There are a variety of resources out there providing help for freelancers on how to get freelance work. When I was a freelancer, I would often visit these blogs and watch these videos. And while I did find some helpful hints, I was often left feeling unsure of what to do next. While there are certainly a lot of things you can try to get more freelance work, I want to give you a tip that I used to get my freelance career rolling.
How to Get Freelance Work
Seek Out Low Hanging Fruit
When starting, new work is tough to come by. Converting someone who hardly knows about you into a paying client is a lot of hard work. You have to win their trust, provide evidence of your competency, and convince them to hand you their hard-earned cash.
Many freelancers get stuck on seeking out work through cold calling and other lead generation technics. It is enough to send any freelancer who is just starting, running for the hills.
Look a little closer.
You don’t have to go to the ends of the Earth to find your first client. Instead, reach out to the people closest to you. See if there is anyone who would benefit from your services.
Try reaching out to these people to start with:
- Work Colleagues
- Your community
Make a List
Go ahead and make a list of all the people you know. Do any of them own a business? Does anyone work for a non-profit organization? Lead a community? Even if none come to mind. Make a list of everyone. You might be surprised at the number of people who could benefit from your services.
It might be a good idea to write to anyone else that might come to mind during this process even if you do not know them personally. Do you have a friend who is a friend with a business owner? Ask her to introduce her friend to you. Let them know upfront if you plan to talk to them. You can also ask to join any activities where you might naturally meet with this person. Keep things natural, and don’t try to force your way on anybody. Be genuine. People can sense when someone has an alter motive.
Transparency and authenticity go a long way.
Now that you have your list of potential customers. It is time to reach out to them. Since you already know these people, you should be able to quickly get in touch with them and let them know about your new freelance business.
The beautiful thing about communicating with people that you already know is that they will be a lot more willing to listen to what you have to say.
Offer Your Services
Once you have made contact, it is time to offer the person your services. You can provide a service to them for free or charge an affordable fee. Keep in mind; you want to give them value. It is not the time to make ‘big bucks’ off of your dear old pal.
Do good work.
Hopefully, an opportunity will arise for you to do some work for a person you care about or a project that resonates with you. Put everything you can into the project but don’t go into significant debt or become bankrupt in the process. Just try hard to do a good job.
If you have done your best, your associate might love their new website or logo and tell their friends. Hopefully, their friends will ask for your services too. Perhaps, they have even more friends who could benefit from your excellent skills.
And so the word of mouth marketing campaign goes. Let someone know what you’re doing. Offer your customers an incredible amount of value. Repeat.
Offering value, helping friends and family are great. But be careful not to allow others to take advantage of you. You are a person — a professional. You can’t work for free all the time. There are bills to be paid and a life that needs living. ‘Exposure’ can only get you so far. Don’t let anyone deceive you by getting services out of you for ‘exposure.’
Here are some tips to help ensure that you protect yourself, your relationship, and your client:
- Put a contract in place.
- Quote the client first.
- Ensure that everyone knows and agrees on the scope of the work — see point #1
- Request a 50% deposit upfront.
- The customer must pay the remaining 50% before the project completion.
- Avoid the job if you sense the project will put a strain on the relationship.
Stay in Touch
I hope you found this article on how to get freelance work useful. Let me know if there is anything that I missed by commenting down below. More resources are coming soon. View my blog for details. Subscribe to my newsletter for more freelancer tips.