How To: Become a Freelance Product Manager with Abidal Alshahri
- Remote Working & Freelancing
- Design & Creative
Abidal’s journey into freelancing started as a side hustle in 2015. He landed his first freelance client by posting a gig on Fiverr and offering services for a really low fee.
“I would accept small jobs (solving case studies and interview preparations) that I would do on weekends. Then it grew,” Abidal says.
Want to become a freelance project manager? Read on to learn how to become a freelance project manager with Abidal Alshahri.
What does a freelance project manager do? 🏁
A freelance project manager plans and leads different projects for different clients. Freelance project managers work in all sorts of industries, including finance, insurance, manufacturing, construction, technology, and more. Regardless of the industry, the job involves a lot of organization, communication, and
Freelance project managers execute all kinds of projects:
- Overseeing a project from beginning to end
- Defining a project scope and creating a schedule
- Coordinating team members across time zones
- Estimating cost and working with a budget
- Organizing a workflow for a team
- Creating a website or completing a part of a project
Networking is key 🔑
Networking is one of the best methods freelance product managers can use to connect with clients, according to Abidal.
“Networking is key,” Abidal says. “Most of the freelance personal managers I know who receive a lot of offers are very active on LinkedIn or Twitter. That is how they get their clients.”
Abidal recommends interacting with personal managers in different Slack communities. He recommends using resources like Lenny’s Newsletter, Product School, Product HQ, and Mind The Product to learn more about product management. (You can also take a look at Airtable’s database of Slack communities to find more groups to join, or join Contra’s Slack community after creating a Contra profile.)
Use social media to attract freelance clients 📝
Abidal recommends picking a social media app like LinkedIn or Twitter and then using it to attract new freelance clients.
He says that you need to post relevant content on your social media accounts. For example, you could share free services like templates, consulting calls, and free courses to get people interested in your work.
Share your services widely 🔥
Additionally, freelance product managers need to post freelance services and include a good personal bio and description. For example, Abidal lists that he’s available for product management projects on his Contra profile, and includes why he’s the product manager to hire and the exact deliverables included. Check out Abidal’s Contra profile for more great examples!
“Make yourself visible and known,” says Abidal. He recommends posting freelance gigs on different platforms.
Abidal 🚀 on Contra
Every freelance project is a building block 📦
As you begin your freelance project management career, you may have to take on smaller projects. This is valuable experience that you can use to land dream clients later on.
“When you are just starting out, you need to lower your fee and offer more than what is expected from you,” Abidal says. “That is necessary to gain the customers trust, acquire learnings, and collect as many five star reviews and ratings as possible.”
Try outreach to find new clients 🎤
Marketing is one way freelance product managers can attract new clients. Abidal recommends following startup newsletters and reaching out to startups that just got funded. He says that you should email startups using the AIDA model and direct potential clients to your profile or website.
The AIDA model follows the four stages consumers go through before deciding to make a purchase: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. You can use the AIDA model to market your freelance business:
- Attract attention. This first step is all about getting the attention of your potential client.
- Create interest. Your goal in this next step is to get your potential client interested in your services. You may explain why you’re the freelancer to hire, how your process works, or the results you get for clients.
- Build desire. Now, you want clients to want to work with you. You can create desire by networking with clients, or just by getting your name out there on different social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Promote action. At this point, they’ll understand your services and how you can help their business. Create a clear next step by including a call-to-action in your portfolio and in your emails to potential clients. This could be as simple as a “work with me” button or “
Remember, the AIDA model is just one type of marketing you can use to gain new freelance clients.
Focus on retention and consistency ⚡
New freelance product managers need to focus on two tactics, according to Abidal. “Consistency and networking. Without these two, you will not be able to succeed!”
Looking back, Abidal wishes he knew that retaining clients and creating content was important. By creating content, you gain traction in your business. He also recommends that freelancers think about selling digital products along with their main business to start scaling.
“Client renewal is much easier and cheaper than new acquisitions,” Abidal says. “It is better to focus on one niche and be known for it.”
Becoming a freelance product manager takes time ⌛
Abidal says that people interested in becoming freelance product managers need to know that it takes time and it’s not easy.
“It is not easy. Not because of the competition but because the job requires you to be committed long-term with clients,” Abidal says. “Freelancing this type of job is almost impossible without getting the context of the product and developing an understanding of the user persona and the industry.”
Start your freelance project management career with a profile on Contra 🏆
Like Abidal, you can create a profile on Contra with ease. With Contra, you have a project management system where you can promote your services, collaborate with clients, and get paid commission-free.
You can even launch a Portfolio by Contra designed specifically for Independents that shows off your freelance services and work experience.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting your freelance career or are ready to go full-time with your freelance business. It’s time to launch and grow your freelance business.