7 Surefire Tips for Finding Freelance Clients

Finding clients is part of the daily life of freelancers. And yes: there is no activity without a customer! But finding clients isn’t just about filling your calendar. It’s also the ability to be able to choose the missions and collaborations you’d like. So how can you easily and quickly find your first and subsequent customers? We share with you all the advices that are essential for your business and its growth.

propose a relevant proposition

Defining your proposal is one step that you have definitely taken before starting out as a freelancer. And good news, all of this information will be useful for finding your customers!

In fact, in order to find and persuade customers, you must first offer them an offer that interests them, that meets a need, that brings something to them. For this it is necessary that:

  • Define who your customers are: We talk about personas in marketing, ie different typical customer profiles;
  • understand their needs, their expectations;
  • Adapt your offer to market demand.

Even though most of the work has already been done, it is now a matter of making sure that the way you communicate your offer attracts and interests your potential customers.

This is exactly the case if you start prospecting by email. It should essentially be personalized and should highlight the match between your offer and the needs of the company.

Beyond the content of your offer, it is also and above all how you are going to present it that will allow you to convince your customers. Defining a logic, clearly explaining your way to cooperate, being transparent about prices are essential elements to successfully find new customers.

Finding clients is a recurring task of the freelancer, right from its launch till throughout its activity. Thus, you should regularly check not only that your offer is still in line with market expectations, but also that it is sufficiently different from the competition.

In the end, it’s worth remembering that it’s not only a question of finding clients, but above all the possibility of choosing missions that satisfy and interest you. And this was definitely one of your original inspirations when you started out as a freelancer! So take advantage of your independent freedom and open yourself up to projects that really appeal to you. You’ll be more confident!

be sure of your work

Now that you have mastered your proposal at your fingertips, you need to demonstrate to your prospects the quality of your proposal and the quality of your work. There are several ways to do this, depending on the nature of your business. But generally, freelancers build a portfolio that they add to when they take on assignments.

Are you starting out and have nothing to put in your portfolio? Don’t wait for your first mission and work on pilot projects to demonstrate your prowess.

More and more freelancers are creating showcase sites to present their work. It is an accessible, modern and flexible solution for website building software. But you can also create a book in paper version, a portfolio in PDF, or even a simple file on a USB key.

The beauty of a showcase site is that you can animate it and enrich it regularly.

Wix Interface, Turnkey Website Building Platform

Finally, to reassure your prospects, it is interesting to share testimonials and opinions of your past customers. This is the most reliable way for your customers to measure your work. You can add them to a section of your website or include them in your book. Also, remember to keep in touch and ask your past clients if they would be willing to provide referrals in the future.

Convince Your First Customers

Your customers’ opinions and testimonials are an effective way to convince your prospects, but it’s not the only one. And good luck to those who start!

According to a study by 404Works, 19% of freelancers have less than a year of experience. How do you find your first clients when you become a freelancer and have little experience? We said it: You don’t need to wait for your first experience or your first customers to start working. Volunteering to complete demonstration projects demonstrates your knowledge, but also shows your interest and enthusiasm for your work. Thus, a graphic designer may communicate various designs that he has already drawn on a professional or personal basis, a freelance translator specializing in the legal field may translate complex texts on this field, an editor that Can blog on a topic that fascinates him.

As much as possible try to deal with topics or subjects that are close to your target customers. That way they can best evaluate your work.

Alternatively, you can offer a loss leader or a free introductory offer. Experienced freelancers can get in trouble with us. But when you win your first contract, sometimes it may be necessary to offer attractive or free prices. Depending on your activity, competition, customers and future collaborations, this is definitely a decision to be taken with tweezers. We do not recommend this for everyone as it may even lead to your offer being rejected. But if it takes time to find your first customers, it’s a solution to consider.

respond to offers

Some clients take the initiative and start looking for freelancers on their own. To do this, they post their ads on one or more freelance platforms.

The most famous include Malt, Crème de la Crème, Codeur.com, Creds, Textmaster and Fiver.

