No matter your industry, be it online or offline if you’re a freelancer there is going to come a time in your career where you need to find clients. It might be out of necessity or it might simply be that you fancy a change. Whatever your reasoning, you’re going to need to know how to go about it and specifically where to look.
Whilst the scope for such a subject as finding freelance clients is undoubtedly huge, this article is going to focus on finding freelance clients for web based/online work. Whether you’re a web design, programmer, online marketer or content creator this article should have something for you. I hope you enjoy the read and hopefully, some of the sources I’ve documented below will yield you the fresh clientele you desire. So without further adieu, let’s get started.
Typically, forums have a bit of a stigma attached to them. In the past, they’ve been almost looked down upon as a place where the low ballers hang out trying to broker themselves a cheap employee from a third world or emerging country. Whilst this is true and the statement is not completely unfounded, there are users of specific forums who still have a good budget and are willing to pay a correct and fair price to get the job done.
In my opinion, the various freelance forums around the web contain primarily two groups of people. Firstly, it’s the low ballers as mentioned above but they also tend to be a great source for first timers who have never hired a professional freelancer before. Sure, there is also everything in between but these two groups are the majority.
Forums such as DigitalPoint and Warrior have long been a great resource for both freelancers and there would be clients alike. Whatever your industry, you’ll find sub forums and people looking to buy and sell their wares across all niches via simple, well-categorized offerings. You just need to learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff and have a thick skin to rebuke the low ball offerings.
Freelance websites such as Freelancer.com or PeoplePerHour.com are fantastic resources for freelancers looking to find work. The popularity of sites such as these, especially over the past few years has exploded. Previously it used to be limited to extremely experienced individuals doing the hiring and that meant that in order to compete you had to be significantly better than the next guy. These days, every man and his dog are hiring workers at all levels via sites such as these which has really opened the market right up.
As mentioned above, these websites are popular from a customers perspective but because of that, you can expect a lot of competition. Especially if you’re in a field with a vast array of competitors such as content writing or online marketing. The whole process can be a bit of a dog eat dog experience but like with the forums, you have to learn to take the rough with the smooth, to rebuke the low balls and be willing to compete for the better projects.
Your Own Website
This might sound obvious but a lot of the freelancers I know don’t even bother with a website offering their services or at least offering a portfolio illustrating their capabilities. I recently read this guide which doesn’t mention running a website at all, which is surprising to me as personally I think your own website if built correctly can yield more potential customers than any forum or freelance referrer website could. If nothing else it can be used to provide more information to would-be clients.
If you do go down this route and consider putting your own site together, make sure it’s loaded with content. By that I meant whatever service you offer, even if you’re not massively experienced at such, make sure it’s on the site. Who knows what it could yield.
Referrals from Existing Customers
I call this turning one into two. By that I mean if you’re lucky enough to land one customer, do everything in your power to make sure that not only do they come back to you the next time you need something but they’re also willing to pass you on to someone who needs a similar service. How many people do you think need a web design or a piece of content but don’t know anyone in their life who needs the same either currently on further down the line? If you do a good job for one person there is no reason they wouldn’t pass you on to someone else and those, in turn, would referrer you also. If you’re good enough you should only need a handful of clients to get the ball rolling.
Finding clients doesn’t need to be difficult. If you know your capabilities, know where to look and can take a knock back on the chin you’ll no doubt be able to find enough work to survive. In truth finding the client and negotiating the deal is often harder than the work itself. If you’re serious about freelancing you can’t afford to fall at the first hurdle or wind yourself up into a frenzy if someone doesn’t want to pay your quoted price. And don’t even get me started on the non-paying clients who unfortunately plague every industry and who you’ll undoubtedly come across.
Freelancing can be fun and profitable if done right, you just need to know where to look and have to be mentally prepared sufficiently to take it on.