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You’re thinking about becoming a freelancer. Great for you! The freedom and independence of freelancing is a lifestyle that suits many people. However, while you will likely be freer than before, there will also be some challenges ahead. Chief among those, especially at first, is how to get clients as a freelancer.
So, how do you do it? How do you get your first client? It may seem challenging, but it's probably easier than you think. All it takes is decent communication skills, a little bit of self-confidence and an ability to sell and market yourself. Here are three tips to get you started.
1. Tell everyone you know
Your most important resource, especially at first, might be friends and family. Don’t be shy about letting everyone know that you are now a freelancer and looking for work. Try to work it naturally into conversations. Ask them to keep their eyes open for possibilities.
By promoting themselves in such a way, many people feel they are being pushy or impolite. Try to get past this. Because - really - you are not asking for much. And wouldn’t you do the same for them?
You might also want to start thinking about building your wider network right from the start. Try to find interesting networking groups and attend networking events. Modern-day networking events, both in-person and online, are organized to be informal and stress-free - so there’s no need to worry about dressing formally or giving elevator pitches.
2. Develop your online presence
Having a website, even a basic one, is essential in getting clients as a freelancer. And though it might sound intimidating to build a website, it’s actually quite easy and cheap to do. There are many free website builders to guide you along.
Don’t worry about how basic your website is at first. You can improve it over time. Just get your information out there.
While you are at it, you should think about listing your business on online tools such as Google My Business and Bing places for business. When you do, you will be listed in the search engines and can be located on online maps. This is especially important if your business operates locally.
Finally, think about what social media channels potential customers are using and start your own page there. Provide your followers with useful information regarding your line of business.
3. Phone, don’t just email, potential clients
Very often, freelancers try to market themselves by sending out unsolicited emails to potential customers. Sadly, this is not a very effective approach.
Why not try a more direct approach - and one not used by many freelancers? Why not take out your phone and call potential clients directly? Though it might sound old-fashioned, it is possibly the single most effective way to market yourself.
If you are worried about irritating them, remember that you are not some random salesperson trying to sell them something they don’t need. You have done your research, and so you know that you can help them by offering your high-quality services.
Before making the call, be sure you know the goal of the phone call, who is the best person to talk to and what you plan to say. Follow up the call with a thank you email and deliver on anything you promised in the phone call.
Potential clients are all around you! Once you know how to get clients as a freelancer, your possibilities will only grow. And when word spreads of how high-quality and effective you are, marketing yourself will get easier and easier.
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