When you first start out as a freelancer, you want to get your first client as quickly as possible. You need a quick win, to keep you encouraged. If it takes too long to get your first client, you could get discouraged and decide to quit. Your first client will probably require you to give some sort of discount in exchange for a testimonial. You will want to collect testimonials from as many of your clients as possible. You may not always need to give a discount in exchange for a testimonial, but in the beginning it’s a good idea.
I don’t believe in undercutting yourself by charging less just because you are new to the industry. I believe in charging full price and offering a discount, so your client sees how much your work is really worth. Never discount more than 50%. But all of this is information for you once you’ve got your first client, the question for today is how do you get your first client? Quickly! Let’s get into it.
Tell Everyone You Know
This is one of the biggest mistakes freelancers, especially new freelancers, make. You have to tell everyone you know, about your business. This is not the time to be shy or reserved about what you want to do and the fact that you need referrals. This is the time to tell everyone you know and shout it from the rooftops!
The more people who know what you do, the higher the likelihood of a referral. And don’t just let people know what you do, show them examples of your work so when they’re speaking about your business to others they can speak eloquently.
Check Out Freelance Job Sites
There are so many freelance job sites on the market today, but you have to be prepared for the competition. There are many other freelancers out there vying for the same projects as you. You must decide what will be your value proposition. What sets you apart from the rest of the pack?
The key to winning a project is to submit a winning proposal. We’ll be talking about what goes into a winning proposal next week, but for now just know that your proposal should solve the client’s problem. That should be the focus of your proposal, explaining how you can solve the client’s problem.
Post to Social Media
Let the world see your work. Post your portfolio pieces to various social media platforms. This is especially a good idea if you are a visual freelancer, like a graphic artist or web developer or even a writer. Posting to social media gets your work in front of the eyes of potential clients and the acquaintances of potential clients.
This helps you build a digital portfolio that will catch the attention of those who could possibly pay you for your work. These people will like your work and in turn follow you. Now, they have what they will perceive as a connection. Your social media accounts should also provide value. Whether that be tips and tricks for potential clients or tools that will help potential clients be successful; providing value is key to building clout and clout is why people make purchases.
When potential clients receive your valuable content, they will give you more weight and the more weight you get, the more likely they will be to make a purchase from you. Always be providing value, but don’t forget to sell yourself too. Let your followers know when you are accepting new clients. Sometimes, you may need to post about potential projects that could be beneficial to them.
You could post something about how having a brand guidelines document is a life saver for so many reasons, and then list the reasons. Lastly, remind them you have some room to take on clients. Now, you’ve not just provided value, you’ve pitched yourself and none of it was done in a sleazy way! You have to be creative with your posts to ensure you are adding value and promoting yourself at the same time.
Go to Your Clients
There will be times when you will need to go to your clients. What does this mean? Cold calling or cold emails. Yes, I know, we all hate it, but it’s a necessary evil. There are a number of ways you can do this.
You could create something for the potential client and then email them with a letter of introduction and attach whatever it was you created for them. Say for example you’re a website designer. You may want to build out a new homepage for their website and show them what you can do. Yes, this is time consuming, but trust me when I say it works.
You could also, just write a letter of introduction and outline in the letter all of the value you can bring to the table. This method doesn’t take as much time, but it also isn’t as effective. Whatever you decide to do, be sure you are explaining to the potential client how you can provide value and solve their problems. You have to evangelize to them, as though you know what’s going on in their business. Because you do. I mean, really you do. You should know your target market very well and you should know what they need and what they want.
If you don’t know your target market and you’d like to do the work to get to know them, take my free online course Freelancer to Boss through the free Freelancer to Boss Facebook group. Just head over to Facebook and search for Freelancer to Boss under groups.
The more networking you do, the larger your network will grow. A network is the most lucrative way to find projects. You can network with another writer who has too much work and is able to slide a few projects over to you. Or, you could network with a web developer who is in need of graphic design help on a project she’s working on. This would be a great opportunity for you to make some quick money by working alongside the web developer. Or, you could meet a business owner who needs a virtual assistant, of which you just happen to be.
As you can see there are a multitude of different circumstances you will run into when networking. So how do you network? You can start with a website called Meetup.com. It is a website where groups of like minded individuals get together in person and network around a specific topic. There are business meetups, family meetups, meetups for singles, you name it, there’s a meetup for it.
What you’re looking for is a business related meetup. Join and attend as many of their meetups as you can. This will get you in the room with potential partners and clients. And that’s all for this week. Remember to follow me on Instagram, join my private Facebook group and subscribe to my YouTube Channel, all the details are in the show notes. I hope you enjoyed this episode, if you did, please rate and review. This is how my show gets heard by others, so it’s super important. Thanks again for listening and I’ll chat with you again next week.
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