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How to Find Clients as a Freelancer: The Best Strategies & Tips

how to find clients as a freelancer

Freelancers made up 39% of the global workforce in 2023, and this rate will continue to grow. As more companies hire freelance talent, there are many job opportunities. 

But how do you secure freelance work? In this article, we’ll discuss how to find clients as a freelancer, including practical strategies and helpful tips.

Let’s explore various ways you can get clients so you can find what works best for you. We’ll also share templates you can use when reaching out to potential clients.

How to Find Clients as a Freelancer (10 Practical Strategies)

I’ve been freelancing for over five years and have worked with over a hundred clients. Some methods for finding clients are better than others, and what works best for one freelancer might be different for another.

freelancing guide finding clients

Some of the best ways to find freelance clients include:

  1. Freelance newsletters
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Social media
  4. Freelance websites
  5. Referrals
  6. SEO marketing
  7. Networking events
  8. Coworking spaces
  9. Cold pitching
  10. Client retention

1. Freelance Newsletters

Freelance newsletters are emails you sign up for that share job opportunities and helpful freelancing tips.

Newsletters are usually well-organized lists of freelancing gigs with information on how to apply, making job searching more efficient.

Peak Freelance and All Things Freelance Writing focus on freelance writing jobs.

Freelance Opportunities and Kat Boogard are newsletters that share opportunities for various skills, including writing, design, virtual assisting, and social media management.

2. LinkedIn

With over a billion users on LinkedIn, there are endless opportunities for making connections.

In recent months, I’ve started using LinkedIn almost daily to grow my network and find freelance clients.

Here are my top tips for using LinkedIn as a freelancer:

  • Optimize your profile: Share what you do, who you help, and how you help them. List previous job experiences and add work samples.
  • Interact with others: Follow fellow freelancers and companies you’d like to work with. Authentically engage with their content to build connections.
  • Show your personality: Stand out on LinkedIn to grow your business by showing your personality in a professional manner.
  • Share thought leadership content: Create posts that showcase your opinions and expertise.

As you build relationships with other professionals on LinkedIn, you’ll likely come across job opportunity posts. You can also reach out to companies you’re interested in working with. 

To reach a company on LinkedIn, find people in appropriate positions or hiring departments and send them a friendly message to connect. For example, message a marketing manager if you’re a freelance writer or social media manager and share your interest in working together.

3. Social Media

Social media platforms like X/Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can be effective ways to find freelance clients.

Here are ways you can use social media to find clients:

  • X/Twitter: Use the search function to find potential job prospects posts (i.e., “hiring a graphic designer”)
  • Instagram: Create a page for your freelancing business and share content that’s helpful for your target market.
  • Facebook: Join groups that share job opportunities (i.e., Female Freelance Writers or Virtual Assistant Savvies)

4. Freelance Websites

There are several websites and job boards specifically for freelance jobs.

Some of our favourites include:

solis portable wifi

While most freelance clients don’t ask for a resume, job boards and websites usually ask for one. You can use a Canva or Google template to create a resume if you don’t have one.

Read More: How to Create a Freelance Portfolio That Stands Out (+ Examples)

5. Referrals

Word of mouth is how 46% of independent contractors most commonly find jobs, and referrals take a lot of the work out of it for you.

But how do you get referrals? When you’re easy to work with and deliver high-quality work, clients will likely refer you when opportunities arise.

You can also ask for referrals. Although this may feel intimidating, clients are happy to help you when you have a good relationship with each other.

Use this template to ask for referrals:
Hi [client name],

I have some availability and am looking for more [your service(s)] work. Feel free to refer me if you know anyone who could use my help.

Thanks so much,

[your name]

This simple template is casual yet professional and has often worked well for me. Even if your clients don’t know someone who needs your help right now, they’ll know to keep you in mind for the future.

Read More: How to Write a Killer Resume for Remote Work & Freelancing

6. SEO Marketing

SEO (search engine optimization) marketing is a long game, but it’s an efficient strategy for long-term success.

The most successful freelancers think of themselves as business owners. When you’re running a business, you have to market yourself. SEO (search engine optimization) is a marketing strategy where you optimize your website for your target audience.

One of the best tips for SEO marketing is to use keywords in your content that your ideal client is searching for. For example, if you’re a virtual assistant, a client might search for “freelance virtual assistant.” If your content incorporates this keyword, potential clients can find you.

You can use keywords for social media to reach freelance clients, but the most effective way to leverage SEO marketing is with a website.

