Being a freelancer means you make all of the business decisions for work you take on. This includes timelines, rates, and the scope for all material covered. Here are some tips to help you get started as a freelance social media manager:
Know what you are capable of doing
Too many freelancers burn themselves out at the start of their career by trying to take on challenges they are not ready for. This can mean anything from taking on tasks you are not qualified for, to simply taking on too much work.
A handy rule of thumb is to try to keep all business work to a maximum of thirty hours per week. This will give you time to handle business overhead, and some breathing room to squeeze in an emergency client. Know your limits, and watch your practice grow and your stress shrink.
Have a set fee schedule based upon the type of work to be completed
Different tasks take different amounts of time. Going into social media management, you will have to handle everything from single sentence posts to long dissertations involving a dozen cited sources. Needless to say, you will be charging a great deal more on a per word basis for material that you will be spending more time researching.
Have your contracts ready when talking with a client
Oral contracts are worth less than spit, if a business deal goes south. As a professional, you need to protect you, and your intellectual property, from unscrupulous clients that see nothing wrong in trying to obtain work for free.
A good contract can be modified and used repeatedly, so have a sample one crafted by an attorney and use it during the course of your professional life. Remember, a contract is the only thing keeping people from taking your work and running away.
Be aware your professional life extends into your personal one
Social media has successfully penetrated nearly every aspect of society. We post what we eat, who we visit, what we do… In short, our lives are now open books. When looking for a social media manager, clients will first look at the personal profile of the prospective contractor.
If the profile is not done professionally, be it inappropriate language or content, then the client will go elsewhere.
Be vigilant about what you post online, and make sure to segregate what you tell friends and family members from the world at large. Utilize the security settings, and create a separate persona to keep your personal life out of the hands of those looking for an excuse not to hire you.
Have a sample portfolio
Keep samples of material you produce, either for other clients or for yourself. This will give prospective clients the ability to judge your skills as a writer and social media manager without having to go back and forth through a thousand messages.
A good portfolio will have a wide range of material available, covering pictures, videos, and text. For every piece, include a detailed log as to why it was made, for whom, and when it was created.
Cycle work on a regular basis, and try to create new material dedicated for the portfolio. You will be amazed on how much additional business a well done portfolio can bring in.
Social media management is like any other field. If you know your limits and come prepared with examples of your work and a well-written contract, you will go far. If you do not, you risk making less than what you are worth.
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