To get straight to the point - yes, we all probably do. This article tells you why and how to create one.
Why should I have a website?
At its core, "marketing" or "business development" for freelance consultants in the social impact space is the same as it is for any professional service. You need to curate a portfolio of work that demonstrates what you can do and then showcase this portfolio to potential clients.
A website is a space where you can completely control how you look to potential clients and members of your personal and professional networks. You can include references and reviews, logos of organisations you’ve done consulting for, a blog to showcase your expertise, and more!
In that respect, a website can play a key role as a platform on which you develop your portfolio. It's an online "business card" and your "home" on the 'net, which you can direct potential clients to so they can get to know you better — as we've said many times at the IC-Hub, people will want to work with you if they know, like and trust you. You can use it as a platform to share updates about you, as well as to host content that you create (which you can then share with potential clients).
A website also distinguishes you from the competition. There are many "consultants" out there who merely update their LinkedIn title to "independent consultant" while in between jobs. Having a website shows that you're invested in being a professional freelancer.
Finally, a well-optimised website combined with a content creation strategy can generate consulting work, by allowing potential clients to find you if your expertise or service offering is Google-able.
What to include on your website?
You can check out our websites (Gabriella's website, Loksan's website and Molly's website). We're not saying they're perfect, and you'll see that Molly and Gabriella's eye for aesthetics means their websites are much better presented than Loksan's! We've included the following elements:
Online CV or downloadable PDF
Past projects and people we’ve worked with
Blogs where we talk about our field and recent activities
Podcasts and other media
Quick tips to get started
Use an easy-to-use website builder. We've used Wix to build our professional websites (including this one!) but Squarespace provides a similar offering. WordPress is another option but not as easy-to-use for less tech-savvy folks (like Loksan & Molly)! All have cheap starter packages designed for freelancers. Wix's Combo package at €10/month suffices for most freelancers (you use your own domain and remove Wix ads).
Find inspiration (check out the websites below, including from our very own IC-Hubbers!)
Don't forget the legal aspects: GDPR consent and privacy statements may be required depending on the location of the audience and the data that you will manage (e.g. collecting names/email addresses in a contact form).
Download the IC-Hub Website Creation Cheatsheet below!
Here are a few other websites that you may wish to draw inspiration from (including from our very own IC-Hubbers!):
Download the cheat sheet below, develop your website, and share it (IC-Hubbers can share via the Facebook and Google groups). Alternatively, if you are concerned about the time and technical skills required to build a website, you can outsource the whole process. Gabriella, one of our IC-Hub members, offers a package (discounted for IC-Hubbers).
This article and cheat sheet was a collaboration between the IC-Hub and Gabriella Mikiewicz.