Finding New Clients as a Freelancer
Working as a freelancer comes with its setbacks and benefits. You get to work as your own boss after all! Unfortunately, being your own boss also means handling everything that comes with managing your own business, including finding your own clientele. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran at selling your niche or just getting started, the first thing you absolutely need to succeed in your business are your clients. So how exactly do you find new clients? Your most powerful tool is the internet! There are numerous job boards and listings out there for freelancers like you, and taking the time to build connections with the help of the internet is very important. In this article I will give you eight pointers that will lead you to new, loyal customers and connections over time. Most of these tips involve methods that go further than online job searching. If you’re ready for some great tips keep reading!
Referrals, Referrals, Referrals!
Referrals are one of the most important ways of gaining clients when it comes to freelancing; however, you shouldn’t be waiting around for your current clients to send recommendations. Sure, if you’re doing a stellar job on your current project your client might tell others about how awesome you are. The problem with this is your recommendation isn’t guaranteed. You have to actively seek out referrals yourself to get you name out there; do not wait for them to come on their own. An easy way to do this is to send out a short and simple email. Check up on how people you currently working with are doing and then directly ask if anyone else they know could use your services. Let them know you are looking for new clients and don’t leave your message open ended.
Don’t Neglect Job Sites
Chances are, if you are reading this article, this should be obvious to you. I am not joking though. If you want more clients you should be checking your go-to job boards daily. Most sites update their content everyday due to an influx of companies posting their need for help, and you should be checking for these to gain more work. If you specialize in a certain area of expertise such as copywriting or web development then you should be looking at websites that primarily post those types of jobs. If you don’t know of any job boards, I am here to help! I’ve compiled a list of the best and most lucrative job sites out there specifically for freelancers.
- LinkedIn Profinder – LinkedIn recently launched this platform for freelance workers. This will help with both networking and finding clients.
- People Per Hour – This site is mainly for web development and design, but still features lots of work for other categories
- 99 Designs – If you’re a designer this website holds design contests for projects. A week after the deadline, the company will pay the winner.
- Upwork – Probably the most popular and diverse freelance job board with over four million clients.
- LocalSolo – Shows local freelance job listings as well as remote jobs.
- Guru – Apply and get matched to jobs daily. You can create a profile listing your services, and when you send out proposals guru will automatically back you up with projects you’ve already completed.
- Authentic Jobs – Search for jobs based on your skill level and expertise.
- Problogger Job Board – A job board for only writing/blogging gigs.
- Freelance Writing Gigs – Very similar to Problogger. The site posts writing specific remote jobs daily.
Start Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a great way to get your services out there in the public especially on popular sites with a fair amount of traffic. If you’ve used this method before and have not found success it is most likely due to the fact you are writing for a freelance blog. By writing for a freelance blog you aren’t presenting yourself to the right audience. Buyer’s aren’t usually reading content on these types of sites other freelancers are. What you should do is reach out to some blogs that feature content about the type of work you do. This way you can write about your expertise, experiences, etc. to a wider audience who might need your services.
Create a Bangin’ Website
When you first pick up a book are you interested because of its cover or its blurb? This is the same question you should be asking for your website. First impressions are vital, so when a potential client sees the front page of your website they should immediately know what you are selling. This will be the hook which allows prospects to further investigate your website. Don’t stop here though! You should also have a compelling narrative about who you are and what you do to entice the buyer to work with you. Your narrative can be achieved with a few website structuring rules.
- Headlines – A big bold headline will be the most read item on your website.
- Offer specific solutions – Being general won’t get you anywhere. Find out exactly what problems your type of clientele experiences and explain on your site specifically how your solution is the best fix for their problems.
- Create a Call to Action – Even if you already have a contact form on your website, consider offering a free consultation or a small gift (like an Ebook) in exchange for their email. This will allow you to contact them with more information than what is listed on your website.
- Eradicate Doubt – To lock in your new client you need to show them you are the best option as opposed to other freelancers. Add a testimonial section to show them you are the real deal and will not be disappointed with your services.
Utilize Mail Service
Companies receive tons of emails everyday, and while cold emailing potential buyers can be effective at times, most of the time your email will be lost among the many and could even end up in a spam folder. To save yourself the wait try mailing your business’s information instead. It will surely stand out! Make sure to invest in some nice envelopes as well. Another attention grabber is taking time to write and send out handwritten letters. Write about how you can help them and offer them your solutions with an easy way to contact you. This can work for potential clients but is also great for others you meet at networking events and will even keep your current clients happy. Sending handwritten notes ensures that you actually care about their company and are more than willing to help.
Speak at Conventions and Conferences
This might not be for everyone, but if you feel comfortable speaking in front of others or have some public speaking experience this could be for you. Consider reaching out to the coordinators of a nearby convention and see if you can set up a time to present. Be prepared to explain what you’d like to speak about and back it up with your experiences. This is a great way to find new leads in person. After your spiel you can network with people in the audience and give out your information. This is also an experience you can use for credibility on both your website and resume.
Reach Out to Lost Clients and Your Network
You may have reached out to some people in the past about your business but at the time they weren’t interested. What about now? Go through your resources and find people you contacted at least a couple months ago. They may not have needed your services then but maybe they do now. Send them a new email checking up on their business and ask if they are in need of help currently. The same goes for people already in your network. Ask what they’re up to lately and if they could use any advice or feedback. You will instantly build a stronger connection and they will most likely return the favor with business or referrals.
Build a Symbiotic Relationship
If you’ve ever watched the Discovery Channel or National Geographic then you have seen those little fish that stick around and clean bigger fish like sharks. This is called a symbiotic relationship and that little fish is you. Partner up with a non-competing larger company who could benefit from your services. The partnership will benefit you in at least two ways. The first way is you and your partner company could create a new package to sell and split the profits. The second benefit is sometimes larger companies will pass on offers for work because of factors such as budget, availability, low interest, etc. For you this means the company will refer clients they pass on to your business giving you more work.
These are the best methods I know of to help you bring in some new clients, I hope some of these help you in your search!