Let’s not beat around the bush here – starting out as a freelancer can be hard graft.
Not only is there the sudden change of circumstances to consider, but there’s also the financial implications to think about, as well as the need to actually go out and source your own clients.
But, with a little hard work and the right level of determination, finding clients and choosing the freelance life can be one of the best decisions you ever make. And believe me, I should know – I’ve been through it.
So, with this in mind, I thought I’d compile a few useful hints and tips to help you on your way, highlighting some of the most effective methods to win your first clients.
1. Utilise Friends & Family
It’s all well and good deciding to work as a freelancer yourself but, if you don’t tell anyone, then how can you expect them to know? They aren’t magically going to find you – it’s up to you to tell them.
Starting with your friends and family, tell them what it is your trying to achieve: Who do you want to write for? Why are you doing it? And why should they choose you?
By doing this, it’ll help you refine your pitch and make it clear for people without your level of experience to understand. That way, it’ll help significantly when it comes to approaching clients, as you’ll already know the ideal way to sell yourself and your services.
2. Use Social Media
While on the subject of telling people, it’s time to get payback for all those years of having to scroll through cat pictures on Facebook.
Create social media profiles for your freelancing and share the heck out of them.
I’m talking Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube – you name it.
After all, the more you can be seen, the more likely it’ll be for somebody to click on and engage with your services.
3. Reach Out To Old Employers
When starting out as a freelancer, sometimes having a bit of familiarity could help you get to grips with things. So, why not consider reaching out to your former employers?
While they may tell you where to go, the chances are that they’ll actually be fairly considerate and welcome to you working with them externally.
Plus, since you’ve worked with them before, they will already know the quality of work you can produce and – on the flip side – you will already know the clients they work for. So, it could be a bit of a win-win.
4. Use Freelance Sites
While they may get a bit of a bad reputation, certain freelancer-specific websites can be a great way of finding your feet – especially if you don’t have much of a portfolio established already.
Websites like Upwork and People-Per-Hour allow you to set up a personal profile where you can advertise your freelance details: rates, turnaround time, availability, etc.
That way, clients who need work doing can contact you and establish a relationship from there.
It works on the flip side too – if you see a particular project advertised that catches your eye, you can then reach out to whoever published it to express your interest.
Then, as you gain more writing experience, you should see more client requests flooding into your inbox.
5. Create A Website
It should go without saying really but if you don’t have a website or online portfolio where you can showcase, get one. Otherwise, how will prospective clients know they can trust your word?
To do this effectively, make sure your website is as clean, well-structured and engaging as possible.
Use a colour scheme that isn’t garish and keep it as up to date as possible. Plus, if you write for lots of different industries, organise this in a way that makes it easy for a user to navigate; a prospective interior design client won’t care much for your nutrition-focused blog posts, for example.
As a seasoned freelancer myself, I have been there, done that and got the T-shirt. Many, many T-shirts… therefore, if you need any advice as you start out on your freelance journey, just let me know and I’ll do what I can to help 🙂