9 Smart Ways to Find Clients Online and Become a Full-Time Freelancer
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If you are new to freelancing, you may be asking yourself where those clients that pay what you ask for and adapt to your schedule are, and how to find them. Many experienced freelancers will tell you that looking for clients is a job on itself and you have to devote a lot of time if you want to get the ones that pay well and set reasonable deadlines or objectives. Once you start this client-hunting job, you will find yourself organizing your schedule in order to fit all the new clients and projects. Here we give you some advice on how to find clients online, who will pay what your work is worth.
1. Set up a profile on a freelancing website.
If you are new to the world of freelancing, this is one of the first things you should do. Most new freelancers resort to platforms or boards where clients post their job offers and freelancers contact them and make a proposal.
In some platforms, clients can search through a list of freelancers who share the skills they are looking for and contact you instead. It is a good idea to join a platform that offers both options (contact and being contacted by clients). You can even showcase your portfolio on your profile so that your prospective clients are able to see previous work that you have done in your areas of expertise.
Make sure that your profile is well organized so that clients can get a clear idea of what your experience and your skills are. A well-thought profile will help you if you are wondering about how to find clients online in little time.
Take into consideration the fact that these platforms generally have thousands of active users, and in some cases, the number of freelancers and clients is massively disproportionate, so you are going to face a lot of competition. Some skills are more competitive than others, and that means that depending on what you do there will be hundreds of people applying to the same position, or only a few.
These sites are often international, and there are always skilled freelancers from other countries that will do the same work that you do for a much lower rate. Clients in the platform know that, and they tend to go for the people who are okay with really low payments. This, on top of the fees that these platforms ask for, will reduce your income considerably.
Do not feel discouraged by this, since there are real opportunities for getting high paying clients in this type of platforms. For example, Upwork might ask for a 20% fee, but if you land a job with an Enterprise Client, the fee will be reduced, and if you go over a certain threshold, your fees will be seen reduced to a 10%. It is still reducing your income, but this of it as a safety warranty.
If payments are verified and the money is in escrow, you will get paid for your work. There are no hassles around actually getting paid, which can be a problem if you work completely on your own.
Another nice aspect of Upwork and similar platforms is that you are able to make yourself more noticeable by getting reviews from clients and doing skill tests. You can be really successful and make good money off these platforms. You can even grow your network in there, by being added to talent clouds and groups of qualified freelancers.
Bonus tip: Check out this article to learn step by step how to find clients as a beginner on freelance platforms.
2. Be an active user in groups on Facebook.
Social networks are really powerful, and groups on Facebook can help you land a gig in little to no time. There are hundreds of Facebook groups for freelancers that you can join.
- Look for groups that are as niche as possible, and groups that are as broad as possible. Everything counts.
- Many of the groups on Facebook are international, but you can also find localized ones.
- Some groups are for specific positions; others are for a specific group of freelancers who share a certain skill.
The good thing about these groups is that you can also advertise yourself and show what you have to offer to clients online. Make sure however that you follow the group’s guidelines. Some groups may have specific rules, such as “self-promotions are only allowed on Fridays” or “gig opportunities must include this or that information”.
The more active you are in these groups, the more known you will get.
3. Polish your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn is an excellent place to find clients online. It is a social network made for businesses and professionals, and therefore one of the best places to look for a job.
Use LinkedIn to make connections with businesses that you are interested in and make sure that your profile is compelling. You can make LinkedIn your best online portfolio and digital resume.
Make use of their job search option and connect with other people in your industry. If you have an account on a freelancing platform, do not be afraid of looking up the people you have previously worked with and sending them a connection request.
If they have you present on their social media feed, and constantly see your posts and updates, there are more chances that they will remember you and refer you to other people in the future.
Not everything online is Facebook and LinkedIn. Do not forget the quintessential element of online communication: E-mail. Do not be afraid of contacting people you would like to offer your services to via e-mail.
One of the most effective techniques to find high-paying clients is to go for cold e-mails. Do not be afraid. If they are well written, cold e-mails will not be considered spam. You just need to compel your prospective clients to read it and for that, you need to do some research.
