Today's Question: How do you get followers, clients, and buyers?This part of freelancing is extremely frustrating because it just doesn't happen over night, unless you get a major break (but I wouldn't count on that.) Being constantly present on several social media sites uploading your work and spreading the word is definitely the way to start. To gain followers you should comment and make relationships with bloggers (they are very very helpful in promoting you and your work, and the main reason why I can live off of my illustrative work.) To gain buyers you should constantly be uploading new items or renewing old items in your shop.
My collaboration with Matchbook Magazine began when I started commenting on Katie Armour's blog The Neo Traditionalist after she had featured my work. I introduced myself and thanked her for the feature and then became a regular commenter. When Matchbook was in it's planning stages, she pitched me the 'What's in my Bag' monthly illustration feature. I was thrilled and my collaboration with Matchbook has lead to many more wonderful opportunities and many new fans of my work.
Because of the viral sharing nature of social media sites, every time I complete a new project and my client and myself both promote it on our sites, I then get a few more clients requesting similar projects. These then stem off to more and more clients... it's like a web.
A trick to gain a big bump in followers for all of your sites (which will lead to many new opportunities and future clients etc.) is to host give-aways on popular blogs. These new followers may be fleeting as they may just have wanted to win one of your products (but if they wanted it win so badly to start following all of your sites... they must really like your work and will continue to follow you.)
These bumps in followers, buyers and new clients always go up and down in waves. There seems to seriously not be any rhyme or reason; and you have to learn to never stress about a slow or unsuccessful month. The following month could be great. (Gosh I'm so positive it's sick!)