The number of businesses outsourcing to freelancers is increasing, which is fortunate because this means…
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Finding clients is one of the most challenging aspects of working for yourself. If you’re new to freelancing, it can be very challenging. And daunting.
Like most everything, though, getting started is the hard part.
Once you learn how to find clients as a freelancer, you’ll turn them into repeat clients and get them to refer you to other clients, then use their testimonials and the experience you’ve gained to bring in still more clients until you don’t have to look for business much at all anymore and everyone is coming to you.
Until then and while you’re getting started as a freelancer, here are nine tips for getting those first freelance clients.
How to Find Clients as a Freelancer
Contact your contacts
You already know people in your life. Maybe some of them could use your services, or maybe they know someone else who can.
Don’t be shy about telling people that you’re freelancing. Let them know exactly what type of work you’re doing. Give them your card. Ask them if they know of anyone who might need something you have to offer. Word of mouth is a very powerful way for people to hear about you.
Utilize job search sites
Fiverr, Upwork and other freelance job boards are popular because they succeed at connecting freelancers with people who need their skills.
There are possibly hundreds of job search sites in the world. Some job sites are specific to certain countries while others are open to freelancers around the world. Sign up for a few different of these job sites. Look at other freelancers’ profiles and see how they’re describing their services. Then create a better profile than those you’ve seen and write a description of your services that blows away the rest. Make hiring you an easy decision.
Suggested reading: How to find virtual assistant clients
Connect with other freelancers
Don’t look at others in your niche as competition; look at them as connections.
Freelancers in your field, especially if they’ve been at it for a while, possess a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Talk to these freelancers, connect with them on social media, get to know them and ask them questions. Learn from them about their experiences working at home. Ask them about their experiences working while traveling. Build a network of others in your field and you’ll be able to learn from people who’ve already accomplished what you want to accomplish.
Put yourself out there as an expert
You need to establish yourself as someone who knows what they’re talking about and what they’re doing. Participate in Twitter chats specific to your industry. Join relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups and then share your knowledge by commenting on other people’s posts as well as creating your own posts. Attend in-person events and meet-ups if possible.
Don’t be a know-it-all, but do let people know that you’re someone who has skills and knowledge that are worth something.
Network with people related to your industry
Networking is one of the most important things you can do as a freelancer.
Don’t limit yourself to people only in your niche, though. People in related fields can be valuable to your business too. Get yourself out there in front of people in a wide range of related niches.
Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook groups are great places to meet people and connect with relevant brands. There is nothing as effective as in-person networking, though. Work at least part of the time in a co-working space if you have any near you. Use Meetup.com to find meetups with people related to your field. If you can afford it, go to a conference or two or three where there will be hundreds or thousands of diverse people that you can learn from and connect with.
Don’t be picky at first
When you’re starting out as a freelancer, don’t take just anything potential clients want to throw your way, but don’t set the highest possible rates and expect to be flooded with work either.
Set reasonable rates, and be open to possibly taking on some work at first that you might not find that desirable. You need to gain experience and might need to build a portfolio. The sooner you can do those two things, the easier it should be to get future work.
Suggested reading: How to start your own business
Do not fear criticism or rejection
If you receive criticism or if you face rejection at some point, don’t allow it to impact you negatively and don’t allow it to stop you.
Criticism is a normal part of life and business. It may be personal, but don’t take it too personally. Learn what you can from it, talk to people about it if you need to, and move forward.
Continue to do your work and networking so you can get the freelance clients you want.
Ask for testimonials
When you’ve completed any project, great or small, ask your client if they’d mind giving you a testimonial. Once you collect a few testimonials from a few different clients, these testimonials will look great on your website and any promotional materials you create, and they’ll help potential future clients know that you’re good at what you do.
Suggested reading: 9 books for for freelancers and entrepreneurs
Do excellent work
People will hire you because they believe you can do the work that they need accomplished.
Do the best you can at creating, fixing, teaching or whatever it is you do. Then become better at it as you gain experience and hone your skills. Find ways to focus well, manage your time well and stay motivated while at the same time taking care of your health. All of this will lead to you being able to produce excellent work and succeed in your freelancing career.
Now that you’ve learned how to find clients as a freelancer, implement this advice and you will be able to get all the clients you need.
Want to learn more about how to get off to the right start as a freelancer? Download my free ebook How to Shift Your Mindset from 9-5 to Freelancing.
Sabina Lohr is a lifelong freelancer turned entrepreneur who created World of Freelancers to help others discover how to work for themselves online and live the freelance lifestyle. She’s always really enjoyed the freedom that freelancing brings, including several years on and off of working online while traveling and living abroad.