3 ways to find new freelance clients
Are you having trouble finding new freelance clients? Whether you’ve been going for a while or have just started out as a new freelancer, it can be difficult to find new clients. Where should you start? What works best? Here are 3 tips to build up your network and find more projects.
- Tip 1: Meet clients in person. This might sound really obvious but it does work – and it beats sitting in front of your computer trying to make clients appear out of nowhere. As an added benefit, the change of scenery can really lighten your mood. Go out there and meet some new clients! How do you decide where to go? First, picture your ideal client. Perhaps you’re a photographer working in fashion, or you design websites for small local businesses, or you are a motion designer working with ad agencies. (If you’re just starting out, pick a type of client that seems reasonable and exists in your local area.) Where do these clients hang out? Are there local meet-ups or events that you could attend? Maybe there are bars or cafes popular with your client market? Or street markets? Or industry-specific co-working spaces? I’m sure you can come up with some ideas for your local area. Just go along, talk to a few people and make a few new connections. Don’t worry about ‘networking’ – there is absolutely no need to ‘network’, just have a chat and be friendly and be helpful. After a while, you’ll meet someone who needs your services and you can start a more professional relationship.
- Tip 2: Find clients online. Many of us hate the idea of anything resembling networking and find it difficult to meet people in person. Luckily the internet can also be a great place to find new clients. You may now think that you need to run Facebook adverts or become a Google AdWords guru – that is NOT the case! These advertising tools can help when you already have an established business but they are not necessary if you’re working as a freelancer on your own. Instead, find places where your clients hang out online – there are tons of small business forums, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, the list goes on and on. Forget about the places that you visit yourself, look at the internet from your clients’ perspective. Join one or two of those communities and become a useful, helpful member. Again, this isn’t about ‘networking’ or ‘sales’, it’s about making new connections and getting people to know you as an expert in your field. Link to your freelance portfolio in your profile so that people can contact you. As you get more established, you will build up closer relationships and can start making some new deals.
- Tip 3: Freelance for an agency. Many freelancers used to work at a studio or at an agency. These are great places to find work, especially in more creative markets such as design, motion graphics, photography, web development and writing. Agencies and studios are used to hiring freelancers and they tend to have a studio manager that you can contact. Send a short email with some examples of recent projects. Ask to meet them for a brief chat (or a Skype call if remote) to see what sort of freelancers they are looking for. Be nice, praise the agency’s recent amazing work and you’ll often get a positive response. A handful of contacts at just a few studios can be a great way to keep freelance work coming in.
Hopefully, you now have some new ideas to find more freelance clients. Pick your favourite, go out there and give it a try! And remember, before you launch into a huge project, sell something small first!