Great post Laura, few good tips in there!
10 Ways to Get Your Name in Front of Prospective Clients
A key component of getting clients for your freelancing business is to get your name out there. You can be the very best freelancer in your chosen profession, but if no one has ever heard of you or your freelancing business, you won’t get very many clients.
It can be difficult to build a professional reputation for a new freelancing business. In this post, I’ll provide ten techniques that you can use to help establish yourself in your chosen field. I’ll also discuss some other methods you can use for finding work.
Why You Should Get Your Name Out There
Let’s face it, freelancing is competitive. There are likely hundred, if not thousands, of freelancers who offer services in your chosen field. You need some way to distinguish yourself from all of those other freelancers who are you are competing with.
Getting your name out there makes your freelancing business a known brand. This gives you a competitive advantage. All other things being equal, when choosing between a freelance who they’ve heard of and another freelancer who offers similar services, but is not known to them, most clients will choose the familiar freelancer.
10 Techniques to Get Your Name Out There
Fortunately, today’s Internet tools make it easy for freelancers to build an online brand for their freelancing business. Here are ten techniques that you can start to use today to get your name out there and bolster your freelancing reputation:
- Create a Blog. I’ve sung the praises of blogs for freelancers before, and I’ll do it again. Sure, you can run a freelance business without a blog, but blogs are relatively inexpensive so why would you want to? Build a blog, update it regularly, and drive some traffic to it.
- Guest Post. Whether or not you create your own blog, you can benefit from the blogs of others by submitting guest posts to popular blogs that are related to your freelancing field. Be sure to send your best content, since what you write will wind up representing your business.
- Give a Presentation. If you get the chance to speak before a business group about your profession, take it. Giving a good presentation is a great way to establish your expertise in your field. Be sure to include handouts with your contact information.
- Participate in Social Media. Having a social media circle is the hot new way for business people to network. The good news is that everyone can take part in social media. It costs nothing to set up a profile on most social media sites. Just remember to keep your participation professional.
- Be Interviewed. If you get a chance to take part in an interview for a blog or with a journalist, accept it. It is usually to your advantage to share your knowledge publicly and the interviewer may have larger audience that you would normally reach. If some of your contacts conduct regular interviews, you may be able to volunteer to be interviewed.
- Do a Webinar or Create a Podcast. Webinars and podcasts are two great techniques provide two more great opportunities for you to showcase your expertise. Just as in any other type of presentation, be professional and include your contact information.
- Join a Group. Luckily, the world is full of professional groups that you can join (both online and offline). Joining and becoming active in a group of like-minded professionals will not only help you to network, it may also allow you to access educational and job bank opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you.
- Take a Class. A classroom setting can often provide networking opportunities. This is especially true for offline classes where you meet face-to-face in a classroom setting. Plus, you can enhance your skills while getting to know others. Check your local colleges for evening classes.
- Write a Book. The Internet has made it easier than ever for professionals to get published. It’s relatively simple to create an eBook that highlights your experience and expertise. And once you have created an eBook, it can continue to generate leads for your business for months (maybe even years) to come.
- Leave Some Comments. A simple, but often overlooked means of getting your name out there, is to leave well thought out comments on popular blogs in your area. While this technique is similar to guest posting, you typically won’t have the hurdle of getting your comment accepted by the site owner. As long as you are respectful and professional, most blogs will publish your comment.
Other Ways to Find Freelancing Work
Sadly, if you don’t have a strong online brand yet, you may need to rely on others to do your marketing for you. There are basically three types of freelancing gigs that allow you to do this:
- Projects with agencies
- Subcontracts under other freelancers
- Projects listed on bidding sites
In almost all of these cases, since you are going through an intermediary and not directly to the client, your income from a project will be lower than it would normally be. Whether you go through an agency, another freelancer, or use a bidding site–remember that the other entity will need to get a portion of what is earned. That portion pays for the intermediary’s marketing costs.
Of course, if you get your name out there you won’t need to go through someone else to find work.
Where Do You Get Your Work?
Where do you find your freelancing projects?
Share your answers in the comments.
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January 18th, 2011 at 8:33 am
January 18th, 2011 at 8:42 am
Thanks, Laura! I’ve definitely found most of the items you listed to be extremely useful, especially joining a professional group, creating a blog, and participating in social media. I also put an ad out every once in awhile in local newspapers that I know several potential clients read. And although it takes time to get referrals, word of mouth has been how most of my clients have found out about me.
Pam JennelleJanuary 18th, 2011 at 8:49 am
GREAT tips, but please fix the title.
