BigBinary started in 2011. Here are our revenue numbers for the last 7 years.
We achieved this to date without having any outbound marketing and sales strategy.
- We have never sent a cold email.
- We have never sent a cold LinkedIn message.
- The only time we advertised was a period of two months when we tried Google advertisements, with no outcomes.
- We do not sponsor any podcast.
- We have not had a sales person.
- We have not had a marketing person.
We have kept our head down and have focused on what we do best, such as designing, developing, debugging, devops, and blogging.
This is what has worked out for us so far:
- We contribute to the community through blog posts and open source.
- We sponsor community events like Rails Girls and Ruby Conf India.
- We sponsor many React and Ruby meetups.
- We focus on keeping our existing clients happy.
Over the years I have come across many people who aspire to be freelancers. While it is not for everyone, I encourage them to give freelancing a try.
The greatest hindrance I have seen is that they stress over sales and marketing, and as it should be. Being a freelancer means constant need to find your next client.
I'm not here to say what others ought to do. I'm here to say what has worked out for BigBinary over the last 7 years.
While we plan to experiment with new forms of marketing, networking, and sales channel as we grow, it is not the end-all-be-all for freelancers. While marketing, networking, and sales may be effective for some, it was not how we started BigBinary and may not be how you want to start as well.
For us at BigBinary, it has been writing blogs. When we come across a potentially intriguing blog topic, we save the topic by creating a Github issue. When we have downtime, we pick up a topic from our issues list. It’s as simple as that and has been our primary driver of growth thus far.
While you should experiment to find out what works best for you, you need to find out what suits your personality. If you are good at teaching through videos, consider creating your own YouTube channel. If you contribute to open source, try creating a blog about your efforts and learnings. If you are good at concentrating on a niche technology, build your marketing and business around that.
I can confidently say that majority of people I met and who want to be freelancer would do fine if they simply share what they are learning. Most of these people do technical work. Some of them already blog and others can blog. A blog is a decent start nearly everybody will say. I'm saying that it is a good end too.
If you do not want to do any other form of marketing then that's fine too. Just blogging will work out fine for you just like it has worked out fine for us at BigBinary.
Just because you are going to be a freelancer you don’t have to change who you are. If you don't like sending cold emails then don't. If you do not like networking then that’s alright as well. Write personal emails, dump corporate talk, show compassion and be genuine.
So go on and do some freelancing. It would teach you a lot about software development, business, life, managing money, creating value and capturing value. It will be rough at times. And it would be hard at times. But it would also be a ton of fun.