There is tremendous value in ditching your regular job and becoming a freelancer. Research from 2019 shows that sixty percent of freelancers earned more than when they were employees. Unfortunately, the statistic above masks the reality of the freelancing industry. It’s neither easy nor cheap to get new freelance clients.
Besides, freelancers struggle initially to transition into their new lives. It takes time to outline the right business approach and deliver quality services.
Yet, a well-functioning business is essential for attracting new and higher-paying customers.
Challenges Freelancers Face Regarding getting New Clients
Working with and finding the right first freelance clients is challenging.
Some problems freelancers face includes:
- investment costs for getting great clients
- securing long-term work
- coping with micro-managing customers
- getting good hourly or project pay
- handling poor communication
- competing for clients
If you cannot overcome these challenges, your freelancing career will crumble.
Elevating your business by reaching new freelance clients at an affordable price is possible. How should you go about it? Keep reading to find out.
How to get new freelance clients : 5 steps freelancers need to take
Several aspects of your freelancing business must match a regular business. The most crucial element is recruiting new customers. The target is quality clients at a low investment.
Here are five budget-friendly steps for freelancers to reach new clients:
Step #1 Ask For Referrals
Most people leave their regular jobs to freelance before they’ve secured a first paying client. That means their most important goal is to get a freelance client through the door.
Reach out to people you know and tell them about your alternative career path. Be clear about what you’re doing and what you’ll be offering. Tell them whether you’ll be working at a physical business location or online.
If possible, use your computer and printer to create business cards. Pass them around to friends and former business colleagues. The goal is to generate interest in your business.
Do an outstanding job once you find your first client. Offer them discounts as a sign-up bonus. Make them feel special by delivering more than the client expects.
After some time, ask the client to refer you to other people or organizations. Consider offering commissions for referrals. Ask each new referral to direct people to your business. In time, the referrals will be organic.
How to Prepare Your Business to Get Referrals
Make sure your business is ready for customers.
Do that by:
- Preparing all the information they need in advance
- Ensuring you’re offering quality and consistent service
- Looking professional at all times
- Seeking to provide solutions to the clients
- Pricing your work correctly
Step #2 Network with Other Freelancers
Build your network of contacts to gain great insights into your new business. Talk to other freelancers, bloggers, and digital marketers online.
When you network, you’ll realize other freelancers know about job opportunities in your industry. They may also be willing to recommend you if their client roster is full.
Make the first move and give one of your contacts an extra client. Helping others makes them want to reciprocate.
Second, the other freelancers may offer you a job. This usually happens if they’re swamped, but feel your work matches their quality standards.
Consider professional networking sites, such as Meetup, to connect with freelancers. Try others, such as LinkedIn and AngelList, to expand your reach.
==> Related: 27 best freelance sites for beginners to find jobs
Step #3 Start a Blog
Freelancers should look at their business as a start-up. A new company needs to save money, maintain cash flow, and sign up new clients.
The best and cheapest weapon to accomplish this is content marketing.
Content marketing brands your business when you’re starting out. It’ll frame your company appealingly to attract new leads. Moreover, the investment cost to start a blog is reasonable.
Starting a blog provides several benefits to your business. It gives you a platform to talk about your work. You can explain your services to customers. You can use a variety of content to connect with customers and build loyalty.
Creating this content is critical in the beginning. That’s because content marketing helps websites rank better online. Being on the first pages of search engines allows you to show your skills to potential clients.
Using SEO to Rank Online
Appearing on page one of Google will require Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Since your business is new, you must learn the basics of SEO. Those beginner techniques will be enough at the start to bring visibility to your blog.
To add to that, blogging or creating content on your own will save you a lot of money you’d otherwise invest in marketing. You can invest these extra funds into other parts of your business. For example, you can buy tools or new, cutting-edge business software.
As more people discover what you do, it establishes a broad audience for your business. You’ll get customers and future referrals from this audience pool.
Step #4 Social Media Advertising
Social media gives you access to billions of active users per day. Create and share content online once your blog is up and running.
Try to make engaging videos or write helpful blogs. If your work goes viral, you’ll benefit from free marketing. Prepare to connect with the people who notice your work.
Since your business is still young, invest in social media advertising. While the free option may seem a better choice, the paid version is more effective. Paid ads get more attention because of their placement.
Paid Social Media Ads: Quick Primer on How They Work
Paid social media ads appear on users’ feeds without user activity blocking them. Each ad allows you to set client-targeting instructions. Moneywise, it’s an inexpensive option.
Choose the right social media platform for your business. Find out which platform will provide better returns for your investment. If you do it well, paid ads will increase visibility and engagement.
Step #5 Guest Blogging
Guest blogging will expose your brand to more people. Either the audience on the guest site will become potential leads, or they’ll refer people to you.
Reach out to blogs in related industries and ask to write for them. Check the guest posting guidelines before you begin. Keep your content relevant to the blog site where you’re publishing your work.
Use the opportunity to showcase your knowledge of the industry. Provide solutions and educate the audience. Don’t forget to link back to your blog or website.
Continue contacting other blogs or checking online for guest posting opportunities. Allow others also to guest write on your blog. Guest posts on your site give you great exposure with minimum effort. Plus, there are no additional expenses.
Connect with New Freelance Clients
By 2030, freelancers could make up over eighty percent of the global workforce. That means you’ll be competing against new, smarter, or better-funded businesses. The lifeblood of your business will be how you can consistently attract new clients.
Avoid self-inflicted actions that undermine your ability to connect with potential customers. The most common mistake is unrealistic expectations. Others include overpromising and underperforming when you get opportunities.
Plan your client acquisition approach ahead of time. Pool your resources and budget to match your acquisition needs. Be prepared to adjust if you notice your strategies are not working.
When you do this, your cash flow will remain intact. What’s more, you won’t have spent a lot to get new freelance clients.
How do I get new Freelance Clients Fast?
There are 3 quick tips to get new freelance clients.
- Reach out to your friends, and colleagues. Let them know you are looking to take new clients.
- Utilise social media platforms. Don’t underestimate LinkedIn and Facebook.
- Use email marketing to send pitches to ideal customers.
This is a guest post for SMB.
Guest Post Author: Michelle Laurey works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking business, and productivity, and share her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge-watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow! Talk to her on Twitter