Finding your first clients
Going freelance can be incredibly liberating, but with that comes the pressure of having to go out and find paying customers and clients. Before you take the leap, it’s important to do your research and see what demand and competition there is for the services you’re offering. Also, by checking out your competition you’ll get a feel for the sorts of businesses that they are freelancing with and who to potentially target.
Here are some of the ways you can find your first paying clients…
Through recommendations and referrals
Recommendations and referrals could come from current or past customers, friends, ex-employees/employers or other freelancers. It’s the way most freelancers prefer to get work as these leads normally have the best conversion rate and a higher guarantee of reputable work.
Enquiries from your own website
Have a well-designed website and make it work for you by improving its SEO for your target keywords.
Sharing content and interaction can build you a useful network of contacts. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can be good for generating leads but Instagram shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly if you are in a creative industry.
Try to attend events that aren’t purely deemed as for ‘networking’ as everyone tends to be at those to sell to others. Try to see every opportunity as a networking opportunity.
Directly contacting potential clients
Cleverly worded letters or emails to carefully selected potential clients or agencies that might outsource can work well.
Online portals and directories
These can be useful to fill gaps in work but it can be time-consuming to find and pitch for projects. Some websites generate a ‘race to the bottom’ in pricing and have reputations for low quality work.