Whether just starting out as a freelancer or looking to build a client base and diversify your skills, you need to know how to find clients. Clients expect that you’re experienced, confident, and can help them solve their problems, but how do you prove that?
Finding clients is all about investing time in your freelance business. Here are a few tips that can help you stand out in the crowd.
1. Build a Portfolio
If you’re new to freelancing, develop a few samples for your portfolio. Obviously, free work won’t pay the bills, but when moving into a new niche or trying to get your foot in the door, having samples is a must. Prove you can create quality content by creating a sample you admire, like a landing page for an imaginary business or a blog post.
After you’ve got some content to share, use social media and a portfolio website (there are many free ones, such as JournoPortfolio, to showcase your talents. Optimizing these pages with frequent posts, hashtags, and SEO efforts can drive traffic toward your site/pages to ensure you get noticed.
Remember, your portfolio is proof of what you can do. If you’re advertising yourself as an editor, make sure the grammar is perfect! If you do graphic design, create a web page as another sample for your body of work.
2. Use (and Grow) Your Network
The cardinal rule of networking is: don’t be afraid to use your network. Let people know that you started a freelance business and ask them if they need help, or know someone who does. You might be surprised what you can find.
If your network doesn’t turn up any leads for freelance work, you can also ask for client testimonials or references, which can help you in the job hunt. Add client testimonials to your portfolio and LinkedIn (they’re called recommendations) to stand out among competitors.
To grow your network, find out where people hang out, and go there. Online networking events, conferences, and social media groups are all great places to find clients.
3. Keep Your Eyes Open
When you first start out, it’s unlikely that freelance work will just fall into your lap. So, do the following:
- Keep an eye out for posts on social media
- Participate in online groups related to your niche
- Subscribe to email newsletters that share job leads
- Check out freelance job boards
- Frequently browse job listings
- Try to land work (even if on the cheap) on gig websites like FlexJobs and Upwork
4. Prove Your Worth
Clients are looking for you to help them solve a problem, so show them that you can. Have ideas for a company you’ve been following? Email them and offer your take on their existing products. Sharing ideas and demonstrating a proactive approach can make a huge difference as you build your client base.
And when you do get clients, prove to them that you care about meeting their needs. Ask for feedback and listen to their opinions. After all, keeping clients is just as important to your freelance business as getting them in the first place.