With website SEO, you can create content that showcases how you can help people who need your services and include keywords people are searching for. Blogging helps optimize your website for SEO and share valuable content.

Read more: 17 Best SEO Tools for Small Businesses

7. Networking Events

Many cities have networking events where professionals get together and make connections. Some networking events are laid-back and meant for socializing, while others are more formal with presentations.

You can find networking events in your area on sites like Eventbrite and Meetup.

You can meet other professionals at networking events and discuss your freelancing business. You might meet people who need your services or think of you when they hear of someone later who does.

Tip: Create business cards on a platform like Canva to give to people at networking events.

8. Coworking Spaces

Not only do coworking spaces offer an atmosphere conducive to working and productivity, but they’re also ideal for discussing and growing your business and meeting potential clients.

While coworking spaces can be costly, they offer many opportunities that make the price worth it. You can also write costs off on your taxes

Coworking spaces usually have various areas to work, coffee, networking events, and other resources for business owners and freelancers.

They also have common areas for socializing with and working alongside other entrepreneurs and freelancers. 

9. Cold Pitching

Cold pitching is reaching out to people or companies needing your service(s). You usually cold pitch via email or LinkedIn and introduce yourself, share why you want to work together, and discuss how you can help them.

Some freelancers succeed with cold pitching, while others find it ineffective. You often contact people who may not need help, which can feel like a waste of time. However, it doesn’t hurt to try cold pitching, especially if you have a specific company you want to work with.

For cold pitching to work, it’s critical to leave sleazy tactics behind and show up authentically by:

  • Only reaching out to people you’re genuinely interested in working with
  • Personalizing your pitches
  • Being straightforward about why you’re reaching out
  • Finishing with a question so the recipient can easily move forward if wanted

Here’s a straightforward, personalized template you can use for sending a cold pitch:

Hi [company] team OR Hi [name] (if you have it),

My name is [your name], and I’m a [your position].

I’m reaching out about potentially working together. I’d love to work with [company name] because [share one or two reasons you’d like to work together and make it personal to their brand].

Other companies I’ve done [your service(s)] are [two to three relevant brands].

You can see some of my work samples here: [portfolio/website link]

Would you like to chat more about possibly working together?

Thanks so much,
[your name]

Remember that people are busy, so sending a quick follow-up is okay if you don’t hear back within one week. 

Your follow-up can be a reply to your previous email and say something like:

Hi,

I’m following up on my previous email to see if you’re interested in potentially working together. [Add link to schedule a call if you offer this]

I hope to hear from you soon,

[your name]

Read more: Freelance Writer Pitching Guide (+ Mistakes to Avoid)

10. Client Retention

Client retention is a simple way to avoid constantly searching for new clients. A recent study by Harvard Business Review also found that if you increase your retention rates by 5%, you can boost your earnings by up to 95%.

While some freelance jobs are one-off projects, offer an ongoing service if you can to retain long-term clients. For example, a copywriter can provide a monthly copywriting retainer for new copy or maintenance.

Here are some tips for retaining long-term clients:

  • Consistently provide high-quality work
  • Stick to deadlines and communicate when you need extensions
  • Ask questions and request feedback to ensure you’re meeting client expectations
  • Continue improving your skills

How to Get Your First Client as a Freelancer

You need to create one or two mock work samples to get your first freelance client. Then, offer a discounted rate in exchange for a review after you successfully complete the project.

It’s easiest if you can find someone you know who might need your services. Otherwise, use a site like Upwork or Fiverr, where many clients look for affordable freelancers.

Once you complete your first few projects, increase your rates and use the above strategies to build your client base.

Bonus Tips for Finding Clients as a Freelancer

With so many strategies for finding clients, figuring out what to do and how can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are our go-to tips for finding clients:

  • Choose a few marketing strategies: Start with one or two methods and increase over time to ensure you continue reaching potential clients.
  • Prioritize marketing/client acquisition: Do this even when you’re fully booked.
  • Add potential clients to a waitlist: Reach out to them first when you need new clients.
  • Set aside time to make new connections: Avoid getting overwhelmed by spending 30 minutes to an hour every workday on this.
  • Stay in touch with previous clients: Check in every few months to stay at the front of their minds for when they need your services again or hear of someone who does.
  • Don’t be afraid to follow up: People are busy, and if they want to work with you, they’ll be grateful you followed up.
  • Maintain a healthy work-life balance: Taking care of your well-being is essential for fully showing up in your business.

We hope this article on how to find clients as a freelancer was helpful to you. If you enjoyed reading, please consider sharing with a fellow freelancer.

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