You are finally done with your 9-to-5 grind and are ready to take your shot at freelancing. Or you are probably in college, looking to make some income on the side through freelancing.
Either way, freelancing would be one of the best decisions you make in your career.
But, the reason why most people give up freelancing too quickly or hesitate to try it out in the first place is because they get intimidated by the process of finding clients.
Not just any clients, but those you know will be willing to pay the price that you quote.
If pricing your freelance services poses a challenge, our upcoming article is for you. Gain the confidence to set competitive rates and prepare to thrive in your business.
In this post, you’ll find not 1 or 2, but 18 different strategies to find clients as a freelancer. These strategies can be used by both beginners and experienced freelancers.
So, let’s dig deep into each of these tactics and learn how and when you should use them.
1. Understand your Client’s Needs Inside Out
Most freelancers, during the start of their journey, make the biggest mistake of not understanding their client’s needs.
As a freelancer, you are more valuable and rare when you solve your client’s pain points.
To attract clients, you need to understand what they want, what they need, and how your services can solve their problems.
You can start by defining your ideal client. This could be a local small business, a startup, or a busy corporate executive.
Once you’ve got that down, figure out what makes them tick.
What challenges are they facing? What goals are they trying to achieve? Don’t just skim the surface, you must dig deep to understand the nitty-gritty of their needs.
Then, tailor your services to meet these needs. For instance, if your ideal client is a startup looking for brand visibility, offer comprehensive marketing services that promise to put their brand on the map.
2. Define your Offer and USP
Now that you’re clued up on your client’s needs, it’s time to spotlight what you bring to the table.
But, you don’t want to blend into the crowd. You need a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that sets you apart from your competitors.
Your USP is what makes your offer unique and more valuable to your clients. And ultimately, it is why clients should choose you over anyone else.
Your USP could be anything that makes your offer more desirable. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something your clients need and value.
Then, package this skill or service into an offer that’s irresistible. And, make sure to share an estimate that your offer truly deserves.
3. Create a Portfolio Website
Alright, you’ve nailed down your client’s needs and your unique offer. Now, it’s the time to showcase your work! You can do this by creating a portfolio website.
Your portfolio website could be a one-page simple website. Or, you could have a multi-page website with a landing page, a portfolio page, and a niche blog where you showcase your expertise.
Your portfolio should showcase your best work, whether it’s graphic design projects, writing samples, or successful marketing campaigns.
You can add links to your portfolio site in your social media bios and email signatures. You can also try optimizing your website for Search Engine Optimization (SEO.)
This will help you land on the first page of Google when people are searching for services that you offer.
4. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
When you are starting out as a freelancer, social media is going to be your best bet for getting attention from clients.
Potential clients will probably find you via social media. And when they do, they will scope out your social media profiles before making a decision. So, make sure they like what they see!
First things first, make sure your profiles reflect your brand and your services. That means a professional profile picture, a bio that showcases your skills and USP, and content that adds value to your followers.
Another important aspect is to add links to your portfolio/samples from your social media bios. This way it is easy for clients to contact you and make a decision.
For professional insights on promoting yourself online as a freelancer, don’t miss our upcoming article. Elevate your freelance career with our expert guidance!
5. Reach Out to Your Network
When you are just starting out and you have no clients, it seems like an impossible task to find your first client. During this time, your network comes to rescue.
Who knows? Your network can be a goldmine of potential clients. The only easiest way to find out is to reach out to your network.
This could be your friends, former colleagues, or social media followers– you never know who might need your services. Let them know what you’re up to and what services you’re offering. And don’t forget to ask if they know anyone else who might be interested.
6. Simplify Your Invoicing Process
Alright, this might not seem like a client-attracting strategy. But trust me, making your invoicing process easy peasy is a huge win for clients. No one likes to deal with complicated invoices or payment processes. They’re a headache. So, offer a pain-free solution!
Consider using an online invoicing tool like Billdu. It’s user-friendly and allows you to create professional invoices in a snap. Plus, it streamlines the payment process – clients can pay directly through the platform.
7. Post Content Every Day to Get Inbound Leads
Posting valuable content consistently may seem like a daunting task. But only if you put yourself out there, will you have some inbound clients knocking at your door.
The key is to post useful content every day. You can offer tips, tricks, industry insights, or helpful advice. You can also talk about case studies and results you have gotten for other clients.
Try experimenting with different platforms such as blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc. A quick tip here would be to repurpose one piece of content for different platforms so that the time and effort you put in is minimized.
8. Use Cold Email Outreach
Cold emailing is a classic, tried-and-true method that involves reaching out to potential clients directly via emails, introducing your services, and showing them what you can do.
But let’s be clear – you’re not blasting out generic emails here. To get results, you need to tailor each email specifically to the recipient.
So before you send out cold emails, do your research. Find out what their pain points are, and then show them how your services can help solve them.
When you send personalized cold emails to prospects who are in need of your services, it becomes the best strategy for sales outreach.
Should you encounter a client who has overlooked payment, a tactful late payment email can be invaluable. Stay tuned for our next article, where we’ll provide guidance on crafting effective late payment email.
When it comes to networking and finding potential clients, LinkedIn is your secret weapon. And the Sales Navigator feature by LinkedIn is specifically designed for sales outreach.