The eBook idea is a really good one that I hadn’t considered.
January 18th, 2011 at 8:51 am
One thing one should not forget is the old network when one goes freelance. It never hurts to send a mail to relevant contacts you know through a previous job, saying “Hi, I’m now freelances doing this work. Do you have a need for something done in this area, or maybe know some who does?”
Getting referrals like that is great, and also a good way to ease into the freelance life.
January 18th, 2011 at 9:06 am
You want “prospective” clients, right?
January 18th, 2011 at 9:16 am
Useful tips. A a freelance graphic designer, I can confirm that the best way to get customer is networking! it works for me.
The best advertising is still word of mouth, and it’s on networking that you realise it works by itself when you have done projects for someone else in the networking!
January 18th, 2011 at 9:44 am
a great insight how to get ahead of others. thanks for sharing this and as a freelancer i know how much important it is to get your name in front of established persons
January 18th, 2011 at 9:46 am
This is a common question for a lot of people getting into freelancing and more advice is always welcome! This is a great list of things you can do to get a little more exposure and catch the attention of potential clients.
I would add that that it is important that you not treat these items as mutually exclusive. As a freelancer looking for more work you need to extend yourself out there in every way you can. Take advantage of your strong points within these tips and make the most advantage of those.
Also in addition to creating your own blog I would add that having a portfolio associated with that is very important. Almost all potential clients will simply pass you up if they don’t see examples of your work early and often.
January 18th, 2011 at 10:03 am
Thanks Pam and Julie! I’ve been slammed lately and I missed that. Fixed now. :)
Vivek and Paul–I’m glad you liked it.
Rachel, it sounds like your using most of the tips already. :)
Arne K. Haaje–That is so true and I think most freelancers forget to do it.
Cat Creative, It’s true. Word of mouth is powerful. Some of these tips can stimulate word of mouth and help a freelancer to build a reputation.
Jason Gross–Good point Jason. All of these tips can be used in combination with each other and with any other marketing method you are using.
January 18th, 2011 at 10:55 am
In terms of offline tips, carrying a business card everywhere has proved useful. I also used to leave little postcards in each office of an office building. Just pick a building, introduce yourself, and hand it over with a smile. Take one of their brochures or cards as well. If they’re closed, put it in the mail slot.
January 18th, 2011 at 11:16 am
Having a blog it’s a great way to show your expertise and yes the portfolio is super important. I also found out that potential clients look for testimonials too.
I’d also add my portfolio in directories, which is a great way to be found out and worked great for me.
I start getting a lot of emails from freelanceswitch directory.
January 18th, 2011 at 11:36 am
I’m not a math guy, but I do believe there’s an equation that “works” when it comes to getting the attention of prospective clients: consistency over time equals client trust.
I’ve been listening to an internet business podcast weekly as I’ve been building my writing and editing business, and I have grown to trust what they say because they are consistent. Week in and week out, I know who they are and what types of things they suggest. They certainly don’t give the feel of an online used-car salesman, like so many other podcasters do. Every episode I listen to, i walk away with something of value.
If you create a podcast, write a blog, or any of these other great suggestions, the main thing is to be consistent in our efforts. (This is my sermon to me, as I am exceptionally consistent at being inconsistent!).
I really appreciate your post! Looking forward to more!
January 18th, 2011 at 12:21 pm
Taqiyyah Shakirah Dawud–That’s a great tip. I’m a big believer in business cards. Even though most of us work online, it’s still good to have them. I like your other offline marketing tip as well.
Lucian, Directories can be good (especially if you can find a good one). Good tip!
BK Miller–That’s an excellent point. Ultimately, getting your name in front of the client is just the first step. After that you must build the relationship…
January 18th, 2011 at 3:01 pm
Good information, thank you.
I have my portfolio out there and I am in several discussion groups. I have put off writing a blog but I intent to start one right a way.
January 18th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
Definitely another great article. And as far as business cards are concerned, I always tell people to pass them out like candy. My business cards are so nice that people ask me if they can keep it. LOL! Keep that in mind when you get one designed. If you’re not a designer, don’t do it yourself. A prospective client will remember you more with a different looking card.
January 18th, 2011 at 4:07 pm
I recently took part in a local Startup Weekend. A large group of people of various skills come together and start businesses all in one weekend. Coders doing their thing, marketers doing their thing, lawyers watching over, etc. It was exhausting, exhilarating, and fun.
In the process I met some really smart people, learned a lot, and caught the eye of a number of potential clients and had some great talks.
