Freelancing is a great way to work from anywhere. If you are someone who wants to kick your cubicle to the curb or wants to be a digital nomad, then freelancing is most certainly the right choice for you.
While freelancing offers amazing benefits such as flexible work hours, freedom to decide how much to charge and whom to work with, it also poses its own challenges. In this crowded marketplace, the first challenge a new freelancer faces is figuring out how to land his/her first client.
Whether you are a web designer, content writer, or a graphic designer, starting as a freelancer on some days can feel like wandering through a desert waiting for an oasis to magically appear.
We aren’t sure about the magic, but we do have some proven strategies that’ll help you land your first freelance client!
6 Ways of Landing your First Freelance Client
Do you have an online presence? And no, we aren’t talking about having 10K followers on Instagram!
Being a freelancer, you must be seen by your potential clients. So your online presence refers to being present in digital spaces where you are connecting with people who will hopefully become prospects.
Having an online presence also helps with building your personal brand. In this highly competitive market (In the next few years, 50% of America’s workforce is set to be freelance), freelancers are doing everything possible to stand out from the rest. This is where your online presence as a freelancer can enhance your personal brand.
One way of being present online is by creating a website where you showcase your services, work, and achievements. You could even get testimonials from previous clients and display them on your website. This helps in creating a trustworthy atmosphere for clients to contact you and offer work. You can see some of the best portfolios here.
If you don’t want to build a website, then you can go to LinkedIn and create a profile. LinkedIn is one of the best ways to find your first freelance client. Ensure you select “Open to new opportunities” and keep your profile up to date. Add a professional-looking picture, a clear career objective, and add any relevant information that you feel may help attract new clients.
When you start as a freelancer, you might not have a huge network. But the reap of a solid online and personal network you are building on could be enormous. Strong relationships can help you increase the odds of you landing your first client.
You can network by making some friends in your niche – Connect with successful freelancers. Engage with them on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. You could even try emailing them to let them know that you are new to the freelancing community and would love to get to know them better. Make sure to include links to your website/LinkedIn profile or any other portfolio that you may have.
Collaborating with established freelancers will allow you to build your portfolio and also get your name out fast. It helps in growing your network and visibility among prospective clients.
Points to remember if you want to collaborate with other freelancers are –
- Research and learn about them. Check online if they have a portfolio and see if their work resonates with your interests and expertise.
- Ask them if they would be interested in hosting a webinar with you. Webinars are an effective way of interacting with potential clients and gaining exposure.
- Check if they have a blog and if you can guest post for them, for free. In return, you could ask for a backlink to your website or feedback/testimonial.
Collaborating with experts is one of the smartest things you can do if you are just starting out as a freelancer.
Outreach is when you contact businesses and pitch your services to them. You can get their email address and send them a cold email or send a short, to-the-point message on LinkedIn.
Research your prospective clients’ business well and see how you can offer value. Tweak your proposal a little bit to suit the needs of the client. Never pitch the same idea to all the clients, because they all have different requirements!
Not everyone may respond to your messages, but this shouldn’t stop you from reaching out to as many people as possible. Send gentle follow-up emails if you haven’t heard back from them and make sure you don’t come across as needy and desperate!
If you want to build your portfolio before sending out proposals to clients, you could sign up with freelance websites to land a few first gigs. Top sites for finding freelance work are Upwork, Freelancer.com, Fiverr, etc. Once you complete a job, request for a testimonial and add it to your website.
You may not be able to build a sustainable career through these freelance websites unless you are experienced, but it’s a great starting ground.
Note: Check out Remote Global’s Job Board for the latest freelance opportunities.
If you think Facebook is dead, think again! Facebook’s organic reach may have plummeted in recent months, but Facebook groups are becoming highly popular! If you want to engage with people from your niche, then consider joining 5-10 Facebook groups. Choose groups where potential clients hang out. Be active in the group by answering questions and add value to the group. Some Facebook groups have job postings where you can directly interact with business owners and apply for any freelance vacancies.
Make sure you keep your bio page up to date and don’t forget to add links that lead to your website/portfolio.
If you are just starting as a freelancer, to save time and make your job easy, make use of digital tools that’ll help you with creating proposals, managing time, project management, bookkeeping, self-organization, etc.