The Sales Navigator helps you pinpoint potential clients by filtering your search based on industry, job role, location, and more. It also allows you to save leads and stay updated with sales insights.
You can then export the saved leads from Sales Navigator and use it for your cold email outreach.
Remember, blasting out generic, copy-pasted messages won’t get you far. Tailor your outreach, make your approach personalized, and show your prospective clients that you’re not just any freelancer – you’re the solution to their problems.
10. Find Remote Positions on Job Boards
Most people don’t know this, but job boards are one of the best places where you can find high-paying freelance gigs. How? All you’ve got to do is to look for remote positions.
You can go to any of the major job boards or marketplaces and search for jobs that are hiring for remote positions. In some cases, they’d mention that they are open to freelancers.
If not, you can always reach out to the person who has posted the job and check if they are open to freelance hires. Quick and easy, right?
11. Help People Out in Facebook Groups
Believe it or not, Facebook is not dead yet. At least not for people who are still networking in Facebook groups about their work.
Facebook groups are brimming with people looking for help, advice, and solutions. And guess who’s got the solutions? That’s right—you!
So go ahead, find and join groups that resonate with your field. Participate actively. Offer advice, share your insights, and help people out. Remember, it’s not about selling yourself directly, but establishing yourself as an expert in your field.
12. Make Use of Freelance Marketplaces
Freelance marketplaces get mixed opinions in the freelance community. However, they are a great place to kickstart your freelancing career when you are not sure about how to go about the whole process.
Sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr can be your ticket to a steady stream of clients. They’re bustling with clients looking for the perfect freelancer to solve their problems.
13. Answer Queries on Reddit, Quora, Twitter
When prospective clients come to you looking for help, they are called inbound leads. When starting their freelancing career, most people think getting a steady stream of inbound leads is difficult.
But what if I told you there was an easy way, even if you have no experience, results, or testimonials? Sounds great right? All this is possible by being active on platforms like Reddit, Quora, and Twitter.
Just like Facebook groups, these platforms are overflowing with queries and discussions related to your field. All you have to do is spare some time each day and answer people’s questions.
Jump in, provide helpful responses, and showcase your expertise. The aim isn’t to push your services, but rather to build your reputation as a thought leader.
14. Partner with Agencies to White Label Your Services
To put it simply, white labeling is when you do the work, and the agency puts their name on it. The downside is that the agency takes a cut from the profits.
But the upside? You don’t have to go looking for clients, you don’t have to go on sales calls or deal with the clients directly.
It’s a win-win. The agency gets top-notch services to offer their clients, and you get steady work without the stress of client acquisition.
15. Gather Reviews, Testimonials, and Case Studies
There’s nothing like a good word from a happy client to get the ball rolling. It’s like getting a gold star on your report card!
Reviews and testimonials work wonders for your credibility. They show potential clients that you’re not just all talk. But don’t just wait for them to roll in, be proactive. Ask your clients for feedback. Have them share their experience working with you.
Got a project you’re particularly proud of? Turn it into a case study! It’s a powerful tool that demonstrates your process and the results you’ve achieved.
16. Automate Your Lead Generation
As you expand your freelancing business, your operations and invoicing process would be streamlined.
And you may want to set processes in place that will help you generate a steady stream of leads each month or quarter. This is where automation of lead generation comes into picture.
Outbound lead generation is a proactive approach to acquiring new business by initiating contact with potential customers, rather than waiting for them to come to you. It involves identifying and targeting potential clients through various channels such as phone calls, emails, and social media outreach. In today’s digital age, automating outbound lead generation is a smart move for businesses looking to save time, reduce costs, and maximize their reach.
You can start by investing in tools that automate the lead gen process. These tools will help you scout potential clients, track their activities, and even nurture them till they’re ready to convert.
You’ll save precious hours and be able to focus on what you do best—working your magic for clients.
It’s beneficial to explore additional automation tools that can propel your freelance career to the next level.
17. Start Building Your Team
It’s a great feeling to be your own boss, but at some point, you might find yourself thinking, “I can’t do this alone.” And guess what? You don’t have to.
Building a team isn’t just about increasing manpower—it’s about multiplying your capabilities. Got a weak spot in your skillset? Hire someone who shines in that area.
Drowning in administrative tasks? Bring in a virtual assistant and boost your efficiency in other areas of the business.
While hiring your team, you should start looking at the places where you were looking for clients while starting out. These could be freelance marketplaces, social media. Reddit, Facebook groups, or your network.
18. Try Paid Ads
Once you hit $5k or $10k months as a freelancer, you can start thinking about investing in paid ads for lead generation. Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads can put you right in front of your target audience.
All you need is an engaging ad and a well-defined customer persona. Sure, it might seem like a shot in the dark at first, but with enough tweaking and testing, it could be a game changer. For example, if you’re a life coach looking to grow your business with ads, you can start a video engagement ad to get views from your potential clients.
And that’s it! Now you have a whole new set of tools to help you start securing clients as a freelancer.
Try picking a few of the strategies mentioned above and experimenting with them. Chances are some may work really well for you, while some may not. You’ll know only when you give it a try.
For more practical advice, dive into our article on how to manage your finances as a freelancer.
So, it’s your turn now. Implement these strategies to land high-paying clients as a freelancer and let us know which techniques worked best for you.
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