These days, more and more companies are shifting their focus to independent workers to fulfill their needs. Needless to say, freelancers and freelance jobs are also growing in number. To some companies, hiring freelancers are merely their way of finding the manpower to support their operations while on a budget. For other businesses, it’s a fast and easy way of finding the perfect individual to render them services.
With that said, it isn’t always easy to get regular clients as a freelancer. Because of the loose and no-strings-attached kind of job arrangement, a lot of individuals find that this kind of job has little to no security and stability, with money to spend one day and none at all the next. The odds are scary and success isn’t always guaranteed, which is why a lot of people choose to skip considering the profession entirely.
However, while your attempts may seem futile at first, there are proven ways to bolster your reach and profits as a freelancer. Before giving up or losing hope, here are some things to think about when it comes to getting clients as a freelancer.
Are You Doing Something Wrong?
Perhaps today is the day you should stop being insecure about your skills, and consider the fact that your mistakes are costing you business. Small yet impactful decisions, such as ad placements, prospect conversations, as well as speech have the power to influence how other businesses and brands see you. So, make sure you’ve already nailed this in the head before even thinking that the freelance life isn’t for you.
Trusting in Word of Mouth
Do you believe it when your clients tell you they’ll tell their friend or business partners about you? Are you relying on their gesture to expand your client base? If so, then this has to be your first mistake.
With this kind of business, it isn’t enough to rely on word of mouth to reach new customers. Remember that what you’re offering is a service, and you have to first earn your client’s trust before you can even expect them to reach out to you. Sure, a recommendation from a close friend or a reputable leader can help. But, you also have to market yourself in order to close the deal.
Waiting for Clients to Come to You
When you’re coming this late into the game, know that there are already a multitude of options for employers to choose from before making their pick. Those vary in skill, experience, and, more importantly, rate.
For any freelancer, most especially beginners, it’s important not to wait around for clients to notice you. You must be the first one to make your move, seeking potential clients, and convincing them that it’s you they need, and not anyone else.
Using Job Hosting Websites as Your Main Source of Clients
One of the most common mistakes those who enter freelancing make is relying on job hosting sites as their main source of clients. While this may be an easy way to scout prospects and close them quickly, there are also a lot of lowballers who can greatly impact how much you can be charging for your services.
And, because of the huge contrast in supply and demand, you’ll find yourself compromising your rate so clients will take a chance on you. While this may be a great way for starting freelancers to use as a stepping stone, relying solely on job hosting sites for clients and income won’t bring maximum benefit in the long run. In all honesty, it won’t help you save enough money for when you want to build your own house, buy a car, or start a family.
How to Get Clients as a Freelancer
Now that we’ve gotten those common mistakes out of the way, it’s time to talk about the real challenge: getting clients. As previously mentioned, it can be pretty challenging to build a reputable name for yourself in an industry that’s swarming with people just like you. However, by following some of these tips, you can slowly build your reputation, and help yourself stand out.
Build a Portfolio
Word of mouth alone isn’t enough for companies to start seeking you out. Instead, put together a portfolio of your best work, so you can show your prospects what you’re capable of. If you’ve just started, you can use past assignments and achievements from your previous workplace or school to leverage yourself and make them see your own potential.
Join a Coworking Space
Coworking spaces are great places to be when you want to socialize and showcase your skills in a different way. Not only are you open to building more connections, you’re also able to expand your contacts and build a network of people in the same field or, at the very least, in similar industries who could use your skills.
If you’re worried about other freelancers, remember that they’re not your competition. A better way to look at them would be to consider them as your community. You can ask around for advice, tips, job openings, or even offer your help for some services they may be in need of help with. Regardless of how you see it, coworking spaces can help you grow as a professional, all the while growing your pool of opportunities.
Probably the most obvious step to get clients is to market yourself as a freelancer. This means that you shouldn’t only be using job hosting sites to scout paying clients, you should also be the one actively reaching out and doing your part as a business.
This includes giving out your contact info and portfolio, highlighting your skills and achievements, as well as personalizing your resume, CV, and cover letters for the position you’re applying for. Marketing on its own is a skill in itself. That’s why in order to succeed in this fast-paced industry, you must know how to position yourself as the best person for the job.
