Welcome to this fourth module, focusing on how to market yourself on a self employed basis in your target sectors and types of opportunities you are looking to secure

Tackle the module in bite size chunks, don’t feel the need to do everything in one go and allow plenty of time to digest and apply the information covered

The module includes helpful ‘Activities’ for you to complete, it is strongly recommended that you undertake them to get the most out of the content and the key learning points

Allow yourself time to reflect and take on board the advice, key messages and suggested tasks in the programme to enable you to move forward with your self employed campaign

This module will enable you to

  • Identify and understand the four main routes to finding self employed opportunities

  • Build your knowledge and confidence on how to exploit each route successfully

  • Optimise your use of personal and work networks, LinkedIn and other social media

  • Effectively manage recruitment and interim agencies and the speculative market

  • Organise and structure your self employed campaign to sell your abilities to best effect

  • Analyse and structure your pricing policy to sell your time and generate an income

A balanced and structured self employed campaign is essential

There are four main self employed campaigning routes, as shown below

Networking and Social Media

Recruitment and Interim Agencies

Speculative Approaches

Online and Traditional Adverts

Networking and social media have become increasingly important

Your campaign time should be allocated according to each route's relative value added

We will return to look at some of these issues again in a bit more detail later in the module

Networking is now an accepted route to finding self employed work, with no taint or negativity, other than in your own mind

If you can relax then they will too - the opposite is also true!

Networking is about both the quality of interaction and the quantity of people you ‘get on the radar’ with

The vast majority of employers see networked people as lower risk way to get tasks and projects done, especially if they come recommended from a trusted source – if you need a plumber, electrician or builder you will always ask around family and friends or recommendations first

Behind the relaxed deliver and conversations, you need to be organised and track what you have said to who and what the next steps are

Networking is about developing positive relationships and being valuable to each other

Networking isn’t just for when you are looking for work, once you get going, keep it going even when you are happily back in a job


  • Has become the single most important route to finding self employed roles

  • Works because its the lowest risk and lowest cost way to find people

  • Only works well if you get comfortable and confident doing it

  • Is an accepted route to find work, without stigma or embarrassment

  • Should be undertaken regularly, not just when looking for a job

  • Needs to be researched and implemented in an organised way

  • Taps into everybody you know and everybody they know

  • Seek to build relationships, gain information and listen to advice

  • Starts with brainstorming your network as illustrated below

It may feel a little daunting and cringe worthy at first if your not used to doing it but, once you get going, networking can be enjoyable

One of the best ways to build relationships is to try and find ways to be useful to people in your network

You are contacting people to

  • Let them know that you are looking for self employed opportunities

  • Explain what you have to offer and the types of tasks or projects you’re looking for

  • Seek their advice, guidance and any helpful information they may have

  • Invite them to let their network know about your abilities and availability

  • Also encourage them to let you network directly with their networks

  • Open the door to being able to comfortably and easily keep in touch with them

  • Look for opportunities to be of value to them and their network

Start with the people you feel most comfortable with and know best

From there 'work your way out' to other individuals and targets groups

If you are comfortable then the recipient will be as well, so try to be relaxed

Don’t worry about what order you cover the bullet points, go with the flow

Keep in touch and, wherever possible, have a call to action for you or for them

Don’t worry if they don’t get straight back to you, they may be busy themselves

Be a good listener as well, networking is a two way process of mutual benefit and value

In relation to each social media route you are active in remember

  • Recruiters often 'social media screen', so don’t have anything detrimental on show

  • Your seeable values, behaviours and personality must be work congruent

  • Never post rude or negative comments about previous jobs or employers

  • You only get one chance to make an online first impression - manage it well

Google yourself and

  • If needed and possible, repair or hide anything damaging or negative you find

  • Spot ways of adding positive messages and enhancing your online credibility

  • Follow recruiters and organisations offering self employed roles in target market(s)

  • Manage your 'personal brand' – how you portray yourself in posts, blogs, tweets etc

A surprisingly high and growing percentage of employers, recruiters and head-hunters now use LinkedIn to source candidates

Remember, the focus is exclusively on what you can do for them, not what they can do for you

This should become a weekly or monthly task for as long as you are economically active, regardless of whether you have work or not

Attention spans are short, so you need to quickly hook them into wanting to make contact

Proud though you may be of your exploits on your last holiday, now is not the time to put them on display!

