4 Ways Freelancers Can Find Clients

So you’ve decided to branch out and take freelancing seriously.
 
That’s great!
 
Whether it’s your sole business, or a side job to supplement your income, freelancing is very rewarding and challenging. It can also be a little terrifying when you realize you have no idea how to find your first clients!
 
But fear not; others have stumbled upon their first clients in the past and you will too. It just takes a little bit of know-how to get you started. Here are four ways freelancers can land great clients:
 

1. Tell Everyone You Know

New service providers, especially in creative fields, often have a little problem with self-promotion.
 
It’s much easier for the introverted creative type to go online and look for work rather than calling up her former boss, her uncle and her landlady and telling them she put out her small business shingle. But telling everyone you know is absolutely the first thing you should do when you’ve decided to take on clients.
 
These people already know you and how great you are, and word of mouth is one of the most trusted ways that people find service providers. You will be surprised how many people you know will say something like, “Oh! I always needed your service, but I had no idea who to ask!”
 
 
 

2. Connect With Others Like You

Why in the world would you want to partner up with your competitors?
 
It sounds like strange advice, but there’s a lot of wisdom here. Others in your industry have been around for a long time and know what’s up. They are likely to have a lead or two that they don’t have time to handle, or can at least give you a referral if anything comes up.
 
You also don’t necessarily need to partner up with direct competitors. For example, if you’re a freelance graphic designer, talk with other creative designers as well as professional printers, web developers or even freelance writers. These are all related fields and clients often cross paths. A writer could need help with a graphic for a client’s blog post, for instance.
 
 
 

3. Start Doing It

There’s no reason to mince words: starting out can be a little rough. You want money, but nobody will give you money for your services without any experience.
 
As a result, you may have to just start doing whatever it is you do, potentially for free. (Caveat: make sure this is something you are passionate about, otherwise why do it for free?)
 
If you’re a freelance writer, start writing about subjects you’re interested in and submitting them to relevant blogs. Make sure to have a good bio for yourself and include the fact you’re a “freelance writer.”
 
If the content is good, people will visit your site or email you to make more content. Eventually you’ll gain some repeat customers – just make sure they have somewhere to go. Speaking of which…
 
 
 

4. Have a Website

You would not believe how much more work you’ll get if you put up even a super simple website.
 
Make sure it looks good and contains keywords pertaining to your industry so clients can find you when they search. Just doing this will not only put you in the sights of customers but also above your competition.
 
Everywhere you go (both online and offline), include links to your website. You want as much exposure as possible, especially if you meet someone who may use your business in the future.
 
One great tip is that whenever you complete an assignment, ask clients to give you a short recommendation. It may even be worth it to do some free work just to get these recommendations as they go a long way in establishing authority with the public. After some time you won’t need them as you’ll have a strong customer base.
 
 
Check out this article for even more tips.
 
 

How did you find your first client? Share your experience and tips with us in the comments.

 
 

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Heather Allard

Heather Allard is a mom of three kids + one big rescue dog. She's a wellness buff, an essential oil educator with dōTERRA, and a self-professed “entrepreneur to the core”.
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8 Comments

  1. Suzanne @ AndMyHouse

    It’s amazing how just talking to people opens doors. In the beginning I didn’t even have to hunt for business, it came looking for me!

    Reply
  2. Kinsey Roberts

    This post couldn’t come at a better time for me. Just when I’m thinking of branching out into freelance copywriting. The Mogul Mom is such a gift!

    Reply
  3. Amyli McDaniel of ParentEntrepreneurs

    I would like to emphasis and expand upon Item #3- just starting doing what you do. Great advice!!

    Back in 2002 I left the world of employment and started my own legal consultancy.
    Instead of spending my time marketing and networking, I just researched and looked for an ideal client who needed services I provided on an ongoing basis.

    I offered to do a legal contract review for them for FREE with no obligation. It took me about 3 hours of my time. By the end of the project, they signed an ongoing consulting contract with me.

    Some folks would never give their services for free but they do not realize they will spend that same amount (and many times even more) of their time marketing, prospecting, cold calling, speaking writing brochures, teaching, etc. as an effort to find clients generally. Instead, you can spend that time solving an immediate need of a potential client, giving yourself an opportunity to show what you can do, and establish a relationship – all as pre-sales activity with a targeted client.

    Amyli McDaniel

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      That’s awesome, Amyli! Thank you for sharing your experience!

      Reply
  4. Kristin @ Infopoint Virtual

    I found my first client through leaving business cards at my local H&R Block where I worked part time. We have a lot of business owners coming in there to do taxes and one picked up my card and a few months later I had a client! 🙂 Now I leave my business cards wherever a business has a board or allows me to!

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Great idea, Kristin! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  5. Atalaya

    Spinning off of #1 and #2, I find that getting out there and networking directly connects you to potential business.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      You’re absolutely right, Atalaya! 🙂

      Reply

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