In the last two weeks, I've had four new leads come in. Some for ongoing work, some as one-off projects. The consistent thing about them all, and what has been true in all my leads, is uncertainty. With business, it's impossible to know what's going to close, what's not going to, or what's going to linger on indefinitely filling your pipeline. As my mentor shared with me this week, if I was able to figure out what was going to close and what wasn't, I'd be a multi-millionaire because productizing that would be desired by every services business.
Especially in times like now, certainty on more work would always feel good and provide more security. I know I'm not alone in wondering when things will change, when a new client will land, and how this recession will affect me in 2020. I want to share here some of what I remind myself in these trying times, and some of the ways I've been most successful in generating new leads.
Change is the only consistent in life and freelancing
One of the amazing parts of change is that change can be full of hope and optimism. Times might be hard right now, but there's always a possibility that there's something new around the corner. Especially in times of COVID-19, it can be incredibly vulnerable depending on one client as your source of income.
One way we can improve our chances of closing new deals is by sourcing new leads. In my experience, here are a few things that have been most successful:
Networking will always be what I recommend to people who are trying to increase their leads. When in-person events are possible, those are a great way to meet new people and share what you're working on and what you're looking for. Right now, that's not possible, so we have to look for more creativity. Reaching out for virtual coffee chats with people both inside and outside of your network is a great way to start.
I've personally used LinkedIn as a tool to reach out to people that are my second and third-degree connections to ask for a meeting. Creating these connections has been incredibly helpful in learning new information, and meeting new people. One thing that proves true time and time again is that people want to help. So many people are looking for more opportunities to connect and generating that momentum can add so much value to both people's lives.
Two of my four leads in the last couple of weeks have come from posts in Freelancing Groups. Two of my favorites are Freelancing Females, and Freelancing Females California. There are dozens of different Facebook groups out there that are specific to different industries or locations, but I've met some incredibly talented, intelligent, and hardworking women from the groups I mentioned above. Staying up to date with postings and putting time into what you reach out for can be a great way to find new leads. Even if the job doesn't close, you've been able to expand your network and meet new people to stay in touch with.
The last area that I'd recommend is placement organizations. There are starting to be more companies who have the business model of placing talented freelancers with companies. From start-ups to larger organizations, it creates a middle man to vet and source talent. I'm most familiar with TopTal and Right Side Up who cater to different types of talent and have different vetting processes.
Remember as you continue on your journey, you're not alone. These are difficult times, so try every day to do the best you can. Change is never always good or bad, so lean into both and you'll be more likely to weather the storm.