LinkedIn key points include

  • Used increasingly to identify and approach interim and self employed candidates

  • Tell your story – paint a clear visual picture that makes them want to talk to you

  • Profile must be clear about what you can do for potential clients or customers

  • Use a decent, professional picture of only you in a work appropriate environment

  • Regularly send out invitations, regardless of how busy you are with projects or tasks

  • Use the 'Experience' section of LinkedIn profiles to identify target invitees

  • An up to date strong profile and employment history make you more discoverable

  • Make sure your communication settings allow target organisations to make contact

  • Indicate that you are ‘open’ to self employed opportunities and actively searching

  • Be inventive with your header to make it interesting, punchy and eye catching

  • Don’t make your profile a copy of your CV – make it stand out from the 'online pack'

  • Use search words and phrases that you know target organisations are looking for

  • Join relevant groups to expand your networks, participate in relevant conversations


  • Project a professional positive image or keep your private life private

  • Use the 'Jobs on Facebook' feature, where employers list job opportunities

  • Populate the 'Work and Education' section with jobs/achievements/etc

  • Be selective about the organisations you 'like' – they must 'fit' your campaign

  • Join groups that reflect your job ambitions – show passion and engagement

  • Use it to research organisations and people pre-application and pre-interview


  • Use a snappy bio to introduce yourself and share info on target roles

  • Tag your location and link it to your LinkedIn or Facebook profiles

  • Follow people who might be useful, it’s a less formal way of connecting

  • Follow popular job opening hashtags that employers use to find applicants

  • You are what you tweet – make sure you look like the sort of person they want

  • Be bold and tweet organisations of interest speculatively to enquire about jobs

Like any broker between two parties, they are only interested in a ‘seller’ (i.e. you) if they think their ‘buyers’ (the employees) will be interested in you

Don’t get upset if it sometimes feels like you are doing their job for them and doing a lot of ‘running around’, its all part of the game

It may not seem fair (particularly as they are the ones being paid to do a job!), but you need to accept it is your job to be chasing them

Some agencies are more friendly and relationship driven than others but, at the end of the day, you are just a product

they are selling for a fee

Its very easy for you to drop off of their ‘radar’, they are juggling a lot of assignments and focused on filling them, so don’t take umbrage

Spot the relationship driven agencies and cultivate them, manage the  transactional agencies politely and efficiently, but don’t expect any empathy!

In relation to recruitment consultants, interim agencies, recruitment agencies, head-hunters, and search agencies, remember

  • They are intermediaries between you (the 'seller') and the client/customer (the 'buyer')

  • Their focus is not you – it is to fill their client’s vacancy and earn their fee

  • Their job is to present credible candidates to clients – everything else is your job

  • For them it is a process – don’t take negativity or unresponsiveness personal

  • It isn’t their job to keep in touch with you – it’s your job to keep in touch with them

  • They are either 'transactional' or 'relationship' driven – manage them accordingly

  • Build and maintain positive contact with 'relationship' driven recruiters

  • Be proactive (not reactive) by keeping in touch, following up and politely chasing

  • Google key words to find relevant agencies e.g. ‘recruitment agency’ ‘accountancy’

There are 100s of online job boards and more are regularly added to the mix

Googling key words will generate an endless supply of them e.g. ‘job board’ ‘marketing’

To get you started the thirty most popular generic job boards are listed below

A more detailed list of recruitment agencies can be found by CLICKING HERE

Similarly, there are lots of online job boards for interim opportunities



As a staring point the following are thirty of the most popular interim job boards

Key points concerning online adverts for self employed opportunities include

  • Select relevant sector/job specific preferred job sites and sources

  • It isn’t the easy option - you are up against the most competition

  • Offers no opportunity to build rapport and personal relationships

  • Don’t allocate too much time at the expense of other campaign routes

  • Don’t be seduced by the absence of human contact and remote access

  • Focus the campaign on target job types, don’t fire off in all directions

Key points concerning traditional adverts for self employed opportunities include


  • Significance has declined substantially, but they are still out there to be found

  • Don’t look for a 100% perfect fit, 80% is good enough if the work interests you

  • Understand and follow any instructions to ensure you are not disqualified

  • Draft your responses before filling in any hard or soft copy application forms

  • Respond with key skills, strengths, achievements evidence and experiences

  • Double check your responses or, better still, get a fresh pair of eyes to do so

Depending on the self employed opportunities being sought, you may want to advertise your services. If so, then before you spend any money consider the following questions

  • What budget are you going to set for any advertising you undertake?

  • Who are your target audiences and what are their needs?

  • How will your services benefit your target audiences’ needs?

  • What services information do you want to convey to your target audiences?

