Where to find clients?

Post first appeared on alt.curve

where to find clients-cheat sheet

One of the great things about being a freelancer is that you have the option to choose ‘where’ you want to work and who you want to work with. Once you have an idea about what your USP is you can easily target a niche that is hungry for your services! If you don’t know what I’m talking about then read my ‘branding guide’. Below I am listing out tried and tested ways of finding clients / clients finding you.

  1. Local Recruiting Agents: This might be an odd place to look but you’d be surprised how many businesses look for freelancers through recruitment companies. Generally I have found that you do need be an experience designer to be able to fit the bill, so this might not be the best to start looking for clients if you’re a new designer. Here are few that I have used in the past: Bespoke, Adrem Group, and Indeed.
  2. Local Businesses: This is the most traditional and obvious way to pick up clients. You can target clients by location. A good trick is to map out every business in your area and market to them till they become you customers. You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll be getting busy simply by the word of mouth.
  3. Freelancer Platforms: These platforms are great because you have a huge clientele base ready for you to tap in, however, this option can be a bit tricky because not everything is under your control. Freelancing platforms (online staffing platforms) are websites where people can specify what they want and you have the opportunity to bid on the jobs that you think you can deliver. Here are some that I have used in the past: People Per Hour,Elance / UpWork, Smashing Magazine and a new one Local Solo.
  4. Social Networks: Again, another really obvious choice worth mentioning here; Social Media. It is very easy to post out messages to people or groups, just simply showing off your work or letting people know about your availability. Social Media is a huge topic to cover so I won’t be going in to detail on how you can leverage this to your advantage.
  5. Portfolio Site SEO: I would highly recommend a portfolio site and if you have a website, make sure it is search engine optimised. People don’t do this and it just makes life easy when people can come to you rather than you chasing them all the time.
  6. Local Business Listings: You can get yourself listed in to your local Yellow Pages /  Yelp.This is very useful for locals to be able to search you up.
  7. Targeted E-mail: with the help of the internet it is really easy to find businesses anywhere in the world. You can create yourself list(s) and start to make some calls and send out emails simply introducing your services. A lot of people do frown upon getting random emails so if you can get permission over the phone first then that’s probably even better. These don’t have to be fancy emails, you can simply contact the business’ reception and ask if they’re looking for a freelancer.

The competition is tough no matter which route you take to find your clients, but rest assured that if you’re producing great work your clients will (naturally) keep coming back. I believe there is a saying that 20% of your clients will generate 80% of your income; keep your customers happy!

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