Imagine this – you just quit your job and are tasked by the universe with the role of landing your first freelance client. Feelings of panic, stress, self-doubt are probably setting in. A feeling I have become very familiar with in my freelance career.
But worry not! I have done the stressful work for you and compiled a list of strategies for getting in touch with your future client. And the best part, it doesn’t have to be scary and complicated, and you don’t need fancy marketing or sales funnels to do it.
JOIN FREELANCE FACEBOOK GROUPS
Perhaps one of the most successful strategies I’ve used for sourcing clients are Facebook Groups. There are so many different types of groups out there freelancers can use as a prospecting resource. Plus, it’s a great way to connect with others in the industry!
Start with a wide net and search general Freelance groups first, then niche down and look for specific groups that post jobs about your service (copy-writing, graphic design, web development, etc.).
Once you’ve joined the group, get active with it’s members! Comment and like posts so that future announcements – and potential job listings – will start to populate on your home feed. A lot of these posts get a ton of resumes and comments quickly, so check in regularly if you’re eager for work.
You can also utilize the search feature in groups. Look up terms such as “opportunity” or “hiring” in these groups and see what posts come up. Sometimes even older posts don’t fill a position quickly, so shoot your shot and send over a resume and case study.
FRIENDS & FAMILY
Sometimes your next client is a lot closer than you think! If you’re just starting out in your freelance business, make sure you are clear on what services you offer. Once that is defined, get out there and talk about it!
The biggest tip for informing your friends and family that you are taking on freelance clients is to not over-sell yourself. Instead of directly asking if someone needs your services, tell them what you do and ask if they know anyone needing these tasks done. If they need the service themselves, they’ll be much more open to telling you, or they may have a friend who is looking instead.
It takes a few mentions for people to really start understanding what you do. Hell, I worked in social media management for years before it started to click for my friends and family. Now I have people who reach out and refer me all the time! Stick with it and don’t be afraid to bring up your freelance work in conversations. Brag on yourself, and it might just land you your first freelance client!
UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
The way the LinkedIn algorithm works is different than other social media platforms. One of the things they heavily push is special occasions such as new jobs, promotions, added skills, etc.
Changing your job title to include your freelancing services and adding a job position as a freelancer will push your page onto the news feeds and notifications of your connections. Chances are, someone will see it who’s in need of your services. At the very minimum, they will now know you provide that service and may think of you down the road for a project.
It’s a simple, quick task that will do the work for you! Plus, it will build your confidence by putting it out into the world that you’re a freelancer.
CREATIVE CIRCLE / RECRUITING SERVICES
There are a ton of gig recruiting services out there to sign up on, but they’re always the best fit for all freelancers.
Fivver and UpWork are platforms where freelancers can make a profile and apply to job postings other businesses post. They have gigs that range from copy-writing to graphic design, social media marketing and much more. But in my experience, it’s not the best place to source quality retainer clients.
If you are looking for copy-writing jobs, or simple logo designs, these options could be a good fit for you. For anything longer-term, I highly suggest avoiding them.
A good alternative is Creative Circle – a staffing agency that works to create job placements for creatives. It is a much longer and more thorough process than some of the other quick-fix websites, but you get a team of recruiters who really know your interests. After they interview you and get your work preferences, you’ll begin to receive job listings in your email. They offer freelance, part-time, and even full-time gigs at a variety of companies.
ANYONE COULD BE YOUR FIRST FREELANCE CLIENT
At the end of the day, you don’t know who needs your services until you ask.
Next time you go to a cafe or restaurant, chat with the manager and see who is doing their creative. Whenever you’re out and about, network with new people and tell them what you do. Who knows, maybe your first freelance client is the person behind you in the Starbucks line!
Be confident in the work you do and express that you’re open to new opportunities in every conversation! Avoid being too eager and don’t give up at your first “no”. Over time, people will understand who you are and what you offer, and before you know it, you’ll have clients lining up to work with you.
GOOD LUCK! You got this. (;