TLDR: Skip to the links at the bottom.
I keep seeing so many posts on various groups asking things like “I want to start freelancing, how do I get clients” or “I’ve been a freelancer for a little while now and I’m struggling to get more clients” This is probably one of the most daunting parts of being a freelancer. There’s no simple way to get more clients or special class you can take that will suddenly break open the floodgates to constant work. Even seasoned professionals and agencies worry about where the next project is coming from. I’ve worked in many small to large shops that have dealt with this in varying forms. Some have even been forced to close because the work dried up. But that’s not what you’re here for. You want clients to begin with. You can worry about losing them later!
So how to grow your client base then? The simple answer: Referrals.
There are many methods and strategies you can employ to get yourself out there and try and land more work but referrals remain one of the strongest. This is because we value and trust what our friends and peers suggest. This goes for connections, products, services, etc. If you’re looking for something, you’ll likely ask around for what people recommend. So why not be the person that other people suggest? Sounds simple and it is but it involves a lot of hard work, consistency, and patience, which is why many take the shortcut and advertise. But with advertising, you’ll have to spend a lot and work hard to convince people to hire you. With referrals, the heavy lifting is already done, you’ll just have to reinforce the recommendation to close the deal.
First off, you have to map out what kind of work you want to be doing and the types of clients you like to work for. Do you like working with small businesses? Sole proprietors? Large companies? Marketing and advertising agencies? The working relationship is very different depending on the type of client you’re pursuing. With small businesses and sole proprietors, expect to do a lot of education and hand-holding about the project you’re pitching and working on. You’ll have to wear multiple hats and essentially be running your own small business. You are the president, account manager, talent, and intern. Working for a larger company usually means you are part of a larger team and have a more defined role and responsibilities.
I’m going to break this down into different pages on each section of advice
How to Position Yourself
Think of this section as why people should refer you…
- Be Really Good
- Be Consistent/Just show up
- Don’t Ghost
- Dress to Impress
- Don’t Take Shortcuts
- Charge What You’re Worth
- Your Website & Portfolio
How to get in front of more people because more people = more referrals.
- Word of Mouth/Wait for the Phone to Ring
- Network Your Ass Off
- Networking & Clubs
- Official Networking Groups
- Specialty Groups
- Staffing Agencies
- Job Boards
More ways to encourage and promote referrals.
- Do Favors for People Often
- Follow the Work
- Do a Bit of Everything
- Form A Business
- Manage Expectations
- 2 Minute Magic
- Pro Bono/Work For Free
- Underpromise & Overdeliver
Happy reading and if you have any questions leave a comment or send me an email.
Thanks for reading.
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