The first step has always been the hardest, whether it’s in the emotional or business sense. Searching for your first clients will always be nerve-racking and can feel like staring across a barren desert looking for an elusive oasis.
The good news is that with a bit of hard work and a guiding hand, you can quickly find the clients that would stay for the long term.
Follow these awesome tips, which have been gathered from real freelancers, and see how they aid you on your journey.
TIP 1: Spread the word
When you’re going on a journey to the unknown, it’s best to inform the people about it first. The smart place to start is with your friends and family.
While some of them would be clueless about the concept of a Freelance Business when you try to explain to them, it would still be a win-win in the long run.
Firstly, it would be a great practice for you to talk to people you’re familiar with before it’s finally time to tell other people what you do. It’ll help you refine your pitch, making it and easier to understand. If you can get your family and friends to understand what you have to say, then it’ll be several times easier for you to explain yourself to the people in your industry.
Second, you’re not just speaking to them, but you’re also spreading the word to everyone else that they are acquainted with – their own personal social networks. By making it clear what you intended to do, they’ll be able to advertise about your services the next time someone they know is looking for someone who does what you do.
Don’t forget about all of the people that you’ve made connections with within Facebook and other social media sites, as they would also be able to aid you in spreading your influence. This could serve as your payback for supporting their virtual activities after all this time. So tell them what you have to offer.
Reaching out to former employers is also a valid option as countless others that started out being freelancers have worked with people they used to work with in the past. This is why it’s probably best to leave on a good note and not upset your superiors on your last day on the job
TIP 2: Try some Freelancing job sites for available jobs
Freelance job sites like People Per Hour, Freelancer, and Upwork often get a bad rap. But if a freelancer is still just starting out, not yet well established, doesn’t have much of a portfolio, and isn’t used to working with clients, Freelance job sites can be useful.
Building a good reputation in the virtual community is far from easy and would take a lot of time and effort. Because of this, plenty of newbie freelancers started out using these Freelancing job sites successfully before slowly transitioning away to bigger and better-paid jobs. So never dismiss something as useless before you’ve even given them a try.
TIP 3: Never underestimate the power of Social Media
If you’re still a newbie in the freelancing business, treating social media as your new best friend is a very effective option. You can use it as a jump-start by building connections with people and businesses that you admire and would love to work with.
Obviously, sending them a simple tweet and asking them for work isn’t going to be enough. You must first start building a connection with them by following them, commenting on things they care about and regularly show support for what they’re doing. Doing so will eventually get you on their virtual radar.
As well as potential clients, it’s also important to be familiarized with fellow freelancers and build genuine friendships online. These bonds and relationships will support you as some might well refer work to you once a certain amount of trust has been established.
Also – just try searching for those that are literally looking for someone to hire. Across all of the social networks, you’ll often find someone creating posts along the lines of ‘I’m looking for an X to do Y…’
TIP 4: Directly ask employers if they have vacant jobs
Sometimes, even the most unorthodox methods of finding a job can result in good outcomes. Having the courage to speak out and knock at a company’s doorstep to ask for a job can unexpectedly be fruitful.
It doesn’t just have to be physical doors: cold emailing can work too. The emails can’t simply be blanket cold emailing though, you must actually do some research regarding these companies and be personal with them.
While taking a leap of fate such as this can be nerve-racking, what have you got to lose, right? After all, if you never make that first step, then you’ve already lost and got a ‘no’.
TIP 5: Don’t be a couch potato – broaden your social circle
Humans are social creatures, we genuinely need social interactions for us to fully develop into maturity. The same thing could be said for virtual freelancing as you need to get yourself out there into networking situations.
Socializing in Facebook Groups, where potential clients can be found, might be a great choice of action. But it’s also important to not become a shut-in and just live behind a computer.
So go out, see the world of the outside, and mingle with your fellow freelancers and potential clients face-to-face in real life instead of just in front of a computer screen. Even if you’re a wallflower, branching out and meeting new people will undoubtedly help you and your business to grow.
So there you go, if you’ve been wondering how to start as a freelancer, that should help. Five great ways to get your very first freelance clients. Once you’ve won them over with your awesome talents, you’ll find loads of new ways to expand the way you get your work, but this is a great place to start.
If possible, do all of these five things while still in your full-time job. Start building those potential clients and reputation – get the word out – all before you take that leap of fate.
Remember that every freelancer had to start somewhere. Even the people who seem untouchable and at the top of their game had to start from zero and make their way up the social ladder. They all started somewhere. Where are you going to start?
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