Six ways to succeed as a marketing freelancer – Eman Ismail

Eman Ismail, Founder of Eman Copy Co
Read time: 4 minutes 🏆6 steps to kicking ass as a freelancer with Eman Ismail On Tuesday morning, Eman Ismail took to the virtual stage for the last of the season 9 webinars. Eman is a freelance pro, the founder of Eman Copy Co, host of the Mistakes That Made Me podcast, and most recently, […]

Read time: 4 minutes

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🏆6 steps to kicking ass as a freelancer with Eman Ismail

On Tuesday morning, Eman Ismail took to the virtual stage for the last of the season 9 webinars.

Eman is a freelance pro, the founder of Eman Copy Co, host of the Mistakes That Made Me podcast, and most recently, the cover star of Freelance Magazine. 

The setup for Eman’s session was a guide for how to successfully smash the freelance life.
What followed was an hour of practical advice, thoughtfulness, and so much positivity. Eman embodies what we value most at TMM.

Eman’s working story is impressive to say the least. Back in 2018, after a stint in-house at a charity, Eman set up shop as a pen-for-hire – a copywriting freelancer. With a 2-year old son in tow, the first few years were not easy. Eman explains how they cycled through feast and famine mode, figuring out how to make it work. Then, Covid hit, and Eman’s childcare setup went out the window.

Now, in 2023, she’s a mama of 2 with a 6 figure copywriting business who enjoyed 7-8 months of self-funded maternity leave and all of the freedom and flexibility to work in a way that works for her family. How did she do it?

Watch the video playback here or read on for Eman’s 6 tips to go from surviving to thriving as a freelancer.

Stop being an order-taker

When you’re starting out as a freelancer, it can be hard to know where to place yourself, who to target as your audience, and most importantly, to know which kind of work you want to say yes and no to. Instead of taking anything that comes your way, set out to be super intentional about the types of work, contract styles, and verticals you want to work in. Eman explains how positioning yourself as a strategist allows you to go beyond being a pen-for-hire, and instead get paid for how you think and approach business challenges.

“People don’t pay you to write*. They pay you to think.” Joel Klettke

*Replace ‘write’ with whatever you do.

Through marketing yourself as a strategist, you can start to build up a reputation, gain trust amongst prospective clients, and start to charge more for your services. When you position yourself as the expert, clients will want to hire you to do what they can’t do. You’ll feel more control and ownership over your work.

Create a 5* experience

This is what sets you apart from others, allows you to charge more, helps you get referrals, and hopefully leaves you feeling satisfied at the end of the working day. 

Mikli’s customer experience hierarchy 

You can create an exceptional customer experience through:

  • Leading your clients

Clients want and need you to lead whatever it is you’re working on. It’s why they hired you. So, be confident and push where you need to push to get the best results and help the client feel like they’re getting what they paid for. 

  • Removing friction and making things easier for your clients

Nobody wants more work. Strive to make things as easier as possible from the moment a prospective client starts interacting with you. Remembering and acting on small details adds up. Combine that personalisation with follow-up emails, easy-to-pay invoices, and great communication and you’ll be a pleasure to work with. 

  • Creating moment

Certain moments in a project are Moments with a capital M. For example, when a client signs the contract to work with you. Taking the time to write a thank you note to your key contact, shouting out the company in your newsletter, or sending the team a small gift are a perfect way to mark the moment and show the client that you’re as invested in the partnership as they are. 

Be intentional with your pricing

How to price yourself? It’s the million dollar question and a regular sticking point for freelancers. Eman explains how you need to use pricing methods that benefit both you and your clients. 

For Eman, that means favouring project-based and value-based pricing over hourly pricing. Starting with her monthly financial needs and wants, she then reverse engineers a pricing method for her services so that she can live on comfortably, cover her business expenses and taxes, and put money aside for future expenses.

Qualify, qualify, qualify

Qualify your leads before you have sales calls to save time. When you’re struggling to find new clients it can be incredibly tempting to take calls with anyone and everyone who is asking. Introducing a qualification stage to your sales pipeline allows you to weed out the work that isn’t moving you in the right direction, giving you more time to focus on winning work that pays you what you need and aligns with your goals. 

Prepare for quiet periods

Accepting that there will be quiet periods is just part of the freelance life. Once you accept it, you can start preparing for it. Eman’s top tip is to never stop marketing, especially when you’re busy. Go on podcasts, audit existing work, and get your name out there. Work to build up your savings to cover you, and most importantly, prioritise retention over acquisition.

Learn from your mistakes

Eman believes in this so much that she made an entire podcast about it. She explains how all of the business owners that she speaks to cite making mistakes as the reason they’ve got to where they are today. It’s ok to make mistakes, but the determining factor is how you respond to them.

Find out more about how you can work with Eman here –