1. First of all, you should jot down a list of clients you would like to work with. If you are, say, a graphic designer, you can look for blogs on topics you like, or Facebook pages of local stores that you know, and see if you find some cases where there is room for improvement or where you think you could have done a better job.
2. Then weed out the people that you know do not care about having a better image on social networks or changing the logo design on their products.
3. Once you have a list of people who you think would be interested in hiring you, start writing an e-mail letting them know why you are interested in them and how you can help them. These e-mails have to be personalized, and not generic. Let them know that you care.
You can use other platforms to make your services known and get in contact with clients, such as Twitter, Reddit or Quora. Be part of the discussions and make yourself known there. Eventually, people will start checking your profile and you can let them know that you are open to new jobs.
In the case of Twitter, look up those hashtags that are related to your business, search for people looking to hire someone with your skills or let the other users know that you are looking for new clients.
5. Ask previous clients for referrals and feedback.
Always keep in touch with previous clients. As we mentioned before, you can add them on LinkedIn so that they can keep up with what you are doing.
You should not sit and wait for referrals. Go directly to your clients and request them.
They are most likely going to recommend you if you remind them of your existence than if you just wait for them to do it out of their own volition. You don’t have to overthink it. Many times, a few words and a good rating from a previous client help you find clients online.
6. Go old-school and get in touch with people in real life.
Go to on-site events that are related to your industry, such as conferences, meet-ups, talks, and workshops. These events are great for networking and meeting like-minded people.
You can meet someone who needs some collaboration in a project they are currently working with, or someone who is over-booked and is looking for someone to outsource some of the tasks they were assigned. You can also get to meet potential clients directly.
Another good option is to research whether there are shared workplaces offered in your city. If you switch to coworking, you will be able to meet other people who do freelance work and also some start-up owners who might need your services.
The collaborative environment will give you a push and allow you to make new and valuable connections. Make sure to make good connections with other freelancers who can help you find high paying clients.
7. Start blogging about your services
One other way to get clients online is creating your own blog or writing guest posts on other blogs. Many popular blogs accept articles from outside collaborator and allow you to link to your blog through your posts. In your posts, either on your personal blog or if you are guest posting, casually let the fact that you are available for new gigs slide.
Research ways of making your blog more visible online. Guest posts are a good idea because it generates more links from different websites to your own, but there are other things you can research, such as search engine optimization.
Your own blog can also act as your portfolio, or if you have one on another platform (for example, if you are a graphic designer and upload all your projects to Behance, or if you are a programmer and upload your code to GitHub), you can link to that site.
If people like what you write about your services as well as the samples of your work, there are high chances they clients online will consider hiring you.
8. Invest in ads for your services.
Another way of maximizing your self-promotion and making yourself known among a great number of potential clients is running an ad campaign on platforms such as Facebook or Google.
Facebook ads and Google Ads seem quite easy to use. It is advisable, however, that you get in touch with someone who knows about ad management.
You can use your connections and exchange your services with someone who knows how to run good ad campaigns or invest some money in hiring someone who does the campaign for you. It is important that someone who has experience in running ads helps you with this.
If you don’t have the budget to get professional help, you should at least invest the time to learn about how to successfully run ads online to find clients online, e.g. with online tutorials.
9. Get in touch with your competitors.
Many people are wary of contacting their competitors, but this is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given. Two reasons why this strategy works:
1. Many of your competitors will be overbooked and in look for someone to outsource some of their work.
2. They may also have found some better-paying clients and feel stuck with old clients until they can delegate their work onto someone else.
Some people will be glad to recommend you to old clients, whose new projects they are not interested in or have no time for. It is better if you get to know your competitors in real life since they will be more likely to refer their old clients to you.
However, you can also team up with competitors online and get in touch with them through social media platforms, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Most of them will help you and advise you on how to find clients online.
Do not be afraid to ask!
Find Clients Online and Boost Your Freelance Career
If you take our advice here, you will be getting e-mails with numerous proposals from various prospective clients in no time. Make sure that you put all your efforts in networking and making yourself known, as well in showcasing your previous work.
Establishing a social presence and sharing your work with the world is vital.
We know you will find those high-paying clients that you deserve!
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