How to Get Freelance Clients: Proven Strategies in 2023
Are you a freelancer struggling to land new clients? The freelance industry is constantly evolving with new technologies and changing client needs. But don’t worry, and there are still effective ways to attract clients and build a thriving freelance business in 2023.
I’ll share some of my top tips and strategies on how to get freelance clients, based on my own experiences and insights from other successful freelancers in the industry.
For more tips and tricks on pursuing a freelance career, check out these guides:
Freelancing for Beginners
Entering the world of freelancing can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but obtaining clients can sometimes prove challenging, especially for beginners.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to grow your existing freelance business, these tips will help you stand out and attract the clients you need to succeed. So let’s get started!
1. Identifying Your Target Clients
Assessing Your Skills
As a freelancer, your success largely depends on your ability to find and maintain a steady stream of clients who need your services.
Before you start marketing yourself as a freelancer, it is important to figure out what skills you have and who your ideal clients are.
Knowing what makes you special and understanding what those clients need will help you ensure your marketing is targeted correctly.
Once you have clarity around your services and target audience, it’s time to start spreading the word.
To identify your target market as a freelancer, evaluate your skills and abilities. Reflect on your past work experiences and accomplishments to determine which areas you excel in and enjoy the most.
Consider your strongest skillset and how it aligns with specific industries or project types. This self-assessment will help you pinpoint the clients and projects that align with your expertise and professional goals.
Understanding Client Needs
Once you have a clear understanding of your own skills, it’s essential to research the needs of potential clients.
For each client type you are considering, identify their problems and how your skills can provide a solution. Focus on the pain points of your target audience and understand their needs and expectations.
By gaining insights into the client’s perspective, you can tailor your services to meet their requirements and present yourself as an ideal partner.
Determining Your Niche
With a better understanding of both your skills and clients’ needs, it’s time to determine your niche. Identifying a specific domain within your broader skillset allows you to be more targeted and specialized in your approach.
This specialization will make you more attractive to clients who are seeking a freelancer with expertise in a particular field.
To narrow down your niche, consider your work experiences, the demand for certain skills in the market, and your personal interests. Explore freelance opportunities and create a list of prospective clients within various sectors.
Finally, analyze the competition within each niche to weigh the potential challenges and opportunities you will face.
2. Secure Your First Client
The best way to get started as a freelancer is to secure your first client and start gaining experience!
One of the biggest mistakes freelancers make is wasting time waiting for clients. To find new clients, it’s best to start by considering people you already know. You may not realize it, but you likely have a pool of potential clients available to you.
You may consider reaching out to your family, friends, old classmates, and former business acquaintances to offer your freelance services, or to ask if they know of anyone who may need them. They could also potentially introduce you to new clients.
You can also join relevant online communities and social media groups related to your niche, as these are great resources for finding prospective clients.
Networking is key in the freelance world, so take advantage of any opportunity you have to mingle with other freelancers and potential clients.
3. Building Your Portfolio
Showcasing Your Best Work
Building a solid portfolio is critical to attracting freelance clients. Start by selecting a few of your most impressive projects and showcasing them prominently on your website or portfolio platform. This enables potential clients to assess your abilities and expertise quickly.
Consider organizing your projects into categories based on the type of work or industry they represent. This will help clients navigate your portfolio and find the samples most relevant to their needs.
Including a brief description of each project, along with the goals achieved and any challenges overcome, can provide valuable context for potential clients.
Creating Case Studies
Case studies can be a powerful addition to your portfolio. They provide clients with a detailed overview of your process, problem-solving skills, and the results you deliver. To create a case study, select a project that significantly impacted your client’s success.
Begin with a brief introduction to the project, including the client’s goals and challenges, before diving into your approach and the solutions you provided.
Be sure to highlight the measurable results and achievements that demonstrate the value you brought to the project. Including testimonials from satisfied clients can further strengthen your case studies and add credibility to your work.
Optimizing Your Portfolio for Visibility
Having a well-designed and informative portfolio is essential; however, it’s also important to make it easily discoverable for potential clients. Optimize your portfolio for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords and phrases associated with your skills and services.
Another strategy to increase portfolio visibility is to share your work on professional platforms and social media. By showcasing your portfolio on these networks, you can connect with potential clients, gain recognition, and build your professional network.
Remember to keep your portfolio up-to-date, adding new projects as they’re completed, and continually showcasing your growth and progress as a freelancer.
4. Marketing Your Services
Utilize Social Media Platforms
Freelancers can get a lot of help from having good social media profiles. LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are all places where you can meet people who might be interested in hiring you for your work.
Here are some great ways you can use each social media profile to connect with potential clients:
Update your Facebook profile so that it reflects what you do for a living. You can create a business page for your business if you’d like. Then it’s time to join some Facebook groups where your ideal clients are networking.
Every Facebook group has its own set of rules so make sure you don’t directly promote your services if it’s not allowed. Instead, you should get involved in discussions and answer people’s questions.
Create a LinkedIn profile and treat it like an online portfolio of your best work. Join relevant groups and start interacting with potential clients who may be interested in your services. Also, consider writing a few articles or posts to demonstrate your expertise in various topics related to your industry.
Consider setting up an Instagram account if you work in a visual field like graphic design or photography. Post some of your best work, and make sure to link back to your website or portfolio. You can also share behind-the-scenes images related to your services so potential clients get a better understanding of what it is that you do.
TikTok is a great platform for freelancers who want to show off their skills and connect with potential clients. Create short videos that demonstrate your talent in a creative way and use hashtags relevant to your field.
To establish credibility and drive traffic to your portfolio, consider:
- Sharing blog posts and articles relevant to your niche
- Participating in discussions and answering questions in groups
- Highlighting your recent projects and expertise
Social networks are a good way to find freelance work and new clients. But don’t feel pressure to join all of them! Focus on one or two social media platforms at a time.
Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content that appeals to your target audience. Freelancers can:
- Write SEO-optimized blog posts on relevant topics to attract visitors (Foundr)
- Contribute guest blog posts on related websites to reach a larger audience
- Grow an email list to share updates, offers, and insights directly with potential clients
Networking Online and Offline
Networking is essential for freelancers to develop relationships and find new clients. To successfully network:
- Attend industry events and conferences to meet people in person
- Join online forums, professional associations, and social media groups focused on your niche
- Reach out to existing contacts for referrals and introductions
- Make connections with local businesses and find out if they would be interested in hiring you on a freelance basis; it doesn’t hurt to ask!
If you’re the type of person who likes to go out and meet people in person, then you may want to consider investing in business cards! These should include your basic contact information plus a picture of you.
You can keep a couple of them in your wallet, so you’re prepared when you meet new people at networking events!
Cold Pitch Your Services via Email
Depending on where you’re located, you may not have the opportunity to attend events in person. Many freelancing services can be done remotely so you can also consider a cold email outreach to potential clients!
5. Finding Freelance Platforms
Choosing the Right Platform
With the abundance of online freelance platforms, choosing the right one for you can be overwhelming. Evaluating factors such as fees, project types, and the user interface can help narrow down your options.
Consider websites like Upwork, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour to start your search. These are like online job boards where you can apply for freelance positions. Always research each platform’s pros and cons before signing up.
Creating a Standout Profile
When you want to get clients, it is important to make your profile look nice and engaging. Put a good picture of yourself on it. Write something about yourself that is professional and shows what you can do. Show off your special skills and things you are an expert in.
If applicable, don’t forget to showcase your achievements, recommendations, and certifications. A comprehensive profile not only attracts potential clients but also helps build credibility.
Applying for Jobs
Once your profile is complete, start searching for jobs that match your skill sets and interests. Customize your search filters to hone in on relevant opportunities. During this process, remember to:
- Stay organized by noting down job details and deadlines
- Regularly check for new job posts to increase your chances of landing a project
- Adjust your work preferences over time as you acquire more work experience and project insights
When applying for jobs, crafting a compelling proposal is crucial. In your proposal, always:
- Address the client’s needs and show how you can solve their problem
- Highlight your unique selling points and related experience
- Include relevant examples from your portfolio when possible
- Ask questions to gain a better understanding of the project and to display genuine interest
- Maintain a professional tone and avoid generic language
Following these steps increases your chances of successfully attracting freelance clients and building your career.
6. Create a Personal Website
For freelancers looking to attract clients, having a personal website is essential. In this section, we’ll explore the benefits of having a website, tips for effective website design, and search engine optimization strategies.
Benefits of Having a Website
A personal website is like a portfolio. It shows people your skill sets, your services, and any work you have already done. It helps people understand what you can do and how to get in touch with you.
Having a website can help more people find you. It will make it easier for people to learn about you and trust you. A personal website is an easy way to show you are professional and legit!
Tips for Effective Website Design
An effective website should be both visually appealing and functional. Here are a few tips to help you build a website that will attract clients:
- Choose a domain name that represents your brand and is easy to remember.
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as many clients will access it from their smartphones or tablets.
- Highlight your services and portfolio on separate pages to make it easy for clients to find relevant information.
- Include a call-to-action (CTA) on every page, prompting visitors to take the desired action, such as contacting you or booking a consultation.
- Keep your website updated with new projects, testimonials, and relevant content to show that you’re active and in-demand.
Search Engine Optimization Strategies
To increase your visibility on search engines and attract more clients, it’s important to implement search engine optimization (SEO) strategies:
- Perform keyword research to identify terms and phrases potential clients may use when searching for your services. Then, incorporate these keywords into your website’s content, headings, and metadata.
- Create high-quality, shareable content demonstrating your expertise and addressing your target audience’s needs. This can help you build backlinks, which are important for SEO ranking.
- Register your site with Google My Business and other relevant directories to increase its online presence and visibility in local search results.
- Monitor your website’s performance using tools like Google Analytics to identify areas for improvement and track the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
By following these tips and strategies, you can create a personal website that effectively showcases your skills and attracts freelance clients.
7. Maintaining Client Relationships
Communication Best Practices
Effective communication is crucial in maintaining client relationships. Some best practices include:
- Establishing expectations for response time
- Using clear and concise language
- Keeping clients informed about project progress
- Addressing concerns promptly
Incorporating these communication strategies can create a strong foundation for long-term client relationships.
Delivering High-Quality Work on Time
Delivering exceptional freelance work on schedule is key to retaining clients. Develop a plan to manage your time effectively, which may involve breaking projects down into smaller tasks or using productivity tools like time-tracking software.
Be realistic when setting deadlines and provide updates if there will be any delays. Maintain structure with some fluidity in your workflow, allowing room for client input and feedback.
Asking for Testimonials and Referrals
Word of mouth is a great way to grow your client base! When you finish a job for someone, ask them if they could say something nice about the work you did. This can be used on your website or portfolio to show off what you can do.
You can also ask your clients for referrals, and possibly reward them with a discount or a gift for every new client you have.
Clients are likely to refer you to their network if they have had a positive experience working with you. This helps you gain new clients and strengthens your relationship with existing ones.
The first step to starting a freelance career is deciding what type of services you’re going to offer and who your ideal client is. Then it’s time to secure that first client and leave a lasting impression with your work.
To make your freelance business successful, it is essential to communicate well, manage your time properly and get client referrals. Doing great work and providing good customer service can help you build relationships with clients and get more people to hire you.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that your freelance business remains successful and attracts more clients continuously. Good luck!