Finding your first freelance client can be a huge challenge. Whether you want to freelance full-time or as a side-hustle, you need a proven method to find clients who will hire you for your services. That might seem really difficult and maybe even overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be if you know the right steps to take.
And, in this post, I’m going to show you what those steps are.
Before we get started, I want to share with you a free resource I created that takes the content in this article and goes much deeper. In fact, I share in detail the steps I’ve used to build my freelance business. The resource is called The Guide To Finding Perfect Clients. I invite you to check it out!
Ok… back to the article.
To find the right clients for your freelance business, you will need to:
- Define Your Ideal Freelance Customer
- Communicate Your Offer
- Open the Door of Opportunity
1. Define Your Ideal Freelance Customer
Freelancing is an awesome way to make a living, but simply wishing for it won’t transport you magically into Narnia. You definitely need a marketable skill, and knowing your craft, service or skill is just the start.
You also need to know who your customer is.
For example, let’s say you’re a website designer. Your perfect client isn’t just “anyone who wants a website.” Instead, you need to dig a little deeper and define your customer specifically.
Do you want to target corporations or small business owners? What does your ideal customer want from their website? Do they want to generate more leads, share information or sell a product? What kind of ROI (return on investment) do they desire?
Here are a few simple questions to help you start to define your ideal customer.
- What is their basic gender, age?
- What is their income level/lifestyle like?
- What are their fears/frustrations?
- What are their likes/dislikes?
- Where can you find them/where do they gather?
- What objections/apprehensions could they have?
- Will they pay for your type of service?
- Do they have the resources to pay a good price for your service?
Knowing your audience will boost your freelance business.
For example, a web developer I know taught himself coding and web design after his tour of duty with the armed forces. He figured his background set him apart from other web developers. So instead of trying to reach masses of people, he focused his freelance efforts on creating websites for veteran-owned businesses.
Focusing on this small niche was a smart move. He already knew what this group of people wanted. He knew how they worked. They trusted him. It was easier for him to reach out to them, rather than compete with the thousands of other web developers on freelancing sites. By targeting the right audience, he eliminated most competition. And, he became a big fish in a little pond rather than a little fish in a big pond. You can do the same.
Define your ideal customer by answering the above questions and if you haven’t yet, check out more information on how to define the characteristics of your perfect customer.
2. Communicate Your Offer
Communication about your services (marketing) is vital for the success for any businesses, freelancers included.
If people don’t know what you can do and that you are available, don’t expect the phone to ring.
So, first you need to know what services you are going to offer and then let your potential clients know that you are available for hire. So, let’s get clear on these items.
What Skills and Services Do You Offer?
What business problems can you solve?
- Make a list of the skills and services that you can offer.
- Write a short paragraph or two describing the problem(s) your ideal client (from above) might experience and how your skills or services will solve those problems.
- Give prospective clients an easy way to connect with you.
Show Off Your Work
Have a place where potential clients can see your work samples
- Online Portfolio
- LinkedIn Profile
- Facebook Page for your freelance business
Get The Word Out
Communicate the services you are offering.
- Past employers/co-workers
- Let people know you are taking new clients
- Family and Friends
- Social Networks
3. Open the door of opportunity
When you do the above things, you will start to feel more confident.
The next thing to do is make contact with prospective clients.
Reaching out to a potential client takes some guts. I know… this can be a little scary and overwhelming. In fact, I still get a little nervous when contacting a client for the first time. It’s natural. But don’t let that stop you.
- Make a list of 2-5 businesses that match your ideal customer (or at least close)
- Find either a phone number or email for someone at the business from their website or Facebook page.
Contacted the business and politely ask to speak with the person that handles <insert business problem here>.
Once you have reached the right person:
- Greet them positively, and briefly introduce yourself
- Identify yourself and the business need(s)/problem(s) that you are able to solve
- Describe the services that you provide.
- Ask them if they are currently in need of any assistance.
- Ask them if you can send them your contact information for future reference.
If they do not have any current needs, thank them for their time and remind them to hold onto your contact information for future opportunities.
Continue this process. And, don’t worry about perfection. Just do your best and be sincere when visiting with potential clients.
New Freelance clients will follow when you put in the effort
Now is the time to get started.
Set a deadline for yourself for each of the above action items. Remember, the best way to perfect the process is get started and refine it as you go. It will take perseverance and work, but you will learn and continue to improve over time.
You are now on your way to finding great clients and doing the creative work you love!
really unlock your client-finding potential?
If you’re ready to go deeper on this topic and learn more about how to attract the best clients for you, check out my FREE EBOOK, → The Guide To Finding Perfect Clients
What if I told you that fishing for clients was easy? Would you be skeptical? Would you be interested? I talk to freelancers all over the world and no matter what, getting clients is the number one need that freelancers have - and no wonder; without clients, we don’t...
You have the skills. You have the desire. But without clients….well, your business just isn’t a business! Yet attracting clients, especially the right clients, can be a challenge.This post outlines the first and most important step you need to take in order to attract...
What if I told you that as a graphic designer, you have some amazing opportunities right now to make money while you sleep? It may sound too good to be true, but for a freelancer used to trading hours for dollars, passive income can be a powerful tool, allowing...