How to Get Freelance Clients (7 Ideas That Work in 2020)

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Learning how to get freelance clients on a regular basis can be tough.

As a freelancer, you’re kind of in it on your own. Yes, you have wonderful community support from organizations online and local freelance groups, but much of your success in learning how to get freelance clients is determined by your own efforts.

Even if business is booming, it’s important you have a strategy for getting freelance clients on a regular basis, or retaining your current base. Getting new freelance clients is especially important if your chosen type of freelance work isn’t conducive to repeat clients and you instead are continually starting over fresh each time (logo designers are good example of this).

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Therefore, it’s crucial to focus on how to get freelance clients in order to maximize your business potential. So today’s article will identify some of our top strategies for anyone wanting to learn how to get freelance clients right away.

Here’s how to get freelance clients right now:

The following examples are fairly simple, affordable ways to promote your freelance business and get freelance clients. You don’t have to use all of these when promoting yourself, just the ones that fit your needs. Choose a few to start with and find the mix that works best for your business.

1. Leverage freelance job boards to find new clients

One of the most straightforward places you can get freelance clients are through online freelance job boards. Plenty of companies know they want a freelancer for an upcoming project, and will list roles on sites specifically geared toward freelancers.

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Here are some of the best freelance job sites for beginners to help you get started finding freelance clients right away:

Solidgigs

The team at SolidGigs reviews thousands of freelance jobs every week and posts only the top 1-2% of jobs to their daily job board. You click here to try SolidGigs now.

Flexjobs

Flexjobs is a platform that helps freelancers find professional jobs, with flexible options. The site screens all the roles it posts, ensuring freelancers have a lower chance of getting involved with illegitimate roles. Flexjobs is about empowering the freelancer to find the right gig for them. You can try Flexjobs using this link.

Upwork

Upwork is one of the most well-known freelance platforms there are. It has opportunities for every industry: design, writing, admin support, and more. Upwork also boasts the ability for users to grow their businesses through the platform, which makes it great for anyone trying to find new clientele. If you enjoy marketplaces, there are lots of sites like Upwork that might be a good fit for you.

Fiverr

Fiverr helps freelancers find jobs in graphics and design, digital marketing, video and animation, programming and tech, and more. All jobs are listed with a fixed rate, as opposed to hourly. Instead of vying for jobs on Fiverr, freelancers market themselves and then have clients hire them for work. You can try Fiverr here.

People per Hour

People per Hour is used by more than 900 thousand businesses, and more than two million freelancers. As a freelancer, reviews on your profile from past clients will help new clients find and hire you. You’re able to post the projects you want to do, and have interested clients pick up your work.

2. Utilize social media to get freelance clients

Add Value on Facebook

Facebook has become a hub for small businesses in recent years. And while organic reach of Facebook pages has hit all-time lows, Facebook still boasts one of the most robust advertising platforms (run ads directly to the kind of clients you want to get) and has an amazing collection of groups (try joining groups in the industry you’re targeting).

Show Visuals on Instagram

Depending on the type of freelance work you do, you might find certain platforms easier to use than others.

Instead of Facebook, Freelancer photographers might prefer Instagram due to its highly visual nature. Utilize hashtags and network with other creatives to generate word-of-mouth marketing and connect with potential new clients.

Network on Linkedin

Linkedin has always been a great tool for networking with people in your industry or getting a job. But in recent years, Linkedin has become an incredible source for freelancers who are trying to learn how to get freelance clients. With Linkedin Jobs, finding freelance clients on Linkedin has never been easier.

3. Get freelance clients through networking

Networking is an intimidating word that basically means meeting people and forming valuable connections. When you put it that way, it’s super simple. As former Disney designer Amy Kuo learned when she joined our podcast to learn how to get freelance clients, networking is primarily about being yourself. Have a listen for more:

Here are some ways you can get freelance clients through networking.

Look into joining a co-working space

It’s hard to get clients through networking when you’re sitting at home on your computer all day. As a freelancer, you might consider joining a co-working space.

Co-working spaces are essentially office spaces made up of a hodge-podge of employees from all different organizations.

You can rent a particular desk or office, or you can pay just to have a place to go for coffee and conversation. Either way, be sure to talk to those around you.

Even if they don’t need your services, they may know someone who does. Strong relationships can help increase the odds that others will hire you for a job before turning to the wild west of the world wide web.

Attend local events

If you live in a major metropolitan area (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, etc.) then networking events are not hard to come by.

Companies hold these events to garner good press, or appeal to professionals who may want to join their team. As a freelancer, you should certainly be seeking out events like this in your area so you can go and make connections.

