The freelance life seems to be the good life: you can make your own hours, you have control over how much money you bring in, and you are your own boss – what could possibly go wrong? The reality of freelance life is that it’s a struggle to find work and to consistently acquire more clients. As a freelancer, you’ve likely experimented with the different ways to bring in clients, from job sites, to cold-email prospecting, to handing out business cards. Freelancing is a hustle, and while it’s great to get referrals from clients, it is tough to get consistent work. The good news? We have some tips on how to acquire more clients as a freelancer.
Whether you are looking to get out on your own and manage yourself, testing the waters for a new career, or just earn some extra cash for doing what you love and supplement your full-time income, freelancing is a great answer. That being said, it can be tough to acquire clients, especially when you’re starting out. Here are a few tips on how to find great freelance gigs and to acquire more clients as a freelancer:
Unless you’re well-established and have clients pouring in the door, networking will be your lifeblood as you try to acquire more clients as a freelancer. Networking will help you make lasting connections with potential clients. You should network with everyone though – not just potential clients – because you never know where a lead might come from.
So how should you start networking? Begin with surroundings that you’re comfortable with whether it’s attending a conference or one-on-one over a cup of coffee.
Consider these options for networking to acquire more clients as a freelancer:
Industry conferences bring you in front of hundreds of new contacts, and on top of that, you will get the added benefit of all the knowledge being shared at the event.
- Professional organizations:
Every industry has organizations to help connect people. It’s worth researching ones in your field because membership often comes with access to specialized job boards, education, events, and other support.
Using social media is a great way to network to acquire more clients as a freelancer. LinkedIn and Facebook groups are great resources for networking – you can join them and connect with other similar-minded industry professionals that can help you get connected with freelance work.
It may seem like a no-brainer to contact your friends and family when you begin searching for freelance work, but many people don’t consider it. Letting your friends and family in on your plans to become a freelancer can get you some of your first samples for your portfolio.
Networking doesn’t need to be a huge time suck either – spending an hour or two every week to catch up with your contacts can really steer you in the direction of acquiring more clients as a freelancer. Be friendly and genuine and people will want to continue to develop a relationship with you.
Use Job/Freelance Sites
If you’re new to freelancing, building up your portfolio is important so you can show new potential clients how great your services really are. One of the best ways to build a portfolio and acquire more clients as a freelancer is to check out job boards and freelance marketplaces to find gigs. Here are a few to check out:
Joining a reputable freelance board or job board can help you not only acquire more clients as a freelancer, but also help you connect with other freelancers and leads.
Create and Build a Brand
Admittedly, building a brand to acquire more clients as a freelancer is playing the long game. That being said, once you have established a brand and a good reputation behind that brand, you will be able to easily scoop up clients and you’ll be able to charge more for your quality hard work.
The first step to building a freelance brand is to provide value to your potential clients. Create a professional website and begin producing impactful content to bring people into your website. Write blogs about the industry, create case studies featuring your previous work, share your process and experiences – the topic possibilities are endless. It might be intimidating to put yourself out there and share your experiences, but people respect that and love a good story.
If you’re ready to make a name for yourself within your industry as a freelancer, you need to develop a website, build up your social media presence, create a brand voice and identity, and build content for your audience. By developing a brand, you increase your reputation, and in turn, you will easily acquire more clients as a freelancer.
Use Your Current Clients
If you’ve already gained a few freelance clients but want to expand your business, you have a couple routes you can take.
First, you can ask your current clients for referrals. If you’ve done great work for them, they will be happy to recommend your talents to friends and family that may need similar services. You can even give them an incentive to share the wealth by giving them a discount or something for free to encourage them.
Second, you can try to upsell your current clients. If you’ve done great work for your clients, they may need additional services that they may not know you can help them with. Periodically do a free audit of their needs, and provide them with opportunities to invest in additional services from you.
SEE ALSO: Digital Branding Checklist for Consultants & Freelancers
If you’re ready to get serious about acquiring more clients as a freelancer, you need to be ready to hustle – it’s not going to be easy, but your hard work will definitely pay off in the end when you’ve acquired enough clients to comfortably build your business.
What are your biggest struggles as a freelancer? Share in the comments below.