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What is the best way to get clients as a new freelancer?

When you’re an established freelancer, clients seem to come effortlessly. Many freelancers have so much work they’re turning it away. But if you’re just starting out, take a strategic approach to growing your business. 

Word of mouth

Let’s face it, when clients are hiring a freelancer for a job, they want the process to be as seamless as possible. Because the relationship is designed to be short-term and is likely to handle an urgent project, clients don’t want to spend days or weeks vetting talent. That’s why word of mouth is so effective. 

Start by sharing a post on LinkedIn and your other social platforms announcing that you’re open for business. 

Every new client you get has a network they can refer you to when someone asks for help with a project. 

Reach out directly

If you’re a freelancer, you’re also in sales. You don’t have to know someone directly to reach out and offer your services. Choose organisations you would love to work with and think through who in that organisation would hire someone with your skills. Use LinkedIn or company directories to find the right person to talk to. 

When you reach out, make sure to let them know what specific value you could provide. Don’t make them email you for more information or say, “I have lots of ideas for your organisation.” Tell them what they are! Sell your skills and show how those would bring value.

Display an exceptional portfolio

If you’re new, you might not have a portfolio to share. But you can create sample work that illustrates your skills. Display a range of work on your website, a portfolio hosting site, and your Work for Impact profile. This lets potential clients know you have what it takes to handle their project and that you can easily get up to speed with their project without a lot of hand holding. Even if you don’t have experience in a certain sector, mention your interests so clients at least know you have familiarity with their industry. 

Create content

This one requires a little more time investment. Nevertheless, if you have a long-term approach to your freelance business, it can pay off down the road. 

Think about the questions your clients are asking and the problems they’re trying to solve. For example, if you build websites in WordPress, write an article on “Should you hire a developer to build a website in WordPress?” or “Best platforms for building a website.” 

Drill down on the specifics of your business and ideal clients. Using the former example, if you work primarily with clients in the green energy sector, you might write an article on “Marketing strategies for green energy companies.”

Of course, writing isn’t the only kind of content that will bring you clients. Infographics, webinars, and social media posts all illustrate your expertise in your field. 

Join a coworking space

Once the pandemic has subsided, coworking is like attending a networking event every day. But it doesn’t have the pressure to exchange information or do business right away. As you build relationships with your “co-workers” you will frequently refer work to them and vice versa. This goes back to the earlier point: when people are hiring freelancers, they want the process to be as painless as possible. If they already know you and like you, that’s pretty painless! 

Create a freelancer profile on Work for Impact

We’re a little biased here, but we think creating a profile on Work for Impact is an ideal way to not only attract clients but to attract your ideal clients in the social impact space

If you haven’t yet created a profile, join now. If you’re already on the site, log in and make sure your profile is up to date with your relevant skills, portfolio, and work experience. Our search algorithms favor profiles with a lot of detail.