No, Seriously, Where Do Freelancers Find their First Clients?

4 min read

It’s one of the most asked questions when it comes to freelancing: How do I find clients? Well, sometimes they find you, but more often you have to find them. At the start, it can be difficult, but once you get going it does get easier. I only began freelancing in the last 6 months and already found a number of different websites work.

Let’s find out all the ways you can land that first client!

Upwork

Many of my clients have found me on Upwork and work with me there. They have more security and I do as well. While the website takes 20% of my commissions, it is a decent website overall and they do make it easy for you to be found. Just this week I was eligible for their Top Rated badge which means I get lower fees and will appear more often in searches.

It’s also similar to Craigslist because you can see all kinds of gigs and apply to them, which is how I landed my first few clients. There are other platforms like FiverrFlexjobs,  Thumbtack, and so on, but I haven’t personally used them yet.

Word of mouth

Technically, my very first client was recommended to me by a friend before I committed to freelancing. He was an acquaintance who needed help with his podcast and he was willing to pay me for my time. I started doing some audio editing for him and then he took it over himself.

This is the best type of client because you’re being personally recommended and people trust acquaintances more than strangers.

My Website

My personal website comes up on Google and I try to cite it at the end of my articles or in my social media bio. The odd person has reached out to me there for help, podcast interviews, and general questions.

While I technically haven’t landed any clients this way, I still recommend having one. It makes you seem far more professional when working with people and it allows you to put all your information in one place.

Facebook

I often share my articles and successes on my personal Facebook account since I do have a good number of friends from various communities. Just a few weeks ago, a good friend noticed and reached out to me. She likes my writing style and is hiring me as an editor for her company’s blog posts. Don’t forget about the network you already have!

You might have a friend, acquaintance, or friend of a friend who is willing to work with you. Now, I wouldn’t work with certain friends as I have had conflicts in the past over business disagreements, so I would advise you to be careful when working with someone you already know.

LinkedIn

There are so many social media sites these days that I resisted LinkedIn forever. Not to mention most of my past jobs were mostly in the food and beverage industry which made it seem unnecessary. However, I finally caved and connected with coworkers from my last office job. It led to three new potential clients!

One is an old coworker who now works as a photographer. I actually hired him for my headshots and now he’s hiring me to edit his blog. Another co-worker connected me with her friend who has a business as a photographer and helps people find their brand identity. The third one is a total stranger. I made a post wishing people Happy New Year and mentioned I was open to new opportunities. That led to another freelancer seeing my post and messaging me about my rates to help him with his projects.

Indeed

While most people use Indeed for job searches, it does have other opportunities, like freelance jobs and internships. I have been looking at potentially landing some part-time work for a company or an entry-level internship to gain more experience in the writing industry.

With some luck, I managed to land one internship which has taught me a lot about SEO and they gave me a certification with them. Indeed is a good option if you’ve been freelancing for a while and want to find a steady job or even internships.

Cold Pitching

I personally have done a lot of this for myself, but I am doing it with one of my clients for their business. We send out tons of email pitches and while it doesn’t always work, sometimes we do get a positive response.

This is a tough strategy and I wouldn’t start here, but it is a valid one especially when you’re more established. If you want to find places to pitch look up blogs or companies you want to work for and add the words “Write for us.” You’ll usually be able to find their submission page. You can also get an idea of their rates by checking the website Who Pays Writers. My goal is to start more of this in 2021 to have my writing on larger publications.

Key Points

Finding clients can be difficult, especially at the start. Eventually, it gets easier, but you have to put in the effort and get yourself out there. You never know what works until you try it.

  • Start on a freelance website
  • Try your personal network
  • Keep putting yourself out there

That’s all my advice for you if you’re starting out and can’t find clients. Good luck and happy writing folks!


This article was first published in Work Today. Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

Published by Victoria A. Fraser

Freelance writer, podcast producer, and comic artist.

4 thoughts on “No, Seriously, Where Do Freelancers Find their First Clients?

    1. Definitely! Always shoot for realistic goals. I love writing, but it involves lots of work putting yourself out there.

      Good luck! Upwork can be competitive especially since the Pandemic, so make sure to have a good profile and write strong proposals 🙂

      Like

  1. Word of mouth is how I’ve gotten most of my big-ticket clients, and if there’s anything I strive for, it’s to exceed their expectations so that they can recommend me to others. It’s been one of my biggest channels for me. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Like

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