I currently work as a freelancer and have been quite successful for the past few years. I have a couple of well-established profiles on freelancing platforms and have developed a couple of long-term business relationships. But scaling is the main problem with freelancing, i.e. you’re trading your time for $$$. Also, competition is dragging rates down, especially in my field. My work primarily involves translation/localization (I speak several languages) and other related services, including writing, DTP (Desktop Publishing), editing/proofreading, Voice-overs, transcription…etc.
I tried to scale things up by creating my own website and then buying AdWords traffic. I even enlisted the services of a PPC expert, but it wasn’t successful; perhaps due to poor website design and short duration of PPC campaigns. I also tried SPI (Site Build It) and a few trial programs here and there, but didn’t make much out of them either. Should I try PPC again? Or find another alternative?
Beyond freelancing portals, I don’t see individual freelancers in my field venturing out on their own. But there are many agencies that seem to be ok when it comes to customer acquisition and the fees they charge. I work with two of them and they consistently receive huge projects. Yet when I conducted some keyword research a couple of years ago, the results were not very promising. In my attempts at competitor analysis, I still couldn’t figure how the agencies manage to secure such projects. The other problem is that our clients are small- and medium-sized businesses, so I’m not sure whether the traditional “give freebies” approach used in B2C-type MMO (i.e. affiliate marketing) is applicable here. I’m also not sure how to create an info-product around this. Any suggestions please?
Right now, I have two main objectives and a number of secondary ones:
Firstly: Determine whether current field can be scaled and made more profitable and convenient through:
(1) More clients (2) Better rates (3) Independence from freelancing platforms.
Secondly: If the first goal cannot be achieved, move on to another option.
I considered a teaching/tutoring business or providing one of the other freelancing services through my own website. This is because, apart from programming, freelancing services generally pay low. I also thought about creating an info-product about how to be a successful freelancer (I’ve helped a couple of people build their profiles and earn their first $$ online!).
Could you please provide suggestions on what I've been getting wrong so far? How should I go about achieving the above goals? How to quickly find whether my current domain is a winner or not? Is there a way to create a product of some sort with my skills? Sorry about the lengthy post.