Whether your goal is to become a full-time freelancer or just freelance as a side hustle, you’ll need to find clients. You could wait for clients to come to you, but if you don’t already have a name for yourself, you’ll probably be waiting a while. You need a client search strategy.
A client search strategy will help you find the work and projects you need to stay booked and busy. There are many tactics, but these strategies are the ways I find my clients.
Referrals/Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is my most popular method for finding clients. Referrals have been the easiest way for me to seal the deal because someone I’ve worked with previously has put in a good word for me.
This is why you should always produce your best work. People you work with can either make or break your reputation by their reviews. If clients like your work, they’ll tell everyone. If they don’t, they’ll either say nothing or tell others not to work with you.
When you start freelancing, use the network you already have to promote your services. Word of mouth is still a great, and free, marketing strategy.
Creative Recruiting Agencies
I’ve gotten to work with major brands because of recruiting agencies. Agencies, especially ones who only work with certain niches, are a great way to find clients for big projects.
This is similar to word of mouth, but professionally. Recruiters vouch for you and put your resume in the hands of the right people, allowing you to skip over resume bots and application systems that can overlook you.
I’ve worked with Creative Circle, The Boss Group (now named Cella) and Paladin in the past, but there are plenty of recruiting agencies to use.
Once you finish a project through the agency, you now have a new client in your network. They may have more work in the future and consider you when it’s time to hire another freelancer.
Build a Network of Recruiters
It’s great to have a network of recruiters! They’re the people who know all about job openings, so keeping relationships with them can help you be considered for work.
Don’t just reach out to them when you need a new project, but check in with them to see how they’re doing. You can also add them on LinkedIn and engage with their posts and content.
When building your recruiter network, don’t just talk about how they can help you. A relationship is more than what you can get out of someone, so keep that in mind when building your network.
We all know that LinkedIn is the social network for professionals, but it’s also a great place to find freelance work.
You can find work on the platform’s job board, but you can also use keyword searches and find opportunities that people post on their profiles.
You also want to make sure your profile is up to date. I’ve had many recruiters and clients reach out to me because of my profile. You can also add your portfolio to your profile so visitors can review your work!
Now, I’m an introvert and strongly dislike networking, but it is very helpful for finding potential clients. I’ve been able to get clients on the spot from networking events.
Some people are indifferent about this now, but I’m still a fan of business cards. I’ve been able to pass them out during events and get reached out to weeks later for work.
My advice for introverts: suck it up for a few hours and meet people. You may not have to network as much as your freelancing career advances, but if you’re just starting out, it’s definitely worth it.
Writer’s Work is a job search platform for writers and freelancers that has helped me find some of my favorite clients.
It is a one time investment, but this resource provides a huge list of writing jobs. This platform has allowed me to work with international clients which I think is amazing. It has also helped me grow my network with major brands.
If it wasn’t for Writer’s Work, I wouldn’t have been able to find some of the jobs I’ve had. It’s cool to say that I work with international and major brands because of this platform.
Do What’s Best for Your Client Search Strategy
There are many methods in creating successful client search strategies, but these have helped me. Your journey will be your own, but I’ve found that these strategies have been very helpful in my freelancing career.