Finding freelance clients is one of the big challenges in freelance life. You may think it’s tough at the beginning, but the ebb and flow of freelance work never stops and carries on right on through your more experienced years.
But any effort you put into finding and testing reliable places to find new freelance clients will make the job of finding more work that much easier. And if you put the effort in consistently and repeatedly, you’ll find that your efforts are rewarded exponentially.
Finding freelance clients will always be a necessity, but you can make it easier for yourself.
When Alexander Horoshkevich from Freemlance.com got in touch to find out how I find freelance clients, I was pleased to answer his questions. Here’s a summary of our discussion.
1) Where do you find your clients? Freelance marketplaces (such as Upwork, Elance, etc.), or friends, or someone who has recommended you?
I always ask new client leads where they heard of us, which makes it much easier to track this. Looking back at the last few years, 90% of new clients are referrals from our existing network, 5% from old clients coming back to us, and 5% from enquiries through our agency website (mainly through the SEO and Content Marketing work we do).
2) With referrals, how you had got ones when you started? It’s hard to get quality referrals when you don’t have any clients.
When I started, I let people know that I was going freelance and was looking for work. Several friends and previous clients then recommended me for roles they were aware of.
One thing I did do when I first started freelancing was use my previous employer as one of my first clients. I hired myself back to them for 2-3 days a week, which helped make the transition to full time freelancer much easier!
3) Had you found any clients through your blog?
Yes, probably 10-15, but these are generally lower quality / smaller budget leads than through referrals or previous clients. I blog mainly to help other freelancers looking to establish their careers and become better freelances themselves.
4) What online resources related to freelance you read daily? What can you suggest?
I read the /r/freelance subreddit often, which has a lot of useful, real world problems and excellent advice for freelancers on a whole range of issues.
5) Is it possible to work in a daily office job as well as doing remote (freelance) work (for designers, marketers, and others)?
Yes, you can freelance on the side (known as “moonlighting”), but this can be stressful due to working for clients alongside a day job. It can be difficult to moonlight and remain productive at the same time!
Alexander used my insights and a whole host of others in a post on freemlance.com called “15 Proven Ways To Find Freelance Marketing Jobs”. Here’s a quick run down of those 15 ways:
1. Freelance marketplaces
7. Offline networking
9. Freelancers Union
10. Angel List
13. Personal website
14. Work for free
Alexander’s post goes into great detail for each of these places to find freelance work, so the post is definitely worth a read when you have a moment.
Personally, I’m a big fan of number 15, as you can tell by my answers to Alexander, but number 13 is also proving a success for me. People like Preston Lee agrees with me, as shown in his post “Stop trying to find new freelance clients”.
I haven’t tried any of the other methods, but it would be interesting to hear if you or other freelancers you know have found success in finding freelance clients using those methods and what your breakdown of where you find new freelance work looks like.