Freelance work can be very rewarding on personal and financial levels. Many people are already enjoying the benefits of working from home, as there are 57 million freelancers in the US alone.
If you’re thinking about choosing this career path, you’re also probably worried about how to find customers.
Expanding your customer base and actually keeping it that way can be hard for new and even experienced freelancers sometimes.
That’s why we’ve prepared a list of tips for freelancers who want to find loyal clients and earn a profit from the comfort of their own homes.
It’s actually easier than you think.
Talk to other freelancers
While there are a lot of freelancers out there, you don’t necessarily need to see them as your competition. Freelancers are usually tight-knit communities who offer help and support to each other, and they can be of real help to you, especially while you’re still starting out.
Find a community of freelancers in your field. You can do this through social media, networking events, and associations.
Make new connections and explain that you are new in the world of freelance and ask for advice and guidance. Find out how they started their careers and you’ll surely hear a lot of useful advice.
Write the perfect proposal
One of the biggest hurdles you will face as a freelance worker is convincing a client you’re perfect for the job.
You make a better impression than all of your competitors and convince the client that you are the best person for the job. The only way you can do that is by writing the perfect proposal.
Here is how you can write one that will stand out among an inbox full of other proposals.
Have a captivating opening line
A good opening line is strong and impresses the client from the moment they start reading your proposal and shows you did research before sending your message.
Use the opening line to explain what makes you qualified for the job in a confident way, without being arrogant.
Make sure your potential employer sees that you are ready to be committed toward the project and are ready to invest time and effort into it.
Show off all your strengths
Even though you have a lot of different and useful skills, you don’t need all of them for every job. Learn how to show off your strengths and highlight specific talents based on the needs of a client.
Don’t focus on skills that are irrelevant to the job, as they will be nothing more than a waste of space.
Keep your proposals as short as possible by listing only two of three of your strengths that are related to the job and elaborate on them to show off your expertise.
Include important past projects
When you only have a few jobs under your belt, you need to include all of them in your proposals. But after you’ve done more jobs, make sure to pick only the most impressive ones to put in your proposal.
The client won’t be impressed by just any project, you need to showcase those that paint you as an expert in your field.
Have a visually appealing layout
Without a good and visually appealing layout, the first impression clients make probably won’t be a positive one. Most employers won’t even look at your proposal if it has a sloppy and disorganized layout.
If you want to avoid this mistake and impress your potential clients, you can use a proposal template.
Browse freelance jobs
There are a lot of great freelance job websites that can help you start off your career, and you can use this guide to learn more about them. After you decide which websites work best for your skillset and field, create profiles and start browsing freelance jobs.
Keep in mind that everyone needs to start somewhere. You probably won’t be making as much money as you want in the beginning and that’s normal – you need to prove yourself before you can ask for high rates. Start with low rates you’ll raise over time.
Bid on as many projects as you can and accept all job offers that come from trusted clients. Don’t boast too much about your skills at the beginning, but focus on how you can solve your client’s problems.
You need to do this until you expand your network and you can be selective about the project you choose.
Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, you need to create one right away. LinkedIn is the most popular social network for anyone who is in business.
When we look at LinkedIn statistics, we can see that the platform has 675 million monthly users and 30 million companies.
Keep in mind that most clients look at the LinkedIn profiles of freelancers before they hire them, so an up-to-date profile is a necessity if you want potential clients to take you seriously. There are certain things your LinkedIn profile needs, and they include:
- A good profile picture. Make sure to use a professional-looking picture, and if you don’t have one, take one with professional clothes against a solid background.
- A noticeable headline. Since LinkedIn search results are based on headlines, include your job and field of expertise in your headline.
- An impressive summary. Your summary allows you to delve deeper into who you are, so use it to impress people with your skills and talents.
- Work experience. Include all past work that shows off your experience and expertise and your current role as a freelancer that will show potential clients you are free for new projects.
And don’t forget that LinkedIn is a great place where you can find new clients and they can find you, so always be active on this platform as well as regular freelance job websites.
If you try hard enough, you might even build your own personal brand on LinkedIn.
Know what you want from a client
After you’ve paid your dues by working on any projects you could find, it’s time to think about your ideal clients. Figure out who you want to work for by asking yourself these questions:
- What kind of problem does my ideal customer have?
- Where will my ideal client look for solutions to that problem?
- How can I persuade them I am the best person for their job?
When you have the answers to all of those questions, you can start to source out your prospects. Research companies and individuals that fit the description of your ideal client for a couple of days to decide whether they fit all of your criteria. If they do, make a formal introduction.
Even though you will face rejection, don’t let that discourage you from applying to jobs. Even if a company or a client doesn’t hire you, they will still remember your name.
While you might not be the best person for their current opening position, you could still be perfect for a future job with them.
Start a referral program
Word of mouth is a powerful tool that can help you locate new clients. Referral programs are a popular method of finding clients, with 33% of freelancers using it.
When you have enough faithful clients, you can use them to expand your customer base even further thanks to positive references.
Start a referral program where you will offer your clients certain benefits if they recommend you to people they know.
This incentive can encourage your clients to share your services with their friends and acquaintances, which will earn you new clients and new business.
Some incentives you can offer to clients who bring in a certain number of referrals include free hours or small projects.
As for the new clients, you can offer 15% off the first project for every referred client, a free planning session, or a free extended consultation.
Set up a reward system
A rewards program has a similar purpose to the referral program, and that is to reward your loyal and repeat customers. Even if a loyal client doesn’t bring in new business, they still deserve a reward for their loyalty and repeat business.
One of the most popular choices for a reward system is the retainer system for long term clients. This means you offer discounts who sign a retainer contract for a longer period of time (such as 6 months or 1 year), instead of singing a new contract every month.
This type of arrangement is beneficial for both parties. You as the freelancer will have a more stable and predictable cash flow, while the client will save money in the long run.
More and more people are saying goodbye to old-fashioned desk jobs and joining millions of other freelancers in working from home.
The only thing that worries most freelancers is how to find enough customers, but if you apply all the tips you’ve just read about, you won’t need to worry at all.