Even if you live in a smaller town, these types of events exist, just on a smaller scale. Get your business cards updated and get ready to go shake a few hands and talk a lot of shop.

Add value in forums

If meeting people in-person isn’t your thing, you could consider networking online. One way to do this is by joining forums or online groups that may house relevant.

You have to be careful about this, because lots of forums (such as Reddit and Quora) outlaw outright business promotion.

But you could join these forums as a knowledgeable participant, and answer any questions people might have.

For example, a freelance photographer might join a Facebook group entitled “Moms of Chicago,” and then comment on posts where users ask for photographer recommendations. Much like networking, it’s about being in the right place (the Facebook group) at the right time.

4. Use email marketing to get freelance clients

One way to promote your freelance business is to get into the inboxes of future clients. These owned media channels are crucial because you don’t have to rely on things like organic search or social media guidelines to reach your target audiences.

A simple first step toward building your own community is by using a pop-up builder to create a notification on your site that prompts visitors to enter their email for a perk, such as a discount or downloadable asset. This is a great way to build up your email list without much work.

You can also collect emails at local networking events (more on that later) or, in some cities and countries, purchasing a legal email list or using a site like Fiverr to collect email addresses of local businesses may be a good option also.

Be sure to send out regular newsletters to keep potential clients engaged with your brand and stay top-of-mind for future projects. You can do this manually, or with an email marketing solution like ConvertKit or MailChimp.

5. Get listed and encourage reviews

If you want to get freelance clients, your business needs to be searchable on popular websites such as Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc.

Industries will also have their own listing sites. For example, there may be one site to find freelance graphic design jobs, and a different one entirely to hire freelance lawyers. Make sure whichever site you list yourself on has users who are looking for the service you provide.

Once you’re listed on these sites, ask clients to leave reviews outlining their experience in working with you.

One thing to note: as an ethical businessperson, you cannot solicit for solely positive reviews. If you’re going to ask customers for reviews, you have to be prepared for the negative responses that could pop up.

The good news is, negative reviews actually give you an opportunity to accept feedback and improve business. So don’t be afraid of what your clients may say.

6. Create content to get freelance clients

Next on our list of ideas on how to get freelance clients is to use digital promotional materials. Examples of these are personal websites or portfolios, blogs, or having a presence on social media platforms.

Optimize your website portfolio

A personal website is your clients’ way of seeing who you are and what your business has to offer, andhat work have you done in the past. You can display this under a separate tab on your website, along with your rates and testimonials.

Consider blogging (on your own or elsewhere)

Having a blog, and especially a blog that utilizes best SEO practices, is a great way to get discovered by people who might be looking for your services.

While people might not know they’re looking for a social media manager, they might know they’re looking for an answer to the question, “how do I post an Instagram story?”

If you’ve created a blog answering this question, you’ve increased the likelihood of clients who need help coming across your site and therefore your portfolio.

7. Continually improve & practice your pitch

Lastly, let’s discuss your freelance pitch. A pitch in the freelancing world is the message you send a client to introduce yourself and explain why you should be hired.

You can do so over email or in-person if you’ve been asked to come in for an interview or demo.

Email pitch

In an email, you only need to explain a few things to the client: who you are, what you do, and how you plan to help them solve their business problems. It’s helpful to include examples of past work, or a link to your portfolio.

Be sure to personalize the email to the company and show you’re truly interested in helping them solve their problems.

Don’t be afraid to use testimonials from past clients to show how you can get the job done right. If a client is soliciting for pitches, don’t be shy: take this as an opportunity to show why you’re the best choice.

If at first you don’t hear back, follow up and follow up again.

If you’re sending cold email pitches, try using this PDF course to generate an email that will result in massive open and click rates from complete strangers.

In-person pitch

Another way to get freelance clients is to work on your in-person pitch. This can be in the form of a job interview or meet-up outside of the office wherein you present your ideas and work. Prepare for this in the same way you would a regular job interview.

Research the company, understand their pain points, and show you have a well thought-out solution to their problems. Have samples of your work ready to display, and references on hand.

That’s how to get freelance clients

Figuring out how to get freelance clients is something you need to constantly if you want to stay in business. While you may eventually be able to get clients on autopilot or generate more passive income, learning how to get freelance clients is crucial for nearly every freelancer.

Following this advice while staying on top of your work can be made easier with well-chosen project management tools which can help you satisfy your clients to increase customer retention.

Master all this and you’ll be setting yourself up for successful freelancing for years to come. Good luck!


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