Over three years ago (wow, really!?), I made the jump into the freelance world. My first client was my current job at the time, and from there I had to figure out how to find new clients to on-board. At one point, I had so much work, I had to hire help, which is any freelancers dream, right?
The hardest part about freelancing, for me, was finding clients. Sure, I had a great first-client to kick things off, but from there I needed to gather more to make sure I could continue paying my bills, taxes, and business expenses. Plus, if I wasn’t making more money than my corporate job, what was the point of all this?
After being at it for about three years now (with one small stint in a full-time gig that caused me to hit financial rock-bottom), I have figured out where and how to find clients – who will actually pay me.
Although my industry is digital marketing, you can use my list to find clients no matter what your industry or expertise is.
Make sure to leave a comment below and let me know if you have anything to add!
Back in the day, I was a brand ambassador for a few outdoor companies. I made sure to have a great relationship with whoever I was in touch with, had follow-through with them, and always mentioned that I was a freelancer and what my skills were. At the time, I was focused 100% on social media management, whereas now I am focused on several other skills in addition to social media management.
After about two years, one of the companies I was an ambassador for ended up hiring me to manage their social media. Bam. Make an impression with EVERYone you work with.
IMPORTANT: I never did any social media management for free with these brands after going freelance because that was the skill I was selling: this is CRUCIAL. If you are making money from your time and your skill, don’t let someone take it from you for free. Find another way to work with them that benefits you if they can’t pay you.
This has only happened once: I got paid $500 to write a travel article, simply because I posted about an app I was enjoying using. I mentioned them on Twitter, they found my email, and we worked out an agreement! I also got to write off the trip I wrote about since I was paid for my writing – an added bonus.
LinkedIn has a talent network called LinkedIn Profinder. I’ve landed two gigs from that network. How? I have an optimized LinkedIn profile that makes my skills very obvious, and so my profile is send several leads per week from LinkedIn Profinder. I have also had cold messages that are ACTUAL leads and not some sales person pushing me to have a 15 minute call with them.
I am a member of several Facebook Groups and even run one of my own. There are plenty of Freelance Facebook Groups that post real job leads, productivity tips, and more. Find several that fit your niche and keep an eye on them! (Make sure to follow the rules – many don’t allow you to self-promote).
10 More Places!
There are 10 more places I’ve also found clients, and I’ve compiled them onto a nice PDF so that you can download it and use it as a checklist or get some inspiration for seeking out your own clients. You can find the guide here: 10 Real Places I Have Found 10 Real Clients.