Okay, so you’ve managed to score a meeting with one of your prospects, and now’s your chance to finally show what you’ve got. At this point what can you do to close this deal, and secure that more will be coming your way in the future?
Well, the simple secret is to come prepared. Do your research before meeting your client, and strategize on how you can best use your abilities to make their business better. What are they missing out on, and what mistakes are they making that are affecting their sales? Point these out, and come up with a complete, concrete business plan, which details their shortcomings, what you can do to fix them, and what improvements you can make based on their intended goal or outcome.
By doing so, you’ll be able to sweep your clients off their feet, recognizing you as one of their superior applicants in the bunch, and almost guaranteeing your spot in the process.
Perfect Your Skills
Last but not the least, one of the most guaranteed ways to get clients as a freelancer is by mastering your skill to perfection. Sure, it may take a lot of time, practice, and research, but no client is ever going to want a freelancer more than one whose performance can speak for themselves.
To perfect your skill, you must be able to greatly widen your experience, and learn more about the various techniques and strategies in your line of work. Once you’ve done so, perhaps you can also look into similar branches in your study that can benefit you when rendering your services.
With all that said, you should know that there is no point you must reach in order to say you’ve mastered the art of your work. In fact, you can never actually reach perfection. What you can do, however, is to continue growing and learning new skills, so you can continuously adapt to new trends, as well as the various changing needs of your clients.
How to Get Freelance Clients Online
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of gaining new clients as a freelancer, it’s time to think about its online counterpart. Aside from the steps mentioned above, here are a couple of additional tips you should take into consideration when you want to drive in more clients online.
Build Your Own Brand
As a freelancer, you pitch and market yourself to clients so they can avail of your services. Which means instead of thinking like you’re bothering your targets with your promotions, look at it as a brand or a business showing their market what they can offer.
In that case, if you want to take your online freelancing gig seriously, the first thing you should think about is putting up your own blog or social media. Showcase your portfolio on your website, and gather feedback from your older clients so you can feature them. As you build up your online reputation, make use of your achievements and previous experiences to show your audience what you’ve done in the past, so they can imagine what you could do for them in the future.
It’s all about the framing and presentation here. As long as you present yourself as a highly skilled and capable individual, you can expect to close a lot more deals when you show your website or social media to interested prospects.
Understand Your Targets and Find Them
You know how finding your target market is essential to a business’ success? The same goes for freelancers seeking jobs online. To do this, first evaluate the skillsets you have and what kind of clients you can best accommodate. Do you see yourself serving the business industry? Finance? Media? What kind of problems do your targets usually have, and what can you do to solve it for them? By having these set client “types,” you can easily find your targets, and select which opportunities are right for you.
Aside from just knowing who your targets are and where your market is, this also helps you to improve your knowledge in areas, which will allow you to best cater to your desired audience. Besides, advancements in technology and social media these days have allowed us to reach the ends of the world with just one click of a button. It’s just really all up to you to know who to find, so you can provide the best possible service you can offer.
Just like with coworking spaces, online groups and communities can help you gain more contacts and build connections. Because everything is done online wherever you are in the world, you can expect an even broader community of people from various industries who can help open the doors for more opportunities along the way.
Even if certain jobs or tasks may seem out of your comfort zone or too much to handle, always be open and consider those tasks as a way of developing your skills. Or, even better, an opportunity to discover you have an ability to perform certain jobs you may not have thought you could do in the first place.
In any way, doing this and helping your community out also ensures that one day they’ll repay you and do the same for you. It’s all just give and take in the end, but your performance and attitude towards your community will aid you in scouting potential clients for the future.
Being a freelancer definitely has a lot of benefits, which explains why it’s become so attractive to the workforce in the first place. However, unlike any other job, being in this industry can be quite daunting, especially if you’re unsure of how to put yourself out there and secure a steady client base.
Regardless of where you are in your freelancing journey, remember not to lose hope if you ever find yourself stuck or unable to close more clients. Just keep working hard on your skills, and market yourself through your community and online pages.
It really does take a lot of time and effort to build a name for yourself in the business, so while you’re here, take your time and enjoy the ride. Just continue to give it your all today, so that one day you will be able to pick and choose from a pool of hopeful clients, as they line up hoping for a spot in your schedule.