How do you get your name known as a freelancer?

Let’s say you’re a freelancer — Dana the Developer — and you want to get your name known:

  • As a go-to developer or
  • As an expert at solving a particular problem or
  • As a specialist in working with a particular target market

You want to increase the number of people who know of you, your work, and your reputation.

But how do you do this? How do you tackle getting your name known in your target market?

A lot of it seems like luck and happenstance. Someone releases a plugin or an open source project. Or their book comes out. Or they’re on a burst of podcasts. And suddenly everyone is talking about them. But you know of people with a half-a-dozen open source projects or a book and no one knows their name.

From the outside, it looks so cryptic. What are you supposed to do? And how do you know if it’s working?

But from the inside, let me tell you that getting your name known in your industry is actually the application of a simple framework.

If you want to get your name known as a freelancer, you need to do two things:

  1. Pick a thing you want to be known for
  2. Get good at talking with people about the thing

Pick a thing you want to be known for

The common theme between anyone known for a thing is that they’ve picked a thing they want to become known for. This connects to one of my directives, a list of statements to help guide me in my business and life.

Directive #7: You will become known for doing what you do.

Pick a thing you want to be known for.

For my public relations clients, my coaching students who are working with me to promote their work, and the readers of my book Podcast Outreach (, I break this down with a series of exercises and worksheets that help them identify what they want to become known for.

It breaks down to becoming known for:

  • Your area of expertise or
  • Solving a common problem or
  • An opinion contrary to your industry

Then, you do the thing. Often. And you let people know about it.


Jonathan Stark → Hourly Billing Is Nuts (Controversial Opinion)

Philip Morgan → Positioning is fundamental to getting more leads (Solution to a common problem)

And then you get good at telling people about what you do

Become comfortable about telling people what you do.

Pick a way to promote your knowledge and expertise and get your name known.

An incomplete and growing list of ways to get your name known as a freelancer

(If I’ve left something obvious or esoteric off the list, hit reply and let me know)

  • Guest on podcasts ( ← the definitive guide on how to get on podcasts as a guest expert)
  • Host a podcast
  • Write a book ( Distill your best recommendations as a consultant into something that lives online or in print)
  • Attend conferences
  • Liveblog conferences
  • Speak at conferences
  • Host conferences or meet ups
  • Guest on webinars
  • Host webinars
  • Write regularly (email list, blog, etc.)

About the thing you want to be known for.

Just because I know some people reading this will go “I need to do all of that?!” let me be clear: you need to do a few of these.

  • 1: You will slowly become known
  • 2-3: You will become known at a moderate pace
  • 4+: You will rapidly become known

If Dana the Developer writes a monthly blog post answering common questions about hiring a developer or questions that her prospects are asking, Dana will slowly become known as a go-to person.

Now if Dana implements a marketing plan like:

  • Guest on podcasts 2x/month, talking about solutions to common problems
  • Host a podcast 4x/month, talking about his/her area of expertise
  • Write a book every year, sharing his/her views
  • Write a weekly article, publishing it to an email list

Dana will rapidly become known.

If Dana has a specific target market (Ecommerce companies running WooCommerce) and expensive problem (Sell more by developing custom solutions) then Dana can easily target her efforts.

But even if Dana is in a generalist position as, say, an iOS Developer with no particular target market or expensive problem picked out, then Dana can use these same strategies to become known as a freelancer.

When I wanted to become known as the go-to person for Outreach Marketing, I guested on podcasts — over 50 of them — to talk about Outreach Marketing. I write two books on Outreach marketing. I spoke at four conferences on topics about Outreach Marketing.

And I become known as the go-to person for my target market — software companies — who were looking to invest in outreach marketing. I built a very successful agency on the back of this two step process to get your nam known as a freelancer:

  1. Pick a thing you want to be known for
  2. Get good at talking with people about the thing