credibility to you as you seek out clients.

Daily tasks

  1. Find a few leading bloggers – leave comments and share their content. Begin building relationships with industry thought leaders by promoting their
  2. Work on client projects. Until you have a full schedule, plan to commit 45 minutes to applying for projects and 45 minutes to working on your own projects.

Preparing for a successful freelance/consultant career

As you finish up Week 3 in your journey to becoming a digital nomad, I hope that you find yourself with a top-notch online presence. This will help you maximize your opportunities to land new clients as you progress through the next few weeks.

Now, prepare for next week where we’ll discuss how to develop exceptional portfolio items and references to wow potential clients.

Thanks again for reading and best of luck as you continue on with your entrepreneurial journey!

About Author Rob

Rob blogs at Money Nomad - where he shares strategies and tips for becoming a remote entrepreneur. When not working on his own projects, Rob writes articles for businesses and thought leaders. You can find him on Twitter @rlerich.

4 thoughts on “How to Quit Your Job and Become a Digital Nomad in 90 Days: Week 3

  1. That has been the challenge for me on Upwork is finding long-term clients. I do have one, possibly a second, at the moment. I’m just excited that some of the interview invitations I received this past week were legit & one is the higher per article rate I have received yet.

    I am also wondering if you have had any success or experience with LinkedIn? With any social media platform, it can be highly effective if used properly, I just recently created an account there and so far only connected with classmates & co-workers.
    Josh @MoneyBuffalo recently posted…Escape The Herd Mentality- Live Below Your MeansMy Profile

    1. Nasir,

      Your profile is very professionally done — good job. I think the challenge might be how specific you are in your services. If you are targeting businesses that need the services you mention, then you should be fine. However, it might be too small of a niche. Is there a way that you can mention your ability to help a broader range of businesses — including those that may not have a technical knowledge?

      That may be one way to boost your job rates and options!

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