Perhaps the most daunting task for beginner freelancers is finding your first client.
Even if you’ve narrowed down your niche and identified your ideal client, it doesn’t eliminate the nerves and doubt that come with putting yourself out there – no matter how prepared you are.
That’s why I’ve put together some of the key strategies on how to find freelance clients – all of which helped me immensely when I was first starting out. These are simple yet effective tactics that will get you your first client, so let’s get right into it.
Start with Your Immediate Network
No one will support and vouch for you more than your friends and family, so why not use that to your advantage?
Reach out to your parents, your college roommate, your aunts and uncles, your family friends – ANYONE who knows you as a person – and let them know that you are trying to find freelance clients. Tell them about your services and who you would be able to help, and see if they have any leads. You never know who someone has a connection with, and their personal relationship with you will make them a valuable testimonial to any potential clients. This is how I got my first freelance job – a family member connected me with a couple who owns a small retail business. I ended up curating and managing their social media pages and weekly newsletter for a year!
Additionally, if you happen to have a personal connection with any local businesses (maybe you’re a loyal customer or have a friend who started their own company), consider reaching out and asking them if they need assistance. Be as genuine as possible, especially if you know them well!
Utilize Professional Contacts
The next step to find freelance clients is by tapping into your professional network. Examples of people within your professional network might be:
- Previous co-workers and/ or employers
- People you met at networking events
- Alumni from your university
If you have a good relationship with someone in the professional world, send them a quick email or LinkedIn message letting them know what you’re up to. Again, don’t make it sound like you’re pitching to them, but do express that you are actively seeking clients and would love any leads they may have.
Additionally, if you are in college or are a recent graduate, set up a meeting with your school’s career center to let them know what you’re doing. I got one of my biggest clients through a referral from my career counselor – if I hadn’t told him about my freelancing business, he would never have reached out to me. You’d be surprised what might happen by utilizing your alma mater!
Find Freelance Clients on Social Media
Social media is your best friend when it comes to spreading the word about your freelance business. There are a few things you should do ASAP in order to find your first freelance client.
The first thing is to make sure your bio/ description on all your platforms, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, clearly state that you are a freelancer actively seeking work. Be sure to provide a link to your portfolio if you have one and describe the services you offer.
The next tip to find freelance clients on social media is posting about your freelance services EVERYWHERE. Not just on LinkedIn, but also on Facebook and Instagram. This goes back to utilizing your personal network – while it might be awkward to put yourself out there on your personal platforms, this will give you a greater chance of finding a mutual connection with a family friend. Make a simple post describing your new endeavor and include who you can help and what services you can provide.
Now your efforts won’t stop at a simple social media post; you’re going to have to do some digging yourself. Something that got me a few of my first clients was to go on LinkedIn and find alumni from my university who are either freelancing OR own their own business.
That commonality between you two will make them much more likely to help you in any way they can, whether that be offering advice, referring you to a professional contact, or even hiring you themself.
Find Freelance Jobs in Facebook and LinkedIn Groups
Another strategic way to find freelance clients on social media is by joining Facebook and LinkedIn groups. This is a fantastic way to find short-term gigs that could lead to long-term clients. Research and join Facebook and LinkedIn groups within your niche as well as general freelancing and remote work groups. Often times, people will post job opportunities exclusively in these groups and tell you to reach out to them if you are interested. Joining private groups provides you with opportunities that you would have never found otherwise, and it also helps you make more professional connections with other freelancers in your industry.
Already found some potential clients? Download the FREE Freelance Proposal Blueprint to help you win the job!
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