Freelancing is one of the most popular income streams or business models among the youth. The first obstacle most newbie freelancers face is, how to get the first client. Honestly, when I started as a freelance content writer a few years back, I also faced the same issue even some days it made me feel that maybe I will not be able to work in this freelancing world!
It took me months to understand the process to get clients and how the system works. I have watched thousands of freelancers’ YouTube videos and have read hundreds of blogs on tips and tricks to get my first client as a freelancer. In the article, I will present you the 10 pro tips that have helped me and as well as my fellow freelancers, to get their first freelance client.
Before getting started, I will boldly request you to remind that these tips are given in general means these are not specifically for any niche so some of the tips might need to be changed according to your working niche.
1. Decide Your Niche
Freelancing is not a kind of work itself, it is a working module. In this module, freelancers offer their services to customers, and if any customers finalize a deal, then the freelancer completes the assignment. There are thousands of niches to work as a freelancer. Mostly you will see graphics designers, content designers, digital marketers, creative writers, coders, web developers, and more.
You might have skills in more than one niche, but it’s better that you select one niche or working segment that you are good at and also passionate about. When I decided to freelance, I was confused between graphics design and writing. Moreover, I have worked on some freelance projects as a designer! But slowly I realized that I have to work on a specific niche for my further skill development and getting high-ticket clients.
So before going to the marketplace or client hunt, please take time and analysis yourself which one of your skills or expertise is the most preferable for you and the market. Select your freelance niche.
2. Follow the Other Freelancer’s Works
You have to be competitive with other freelancers in the same niche or industry. Many of us make this silly mistake we think; I can do the work, so I don’t need to see from others. But you should keep in mind that freelancing is not a permanent job or a permanent contract.
The client you have today is not forever, if he gets a good offer from any other freelancer he will surely transfer his contract with the new one! So you have to be competitive in the market. Seeing others’ works will give you an idea of what the market is doing, and how much they are charging, and others.
You have to give better service with a better price range.
3. Make A Portfolio
The portfolio is a simple file that shows your working potential, skills, some of your previous projects, and contact information. In the world of freelancing, having a portfolio is a must to get clients. You might find that people recommend having a portfolio website, which is a great way to get clients and showcase your expertise.
In the beginning, you should make a PDF portfolio or a Google slide presentation to show the documents of your working experiences and skills. Making a website portfolio will be a costly and time-consuming process. I have seen freelancers making thousands of dollars per month with their simple PDF portfolios.
Mind it, you have to update your portfolio regularly and set the best works on the file to show the clients. In most cases, a client will hardly check out your 3 to 5 previous works. So don’t make the portfolio a huge gallery with unnecessary works and documents. Make it as simple as possible and set all the valid information that you think, will impress a client.
4. Confirm Regular Online Presence
Another meaning of freelancing is working online, this clearly shows you how much the online world is related to the freelancing world. If you are trying to grab attention and get new clients with better offers then you have to make your online presence stronger.
There are a lot of options to make your online presence but I will recommend you be active on at least one social media every day. Design your profile with relevance to your working niche and follow and actively respond to posts and events, related to your niche.
5. Find Potential Marketplaces
Hopefully, you are familiar with the names of Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, and other worldwide popular freelancing websites. All of these are marketplaces, where freelancers make their presence and look for jobs or clients.
Websites like Fiverr or Upwork are in general freelance marketplaces where you might find work for all of the available niches in the world. But there are many specialized marketplaces that are used only to find and hire freelancers in specific niches. Considering the saturation level, many freelancers prefer to work on specialized websites as there are low competition and a high pay rate.
On the other hand, social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are also good sources get clients. There are a lot of Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups that are dedicated to freelancers in a specific niche. Personally, I got my first designing and writing client both from Facebook groups!
6. Do Personal Branding
In this age of marketing, there is no alternative to personal branding to get clients. When you have decided on your niche and found your potential marketplaces it’s time to do your personal branding. Most freelancers do personal branding via their online presence and social media accounts.
You have to show people what you do and how much skilled you are. If the people around you don’t know about your service offerings then who will you get clients? Design your social media profile as a primary portfolio, add your most appreciated works, write your skills or services in your bio, and include your services in your about section.
It is seen that people design their cover photo like a banner that works as an elevator speech. I and my fellows are also active on social media to post about our works, writing tips, and what is going on in the market. You can also comment and advise people who post problems in Facebook groups related to your niche this is very effective marketing.
7. Understand the Industry Demands
We, freelancers, work to satisfy our clients. So it is a must to be relevant to the market demands. The demand or requirements of the market changes with time and we have to change our style or pattern of working according to it. We have to do regular studies and know what things are now highlighted and mostly accepted in the market.
In my personal experience as a freelance content writer, I have worked for clients who have asked me for long content they wanted to maximize the use of keywords as much as possible. But I have also worked with clients who wanted just the main and valid informative content, SEO content.
If you don’t update yourself with the market then it is obvious that new freelancers will become threats to you and slowly seize your clients!
8. Link with Other Freelancers
A secret to becoming a successful freelancer is having multiple links to get work! In a career as a freelancer, there will be ups and downs and when you are a newbie in the market it’s very fair that people will not rely on you. In both cases, you will get benefited from your fellow freelancer community.
Try to link with freelancers who work in your niche, become friends with them, keep in touch, and add them to your social media profiles. If you get extra workloads then you can provide some to the other freelancers it will make a brotherhood. This brotherhood will help you to get clients via them and also learn a lot of unknown things related to your niche.
I have connections with a lot of the same niche freelancers though they are kinda my competitors then also they helped me to learn new tools and better software, get exclusive leads, low competition topics, and more.
9. Knock Potential Leads
You are hungry, you have to run after food.
Getting a client is more needed for you than the client’s need for a freelancer. Anything you will get upfront is unexpected now because everyone is asking for work. So if you are an aspirant freelancer then you have to knock your potential employers for work.
Make a list of the potential organizations that might need your services. Make them cold calls, send them cold emails, and pitch them your services-offers, and the details that how your service can benefit their business.
This process needs patience, but it will give you a most effective result than any other way to get your first freelance client.
10. Ask For Testimonials
Testimonials are very important in a freelancer’s career. If you have any options then you should even offer free services to some people or organizations in exchange for a testimonial. A testimonial is a simple statement given by someone from whom you have worked describing the quality and characteristics of your work.
Once you have got a few testimonials, it will help you a lot to get the next clients. Of course, add your latest testimonials to your portfolio.
The freelancing market is becoming more competitive every morning. You have to do proper market research and be confident about your skills to work as a freelancer. There is a saying, ‘there is no time perfect than now’ so if you want to work as a freelancer then become confident and start working to get your first client as a freelancer. The steps and tips I have talked about will help you more than ever to get your new freelance client.
Also, don’t forget to work and study your specific niche and the competitors in that niche as well. It will make you more clear and confident to bid on the market. And keep developing your skillset.