  • How are you going to design and present this information to best effect?

  • Where and how often are you going to advertise your services?

  • How are you going to assess the effectiveness of your advertising?

  • How are you going to monitor your level of spending on advertising?

Speculative campaigning

  • Is about identifying and contacting organisations you are interested in working for

  • They may have needs now, or in the future, that they haven’t yet advertised

  • You are endeavouring to be 'on their radar' before they decide to go to market

  • You are putting out lots of fishing lines, not knowing when and which ones will ‘bite'

  • Speculative letter content will vary but will always have three key elements

  • Your reason(s) for writing e.g. 'I am writing to you because ......'

  • Your key hook(s) e.g. 'In particular I would highlight ……'

  • Your call to action e.g. 'If I may, I will ……'

  • Useful links to identify and research companies can be found by CLICKING HERE

As explained below, pricing your time is as much an art as it is a science!


First, customer perception of your pricing will be critical to making a sale

  • Price way too high and buyers may perceive value, but not be able to afford it

  • Price way too low and they will be able to afford it, but may question it’s value

  • Price about right and customers will both value it and be able to afford it

  • The key is ensuring your pricing and value are seen as both attractive and congruent

Secondly, your pricing also needs to make financial sense

  • Cover any cost of sales needed to deliver your time and services

  • Provide a post tax net income that meets all of your domestic living costs

  • Contribute to discretionary items e.g. pensions, holidays, savings, hobbies gifts, etc

The diagram below brings the principles just discussed to life with some example numbers

However, this analysis makes two assumptions that we need to look at further, namely that

  • You will consistently generate at least 150 paid days p.a. from year one onwards

  • The market will pay you at least (and hopefully more) than your minimum day rate

Let's look at these two issues in a bit more detail

Experience indicates that In year one, if you generate a paid day for every unpaid day of marketing, you’ve done well and that if you continue to do well, then after five years the paid/unpaid ratio will improve dramatically potentially to circa 90%/10%



The analysis below assumes that you have allocated 200 days p.a. to your self employed business. If you intend allocating more or fewer days to your campaign then just

pro rata the projected income numbers in the diagram up or down accordingly

Your average day rate may vary depending on what you are doing each day, so this is the average of what you are achieving

So, for example, on a day rate of circa £300, this row shows how you might expect your income to grow if you do well and are successful

Over your first five years of being self employed, as you build your market presence, you will hopefully spend less time to generate each day of paid income 

The previous few sections have hopefully, provided a good overview of the ‘income maths’

However, even more important is establishing what you can achieve in the market place



Or, perhaps more precisely, what range of day rates, depending on your range of skills



Ways to research and establish your market worth in terms of hourly/daily rates include



Talking to people in your network who are themselves self employed



Having informal discussions with friendly, relationship driven agencies


Take the salary for equivalent employed job roles or your old job if it is relevant



And then do the following calculation for a rough ball park starting point figure

Ultimately, the price of your time is what somebody else is prepared to pay for it



So you need to ensure that they attach the greatest possible value to your time

Over the next few sections, identify what your objectives are going to be for each of the areas covered and the time you are going to spend on each of them

It is very important that you make the objectives meaningful, manageable and useful to the success of your job hunting

In particular the objectives must be SMART, that is

  • Specific – they must be clear and definite, not vague or fudged 

  • Measurable – the outcomes sought( and by when) must be identified

  • Achievable – challenge and stretch are good, but must be doable

  • Relevant – focus only on activities that are key to your job hunt 

  • Timely – undertaken at a time and in an order that makes sense

Your psychological contract – treat finding self employed tasks and projects as a job in itself


Organise yourself – prepare and implement a structured and flexible plan of action



Keep records – it doesn’t matter if it is hard or soft copy, just make sure you do it

Review progress – make it a learning and growing experience now and in the future



Recognise what is working and do more of it and spot and fix (or stop) what isn’t working



Use time efficiently – allocate your time according to the relative importance of tasks



Take control – focus on the things that are fully or partially in your control, park the rest

This module has enabled you to

  • Understand what the four main routes are to find self employed opportunities

  • Pursue each of the four routes to the self employed market in a structured way

  • Manage your time and resources across the four routes to best effect

  • Confidently and effectively network and use social media appropriately

  • Approach and manage recruitment and interim agencies to your best advantage

  • Plan and build an efficient and timely speculative campaign

  • Price your time in your target markets to meet your personal needs

  • Develop a structured set of action plans with effective SMART objectives

Go to the next module by CLICKING HERE

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