Now, frankly, this isn’t a question that can be covered comprehensively in a blog post. I spend 12 weeks focusing on this in my Flourishing Foundations programme, and each person who does the programme needs slightly different advice and strategies.
However, there are some key strategies and tips which apply to every ELT freelancer looking for work or clients.
FInding an ELT niche
In other words, what do people (or publishers) need help with that you are particularly well placed to offer? A simple question, but not always easy to answer. You can probably help in lots of ways, but the sweet spot is always going to be where your skills and experience meet their most pressing needs.
If this is something quite ‘niche’ that other people aren’t offering, but which is definitely needed, and that people or companies will be willing to pay for, so much the better.
Having a clear niche makes marketing so much easier, and with the growth in online teaching, quite narrow teaching niches can still find plenty of clients. What about English for the wine industry or English for architects?
But even if it’s not a narrow niche, the very fact that there’s competition tells you there’s a market. So, then you can think about what you specifically can bring to the party. Maybe it’s your teaching approach, or your experience, or even your personality?
Creating an offer that works
All too often, I find people who are offering a particular way of doing things because that’s what they’ve seen others do. But just because it works for someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you or your clients.
Take some time to consider how you can design and present an offer that is the most effective way forward for both you and your clients? Is charging an hourly rate, for example, actually ignoring a lot of the value you give outside of those hours? What is the result they get really worth to your clients?
If you’re a teacher or trainer, is there potential to offer at least some of what you do in a digital format, or as part of a group programme?
Whatever your skills, how many hours are you willing and able to work to market your offer, and how will you build this into your pricing structure?
Once you have the first two points figured out ( I can help here), then you should be in a better position to decide where to find your clients, and to write copy which will ‘speak’ to them.. and help them see immediately why they should choose you.
Attracting clients in this way won’t happen overnight because it takes time to build a reputatation and for potential clients to decide to take a chance on you. But once you start getting it right, and building the right audience, the clients will start to come to you.