Being a freelancer is often considered a romantic pursuit. When many people think about it, they imagine themselves traveling the world and working from beautiful locations. They imagine themselves being in full control of their lives and doing work that is meaningful to their lives and, hopefully, to the world too.
In fact, the number of freelancers around the world is growing steadily, whether for this or another reason. As of 2016, there were about 55 million freelancers in the United States alone, and that number has not only grown into 2020, but is expected to grow at a high rate in the coming years.
Even so, running a freelance business is not a walk in the park. You have to handle your own operations, source clients, manage them and make sure they are happy, and take care of your own cash flow. As a freelancer, you are your own boss and your own employee, and so you have to play both roles well.
I remember when I started my own freelance business offering assignment help. It definitely meant more freedom, and the joy of experience that’s largely kept me going all these years. I also enjoyed running a dissertation service for the pure reason that I love to write. However, it was also the most taxing job I had ever taken on. Having to wear multiple hats when running a freelance business is something I don’t think most people fully consider when they dream about being freelancers.
But today I’m going to talk about a very specific aspect of being a freelancer; one that is arguably the most taxing part: finding new clients.
As a freelancer, you’re not going to survive very long if you don’t have clients. And so you need a solid way to attract new ones. But how do you do that? Well, as it turns out, there are quite a few helpful strategies and sources you can turn to to make this easier.
Referrals are a great way to gain new clients. Referrals also have a higher conversion rate than other ways of gaining clients, such as paid traffic and events. The beauty of referrals is that they mostly come from previous or existing customers, which means the leads can be converted faster. Many freelancers, for whatever reason, tend to neglect this method of gaining clients, with common excuses being that they forgot, don’t have time, don’t want to seem desperate to clients, or don’t know how to ask in the first place.
The truth is that, so long as you have done quality work for your clients and they are happy, there is nothing wrong with asking them for a referral. My assignment help business started out like this, with plenty of clients happy with my service. And no happy client will balk at the idea of referring someone to a freelancer whose work they loved.
There are lots of outsourcing sites on the internet, including SimplyHired, People Per Hour, UpWork, Fiverr, and many others. I wouldn’t advise you to stay on these sites for too long. Over the long term, they will encourage customers to have unrealistic expectations and undervalue freelance contractors. The quality of clients will overall also be low, since they will likely be the ones willing to pay the least and yet ask for the most without seeing what value they are getting out of their clients.
Even so, such sites are a good place to start for a beginning freelancer. You can think of them as a kind of springboard upon which you can launch your career. They offer you access to a sea of clients. You can build your portfolio off of such sites and show off what you’re capable of, as well as learn to streamline and optimize your operations. Once you’re more confident, you can scale your business and seek higher-quality clients elsewhere.
Content marketing is a great inbound marketing technique. It gets you some of the highest quality leads for your freelance business.
The idea behind content marketing is simple. You make original and high-quality content that educates your audience, who are also potential buyers of your products and services. With good content, you can position yourself as an authority in your niche, whether you’re a graphic designer or an assignment helper like me, and your content will be the first stop for prospective clients who are looking for solutions to their specific problems.
Content marketing eschews sales language in favor of more direct, value-rich content that asks for nothing in return. This plays on the tendency for reciprocity in humans, where people will be more inclined to want to do business with you because they feel like they’ve gotten so much value from you.
Social media is pretty similar to content marketing. It’s a great way to give a teaser of your work to potential clients. Your followers should ideally be enticed to follow the links to your post on social media and visit your site, where they will be able to see more of your work.
Social media is best for engaging with existing clients and providing quick but effective solutions for prospective clients. Just like content marketing, it should be more about giving than receiving. As you get more and more of your followers to visit your website, they will get to engage with your content (content marketing) and are more likely to be paying customers.
Tailor Your Portfolio to be Powerful
Your portfolio should be the very embodiment of the type of work you do as well as your philosophy with regard to your particular line of work. One mistake you should never make is to fail to update your portfolio. The fact is that you will get better at your craft with time, and your portfolio should reflect that. That’s how I garnered a reputation as the best paper writing service around: I kept updating my portfolio as I got better.
Incorporate snippets of your portfolio, or at least links to it in all of your content, such as social media, your website content, your proposals, and whenever you’re engaging potential new clients in person. Make sure people can see what you’ve done.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get clients as a freelancer. The methods outlined here are just the tip of the iceberg. They are, however, among the most effective ones. One thing you will definitely need no matter what strategy you employ is patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was any freelancing business. Take it one day at a time and stay consistent. The dividends will pay off eventually, and provided you do your part, it will likely be more than you imagined.