I’m really excited to welcome Alex Mathers to the Design and Marketing Podcast. Alex is a freelance illustrator who has been on my radar for many years primarily because of his excellent RedLemonClub site for freelance creatives. I joined his mailing list back in 2009 (I don’t think I’ve been on any other list for so long) and I’ve benefitted from all Alex’s tips for finding work.
Alex is an illustrator (he actually also works for some Californian company that have something to do with search). Interestingly, he first started making money as a freelancer by submitting illustrations to iStock.
Now, Alex runs several sites – as well as the aforementioned RedLemonClub, he also runs ApeOnTheMoon showcasing contemporary visual art as well as the eponymous AlexMathers.net. He receives passive income from sales of various e-books, including Promo 3.0 [Kindle] which about how freelance creatives should promote themselves (I’ve read this and it’s excellent!) and his Google+ Guide which is about winning great clients through Google+ mastery.
How freelancers should find work
We talked about Alex’s philosophy on internet promotion in 2013. First of all, Alex was at pains to emphasise the importance of having a quality product. It might sound obvious but, believe me, many people don’t get this. Marketing is all about producing a quality product that people want to buy. Everything else is piffle.
So, if you’re a web designer, you must concentrate on making the best possible websites first and foremost. Strive for excellence. To a certain extent a great product is great marketing because people will see your sites and talk about them.
After that, Alex highlights the importance of developing real friendships with people rather than selling your wears in the traditional way. It doesn’t matter whether the relationships are with potential clients or not – but they need to be within your targeted niche. Then, if you provide value to these people, they will amplify your reach and potential.
Another interesting side to Alex Mathers is his travels. Alex lived in Sweden, Barbados and Jamaica during his childhood. However, more interestingly, this time last year Alex suddenly decided to go to live in Japan. He’d always loved certain Japanese illustrators and had friends there.
What happened to Alex while in Japan? He found putting himself outside his comfort zone extremely important and inspiring. Putting yourself in a difficult situation which you then live with and overcome can make you feel really alive and improve your productivity. I found this while living in Brazil for a month at the end of last year.
What you can do
At the very least, you must head over to RedLemonClub to download Alex’s free book: “9 Things Freelancers Absolutely Must Do to Land Lots of Quality Clients”. And let us know what you think about this interview in the comments below!