Malt Freelance Platform
Malt, Freelance Platform

All you have to do is select the offers that interest you (and that match your profile!) and apply. You will need to complete your profile carefully. Some platforms are more demanding or restrictive with regards to profiles or types of activity. Registration for Freelancer is generally free and the platform gets a commission on every mission done. But sometimes, subscribing is necessary.

To go further, nothing prevents you from consulting job offers on traditional recruitment sites and applying for some of these offers, specifying the outline of your cooperation if necessary.

Indeed, some recruiting firms or headhunters knowingly offer freelance contracts through these recruitment sites. In contrast, other employers may not consider hiring a freelancer if the position is right. In this case, it is up to you to demonstrate the advantages of a freelance contract and your qualities to meet their needs!

use marketing techniques

If prospecting and promotion are not your forte, then you need to find some other way to make yourself visible. This idea is valid for finding your first customers, but also for the entire life of your business. In fact, even if your agenda is full, it’s important to keep looking for opportunities to anticipate future dips in momentum.

For this, operating a content strategy in the medium and long term seems like an effective way to work on your visibility. Multiple tools support you:

  • blogging on your showcase site;
  • sending newsletters with emailing software;
  • animation of your Linkedin profile or other social network;
  • Broadcasting podcast or video on youtube channel.

Its purpose is to communicate relevant and interesting topics to your target customer while showcasing your skills and knowledge. Again, it all depends on your business. Writing blog posts is clearly relevant for the freelance web writer. A web developer may host podcasts or be invited to podcasts related to more technical topics.

be present on the web

We have already talked about freelancer’s website, which seems essential to us today. But other tools can help you find clients. In fact, we couldn’t make an article on a freelancer’s search for clients without talking about social networks!

According to a 2021 study by Malt and BCG among more than 2,300 freelancers (in France, Germany and Spain), another way for freelancers to find clients is through freelance platforms and social networks.

We start with Linkedin, the quintessential professional social network. Owning and operating a LinkedIn profile is one of the most effective ways to find clients. Not only can you respond to ads, contact potential customers, but they may also come across your profile during their research. To do this, animate your LinkedIn page and participate in discussions around topics that bring your future prospects closer together.

Depending on your customers and the nature of your activity, other social networks may be interesting: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, etc. Try focusing on the one or two most relevant social networks to optimize your time. Facebook groups or specialized forums are also interesting sources for finding your future customers.

activate your network

Your network is also your professional and personal environment. Still in 2021 According to the study conducted by Malt and BCG, about 75% of freelancers in France say that they get their assignments thanks to the recommendations of their personal and professional team. By talking about your activity around you, you will surely pique the interest of some people, who in turn will not hesitate to talk about you around them.

To integrate a community of freelancers, don’t hesitate to attend events for freelancers or entrepreneurs, join a local or online freelancer network, integrate a coworking space. Any relationship can potentially open the door for you to new clients so be open.

One trick often used by freelancers is collaboration between them. A graphic designer and a web editor, for example, may jointly offer their services or recommend one or the other to their clients. These types of partnerships are often very profitable for freelancers, but also for clients who appreciate these simplified connections.

A particularly effective solution is to integrate a coworking space for collaborating with other freelancers.

Finally, if seeking out new clients isn’t really your cup of tea, you can hire a sales agent. He takes care of finding new clients for you in exchange for a commission on your freelance contract.

questions to ask

Where to find clients as a freelancer?

To find freelance clients, you can use social networks (particularly LinkedIn), but also call freelance platforms, traditional recruiting sites, or sales agents.

How to find freelance projects?

Some companies use specialized sites to offer freelance contracts (the malt, the crème de la crème). Your professional and personal network may allow you to obtain a freelance contract through freelance networks, coworking spaces or even Facebook groups. Finally, it is also important to have a showcase site and an up-to-date and active LinkedIn profile.

Can we find clients for free?

Finding clients takes the most time, but may cost you nothing if you take care of this alone: ​​prospecting, promotion, a relevant content strategy, social networks… Some freelance platforms are free, others Get paid and get other commissions on each assignment.

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