In the ideal world, clients and projects will come in a steady stream. However, for most freelancers, the more common experience is that described as “feast or famine.”
You’re either so booked that you barely have time to sleep, even if you work all day, all night and on weekends.
Or else you feel like the whole world has forgotten you. That maybe you did such a crappy job your clients have forsaken you.
A happy medium would be to have enough projects to keep you busy–while still having a personal life–and have projects lined up for months to come.
Below are the top three ways I know for freelancers to find clients. You can carry out these client-getting strategies on a regular basis, to keep prospects at your door.
During times of famine, you can up the ante and get your schedule filled up fast.
1. Forum Networking
I found my very first clients by joining an online forum of home-based entrepreneurs. Getting clients happened by accident; I hadn’t intended to market myself there.
In fact, I joined the forum because I was still shopping around for business models to follow that would allow me to make a side income from home.
The mentors and members of the forum were the ones who encouraged me to become a freelance writer. They taught me the basics: why I should set up a website and how; which types of services pay more than article marketing; how to get testimonials even when I had zero paying clients, and much more.
After a few months, I soon outgrew most of the members of that forum. However, a few of the more successful members continue to be my regular clients.
Even better, they refer me to other prospects (more about that later on).
If you need clients right now, get more active in the forums. Help people out by doling advice when somebody posts a question related to your field.
Give away a special report or buzz piece that’s relevant to one of your services. Or, go ahead and make a special offer on one of your services, such as a limited time discount.
2. Social Networking
Social networking is an excellent way to find prospects. In fact, a client found me on Twitter even when I wasn’t actively trying to get clients there.
How did that happen? Well, I was simply sending tweets about the things I’m most interested in: copywriting, online marketing, social media and communication.
Share information about your industry. Include your opinions. And occasionally, talk about your work. You can even make special offers on your services.
This works better if you also have a blog. Then you can write posts your prospects would be interested in, and post links to them in social networks.
It’s also very easy to monitor Twitter for people who are looking for a service provider with your skills. For example, I could set up a column to see all tweets that contain the words “copywriter,” “sales page writer,” or “email marketing.”
In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to post brief “help wanted” updates when they need a specific service. Make the most of the opportunities and offer your services.
My favorite way of getting clients is through referrals. Depending on who’s making the referral, these prospects are usually already “sold” on you before they even contact you.
For example, a prospect had been asking me for samples of a particular service. Unfortunately, the projects I’ve completed weren’t live yet so I couldn’t show them yet.
This prospect held off on hiring me until I was able to show a live sample. The prospect said, “You did that for X? I’m sold!”
I don’t actively ask for referrals, and I probably should. There are different ways to do get client referrals, including setting up a rewards system for your clients.
So there you have it, the three best ways I know to get clients. Each of these methods has brought me thousands of dollars in projects every year.
Of these, only forum networking costs money upfront. It’s a worthwhile investment to meet prospects who have shown the ability and willingness to invest in their business by paying for forum membership. In my experience, this cost pays for itself many times over.
How Do You Find Clients?
I’d like to know, have you found clients through these strategies as well? Or, do you use other client getting methods?
I’d love to hear about how you find clients. Please share in the comments section below.
Image by apdk.