How to Become & Succeed as a Freelance Audio Engineer

audio waves on computer

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It is a dream for a lot of audio engineers to be able to make a full time living freelancing. While many engineers have the technical skills to mix and master audio, that is usually not the issue keeping them from running a successful freelancing business. What holds most engineers back is their fear of getting started and the ability to market and manage their business properly. In the following 10 easy steps, we will show you how to become a freelance audio engineer and get clients with ease.

1. Structure Your Offerings

There are a few different ways that you can price your services, but we recommend keeping it simple with an hourly based billing model. In most cases freelance audio engineers charge anywhere from $30-$200 per hour mainly based off of their experience. All you need to do is decide on an appropriate hourly rate for your experience level, and bid projects based off of how many hours they will take you to do and the materials cost associated with them (if any).

2. Create a Website

Your website is the ideal place to host your portfolio so people can hear audio samples of your work. In order to set up a website, we recommend buying your domain name and hosting from SiteGround because it is affordable and easy to set up. Once you have your domain and hosting set up, we recommend that you install WordPress and hire a freelancer to build you a website. While you may think that hiring someone to build your website might cost thousands of dollars, you can hire a service like this one to get it done for you for less than $100!

3. Get on Local Listings

At a minimum we recommend you get listed on Google Maps, Bing Places, Facebook, and Yelp because they are free and they will boost your Google rankings. When doing this make sure that the information is correct on your listings and you add at least a couple images to it.

Pro tip:

For SEO purposes just make sure that the image file names describe what is in the image instead of something default like “DSC-214”. If it is natural to include keywords in the image file names, go ahead and do so also.

4. Run Craigslist Ads

Craigslist Logo

Running an ad on Craigslist only costs $5, and it is a great way to get your first few clients in the door! Just craft a simple ad with images, keywords, and a link to your portfolio. and you can have leads coming in instantly!

Pro tips:

  • Including lots of keywords in your ad in order to get it more visibility in Craigslist search.
  • Re-post your ad every 2-10 days. We recommend that you judge how regular you should post the ads based off of how often your competitors are re-posting their ads
  • Respond to leads as soon as possible
  • Include a special offer if possible to help entice people to reach out
  • Allow for multiple methods of contact like: calling, texting, and emailing so potential clients can contact you based on their preferred method.

5. Run Google And/Or Bing Ads

SEM (search engine marketing)  is another quick way to get some leads coming in the door, but it requires a little bit more expertise and capital investment than Craigslist. You can learn more about running SEM campaigns via Google Ads here.

6. Start a Blog And/Or a YouTube Channel

One of the best ways to build your authority and charge more for your services is through content marketing. Not to mention that this will allow you to monetize your website in more ways than just your services.

Some of additional monetization methods you can use include:

  • Ads
  • Affiliate product
  • Information products like sound packs, and courses.

When deciding what article topics to write about, we recommend targeting audio engineering keywords with “how to” related intent and providing a call to action (CTA) in your articles focused on getting people to request a free estimate on their project from you.

Pro tip:

Make sure that the keywords you select are low competition so that you can easily rank for them. You can get an idea of how competitive a keyword is by using tools like Ahrefs and manually checking to see how many articles and/or videos are published about that topic by searching “allintitle:yourkeyword” in Google. If there are less than 60 or so all in title results, this is probably a low competition keyword.

7. Get Reviews and Manage Your Reputation

Whenever you do good work for someone ask them to leave you a review on Google! Having good reviews will help you get more leads, close more deals, and charge higher prices.

Deal with Negative Reviews

Don’t worry about the occasional bad review every once in a while because that’s totally normal. Simply reach out to those people directly and see if there is anything you can do to resolve the issue. An example of something you can offer is their money back or a free song mix. In some cases this will be enough to get people to edit or remove their review. That being said, as long as you are getting a decent amount of good reviews and your average is over 4 out of 5 stars, you don’t need to worry too much.

8. Start or Join Facebook Groups Where Your Ideal Clients Hang Out

This is a great way to network with potential customers. Just be aware that you should not be too sales focused with your content in Facebook Groups. Simply answer people’s questions and post helpful content for other group members. You can hint to you being an audio engineer by saying things like “from my experience as a freelance audio engineer, I would say…”.

Essentially, you want to lead with value and subtly mention your services if it’s natural to do so. Not being sales focused is particularly important if you don’t own the group or have permission to post that type of content from the group owners.

9. Network In-Person

If you are a freelance audio engineer we recommend that you stay active in your local scene by attending shows and other networking events in your area. You should keep it casual when chatting with people, but we recommend also keeping some business cards on hand in case people are interested in getting your contact information.

10. Email Marketing and Limited Time Specials to Existing Clients

email

One of the great things about the mixing and mastering business is that most clients will need your services multiple times. In order to get your existing clients to order with you again, you can get their permission to send out emails to them. We recommend sending content that is valuable and every once in a while informing them that you have a special going on for a limited time. We recommend that you don’t offer specials too often to avoid people from feeling like they are getting spammed and/or assume that it’s not actually a limited time offer.

How to Become a Freelance Audio Engineer Conclusion

While we mentioned a lot of marketing tactics in this article to help you get a better understanding of the possibilities that are out there, you don’t need to do all of them in order to succeed. We actually recommend that you you focus on just one or two of these tactics in order to develop more mastery. You don’t want to get spread yourself too thin and not become overwhelmed. The important part is that you constantly market and manage your business in addition to satisfying your customers.