The main benefit of being a freelancer is that you can do what you love and take care of your family at the same time. You get to make your schedule, pick and choose how much you take on, and live life with the flexibility that comes with pitching in whenever you feel like it– all while getting paid!
The only downside is figuring out how to get those freelance clients and projects.
I have 5 tips for getting your first freelance client. These are tried-and-true methods that have been used to land those first few gigs as freelancers. If you’re looking for some help starting out as a freelancer or if you’re more established and you’re just looking for new ideas keeep reading.
Create an online portfolio
You want to have some work that you can use to show potential clients what you are capable of. This will be a great way for them to get a feel of the types of projects you excel at. You can show off your skills, which would ultimately demonstrate how you can help their business. This doesn’t need to be a big, fancy, expensive website. It can be simple like a portfolio site or something on a free blogging platform. The point is to be able to not just tell, but also show.
Word of mouth
Lean on your network, personal, professional, and otherwise. If any of them are in need of your services, there you go, you’ve got your first client. But even if they are not, they may know someone who needs exactly what you provide. Former employers, friends on social media, the barista at the coffee shop are all possibilities. Word of mouth can travel quickly, and at the very least you get to practice talking about yourself and your business and improving your pitch. Tell all the people!
Online Freelance Job Sites
Online job sites like Freelancer, Upwork, or Fiverr are an option. They’ve gotten a bad reputation over the years, but if you’re just starting out and don’t have much experience working with clients, and don’t have much of a portfolio of work, it can work. There’s a pool of people ready to buy on them. Now it might not be the best paying work, or the easiest place to win bids, it can give you the opportunity to build a portfolio to show off for future (better) work.
You can also use your blog or social media platforms as another way to showcase your skills– some potential clients may stumble on your work without realizing it! Social media plays another important role. If you post on your feed regularly, you can begin to build trust with people or companies you’d love to work with. You can get to know other freelancers and develop a network, with people who might refer work to you once they know you.
Now I know some people shudder at the idea of this. But cold outreach still works whether it’s by phone, email, or dm. Do a bit of research, and find some people or businesses that could benefit from what you do. Then cold pitch them. You can also reach out to companies you admire and offer your services. If it’s in the very beginning you can even do it for free or at a discounted rate in exchange for feedback on how you can improve your work and build that portfolio.
If you’re a freelancer or solopreneur, then your main goal is to find that first client and start earning money as quickly as possible. The best way to do this? Create an online portfolio so potential clients can see what types of projects you excel at. You should also network with people in the industry who may refer work your way once they know how good you are– all while practicing talking about yourself and pitching for new opportunities!
If you’re looking for even more tips for getting freelance clients, check out my Get Freelance Clients Without Feeling Salesy mini-course.