It was magnificent for meeting people who want to hire me.
Startup Weekends happen all over the world, check it out: http://startupweekend.org/
January 18th, 2011 at 6:34 pm
Raymon–I’ve found my blog to be invaluable for a number of reasons. While it’s not an absolute necessity, I usually encourage most freelancers to keep a blog.
Christina, I do agree with having a nice design for a business card. However, business cards can be tricky. If they are shaped odd and won’t fit into a wallet or holder easily they may get pitched.
Topher–I had never heard of a startup weekend. I’ll definitely check out that link. Thanks for sharing. :)
January 18th, 2011 at 6:59 pm
Excellent tips Laura! I’ve tried building a blog, writing guest posts, being interviewed and using social media and all have given my personal brand a boost. This year, I’ve got bigger plans on how to get my name out there such as more guest posts, building my blog even more, and hopefully an ebook.
January 18th, 2011 at 8:28 pm
Interesting article, I would rename this article ’10 ways to find new clients online’ or something more specific to the online world.
While I agree that having an online presence is a good way to showcase your talent and is a not a bad lead generator at the start of a sales funnel, in my experience as a graphic designer of 20 years experience I’d probably say that offline is the better option if you want higher value clients (eg. who pay more). Obviously getting infront of them is a bit harder to do and can take longer to get your first job.
There just is no contest when it comes to longer term financial income. I recently posted on my blog “4 insights dating taught me about pursuing prospective clients” http://bit.ly/e43X2U would love to know what ppl think!
January 18th, 2011 at 8:32 pm
These are awesome tips you wrote here. I guess, personal branding is something that only a few great freelancers can master. It’s not just putting up a website and hoping that people will recognize you in a mouse click; you have to be your own marketing & PR team. As for your question, I find freelance projects online – through freelancing sites where projects are posted daily for bidding.
January 18th, 2011 at 9:30 pm
Laura, this is an excellent post, but I think the best way to get your name out is to simply do great work! Be reliable, communicate well, and make sure you deliver high-quality work. Marketing doesn’t end in a sale; it continues all throughout the process, even after the actual project is done. Happy clients make referrals, and friends of happy clients make the best prospects.
January 19th, 2011 at 2:26 am
Thanks for this great sharing. Currently, I’m having problem to find potential client and your tips might help me a bit. Now I need to get my name out there!
January 19th, 2011 at 4:49 am
I’d second what Maddy suggested about “simply do great work!”. After making sure you’ve done great work, you need to put time into doing research on the clients you want work from, because you need to know what they like before showing them, or leading them to, your work. After the research is done you can adapt your portfolio specifically for a potential client, and this is especially important if you have a large variety of target groups. And short reviews from past clients about your work is great to implement in portfolios.
More reading: “The Dos and Don’ts of Portfolio Presentation” http://t.co/5M9ndv4
January 19th, 2011 at 6:07 am
Getting the first work is always difficult, but the following depends on the work we put on the first one. Excellent post. Thanks for sharing…
January 19th, 2011 at 9:55 am
Thanks everyone! :)
Maddy–I do agree with you. These are tips for getting your foot in the door. They can help you find opportunities, but if you don’t do a good job they won’t help for long. :)
Word-of-mouth is powerful, but at the same time you can’t totally rely on your clients to do your marketing.
January 20th, 2011 at 5:06 am
Such ten ways are really good points. It’s hard to build a reputation and even harder to maintain it. Reputation goes well with good work / product qualities…. Helpful techniques!
January 20th, 2011 at 10:07 am
Great article! And I particularly like the point of commenting, I though of that as a great marketing tool, when googled, and our comment comes up- and with sites that link your name to website, that free marketing. Keep up the good work and these informative articles!
January 21st, 2011 at 1:55 am
Great ideas Laura. Thank you so much
January 21st, 2011 at 9:46 am
Great list. I’m amazed at how many freelancers think they can sustain a business just by trolling online job boards. That’s a losing plan, especially considering how many ads for content mills you find there.
I would add one more to the list, piggybacking on tip #5. In addition to being interviewed, you can conduct some yourself. If you’re a writer you can interview a web or graphic designer for your site and they can interview you for theirs. Synergy!
January 25th, 2011 at 6:05 pm
Great article…Made me want to comment and get my name out there!!
July 18th, 2011 at 6:24 am
I relate to the article well. I am just starting out as freelancer, and I find the post inspiring.
Keep up the good work.
February 9th, 2012 at 4:49 am
Hi, this is a good post!
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