If you’ve decided to give freelancing a try, that’s fantastic! I started freelancing full-time in early 2018, and haven’t looked back. That said, getting started can be a challenge. And, landing that first client can seem like a daunting task. Here are five steps to help you find your first freelance client.
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1. Determine What Services You’ll Offer
Before you start your freelancing journey, take some time to think about what services you plan to offer. Of course, this will be dependent upon your specific niche. Start by listing all of the areas of expertise you have within your niche. Then, focus on two or three that you feel can bring the most value to potential clients.
As your freelance business grows, you can expand your offerings and may have opportunities to develop additional skills. For example, I had the opportunity to re-design a website for a client. I’m not a web designer, and was clear about my abilities with my client. However, my client was confident that I could complete the work and I was excited about the chance to stretch my knowledge of web design. The project went well, and we were both pleased with the new site.
With that, I wouldn’t have agreed to work on the project if I wasn’t sure that I could meet my client’s expectations. So, while it’s definitely okay to consider projects that will expand your skills, be sure that you can deliver the expected results.
2. Set Up a Website and/ or Blog
If you’re going to freelance, whether as a side hustle or a full-time pursuit, you’ll want to set up a website and/ or blog. You’ll need to be able to quickly direct potential clients to examples of your work and, in most cases, a website is the best way to do this.
At some point, consider adding a blog component to your website. This will help you stay current on trends within your industry, and can also set you apart as an authority in your field. If you need help getting your site up and running, check out my tutorial on how to start a blog.
3. Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Once you have your game plan in place and your website set up, don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile. This can be a great way to find that first freelance client, as well as subsequent clients. Okay, full disclosure – before I started freelancing, I didn’t even have a LinkedIn profile. It was just something that I hadn’t prioritized. Now, I can’t imagine not having one. Not only has it been extremely helpful in connecting with potential freelance opportunities, I’m also able to connect with others in my field and keep an eye on new trends and changes within my industry as they happen.
4. Reach Out to Your Network
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network and let them know that you’re launching your freelance business. (I was amazed at the support and encouragement I received!) You can do this through your LinkedIn profile, social media, or good, old-fashioned word of mouth. (That’s how I landed the web re-design job.) 🙂
The important thing to remember is that you are your own best “PR” person. You know your skills, goals and plans for your business, and no one can promote it like you! Plus, the more you reach out and share about your new venture, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel about it.
5. Join an Industry-Related Group
Industry-related groups are a great way to network with others in your field. For example, there are several elearning-related groups that I follow on LinkedIn. These groups can help you connect with others in your field, and often provide discussions, articles and other information on the latest happenings. There are even groups dedicated to those who freelance. Research what’s available in your industry and consider those that you feel best align with your objectives.
These steps are designed to help you find your first freelance client. What works for you? Share a comment below and let me know!
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