47 ideas to help you find freelance clients
Love more freelance clients but don’t know how to find them? Here are 47 ideas to help you.
We recently asked our freelance readers about their experiences as freelancers – their successes, their struggles and, most importantly of all, their advice.
One of the questions we were keen to ask, was how they found clients. From their brilliant answers, we have put together 47 quick ideas for you.
But first, we need to highlight the two answers that came up the most frequently. It’s no surprise to us that they were the most-recommended, as they’re probably the two most important.
So what were they? Networking and word of mouth referrals. They’re so vital to building a successful freelance career that, before we list all 47 ideas, we want to share some advice for you on both.
The most successful freelancers are great networkers
The most successful freelancers appear to be those who proactively get out there to meet people who maybe clients (or know someone who may need their services). Aka ‘networking’.
That doesn’t mean they’re actively touting for work. Or are pushing a full-on sales pitch. But rather they’re building genuine relationships with people, finding out how they can help them, and mentioning what they do when relevant.
It’s from these organic relationships that the seeds of a fruitful, long term freelance career are sewn. So if you’re not already doing so, start networking. Look for opportunities to meet other business owners – whether or not they appear to be immediately useful for you or not.
And avoid giving anyone the hard sell. Instead ask the time to get to know them and their business, and if you can be helpful with advice or connections, then do. Focus on building relationships, not getting clients.
Trust us, if you do this then the clients will come as you’ll build a reputation as being knowledgeable, helpful and professional, and people will want to return your help by recommending you to people they know who may need you.
If you can actually speak at networking events, even better as you’ll compound your networking with being seen as an expert in your niche.
Make sure every job is your best work
The second tip that came up frequently was word of mouth recommendations. And to an extent, these are beyond your control. After all, there’s little you can do to make someone remember and talk abbot you if you’re not there.
But in fact there is a lot you can do to ensure you build your word of mouth referrals: and that’s consistently dong amazing work. It’s also being a professional freelancer who is pleasant and easy to work with.
When I was a freelance copywriter, I saw my role as not to come up with creative ideas and write great copy for my clients, but to take a problem away from them.
As such, I made sure I started with a clear brief, and if I didn’t understand anything I’d ask at the outset. This way, I could be sure that the work I was producing would achieve their aims.
I also wouldn’t hassle them with questions, and if I had a problem, I would deal with it professionally. It doesn’t matter how difficult a client may have been, I was always polite and helpful – and never rude.
This kind of consistent professionalism goes a long way. It means that clients are keen to use you again. And just as importantly, they were happy to recommend your services, and put their name and reputation to your skills.
So if you too ant to build your word of mouth referrals as a freelancer, make sure you approach every job with consummate professionalism, and leave a happy client who is keen to re-hire and recommend you.
47 ideas to help you find freelance clients
So what are the 47 ideas that our readers shared with us? Here are all 47 below. Go through the list and see how many you’re already using. Are there any new ones you could try?
- Word of mouth.
- Be present on social media, and always carry business cards.
- Be honest from the off, if I can’t do something I’ll say.
- Creating an amazing website.
- Meeting people in person at events and exhibitions.
- Doing a brilliant job so others recommend me.
- Networking, on and off line.
- Cold calling.
- Facebook groups.
- Providing useful blog posts.
- Talking to people and making sure I’m seen.
- Leveraging existing relationships
- Networking without the specific purpose of finding clients – get to know people and help them out.
- Head to freelancer websites and promote your skills and expertise there.
- Apply for more jobs than you can handle as likely to get at least one.
- A well-written, well-targeted website and content marketing.
- Making sure my services are listed clearly on social media.
- Proactively asking for reviews and recommendations.
- Talk a lot to your friends about what you are doing, as you never know how many useful contacts they have.
- Drive rounds.
- Use a small range of trusted agents but also use direct sourcing via a range of search sites and LinkedIn.
- Looking at opportunities online.
- Getting myself out there. Posting on social media, blogging, guest blogging, connecting with other business and reaching out to them to tell them about myself.
- Awareness – SEO, email marketing, social media, and referral.
- Showcasing my work and ideas as a thought leader and change maker.
- Exploiting existing networks and working with other freelancers.
- Going to visit them, making the first move.
- Just by being kind I attract more and more people who need my services.
- Recruitment companies.
- Telling everyone what I’m doing and who my ideal clients are. That includes networking, but also telling my accountant, my friends, and anyone else!
- Referrals from past work, past colleagues.
- Podcasts and virtual summits.
- Pitching to potential clients every day so it becomes a habit, instead of a scary big deal, and keeping separate ‘to pitch to’ and ‘ideas’ lists.
- Have a really solid online presence and reach out to local businesses who have a poor social media reach.
- Be great at what you do and people will always recommend you.
- Pitching to businesses that aren’t aware they need me yet!
- Public speaking.
- Use every interaction as a networking opportunity – talk to people!
- Being visible and authentic.
- Learn, meet and share with like-minded people, and they effectively become ambassadors for you.
Ready to make freelancing easier?
If you’re serious about making a go of freelancing, and would love help with pricing your services, winning new clients, keeping clients happy, getting paid and feeling confident you’re covered legally, we recommend investing in the Freelance Toolkit.
And to celebrate freelance month, we’re offering the Toolkit at the launch price of just £149. This includes lifetime access to all the templates, videos, advice and tools within it.
Given the value of the content you get, if you use it properly we fully expect you to make back the cost of the Toolkit and MUCH more very quickly.
Indeed, if you’re serious about succeeding as a freelancer, this could be one of the most valuable investments you’ll ever make.