*******PREVIOUSLY POSTED JUNE 11, 2012**********
“I would like to pick up some freelance clients. Would love for you to do a blog post about where you find clients.” ~ J.G.
I started freelancing as a side business two years ago. I enjoyed the comfort of a full time income while developing and marketing my brand. Some personality types work well under pressure, but I do not have that personality. My method is more of the “worst case scenario” or “plan B” personality. This means that no matter how the freelance business went, I knew all my bills were paid from my full time job income.
The other benefit of working full time was the knowledge there would always be work because others at the company were in charge of bringing in the clientele. Taking the leap to freelancing meant I had to have clients in order to have a business. I am shy and not very outgoing, so I found it difficult at first to get past my limitations and have the confidence to approach potential client. Below are ways I have found clients.
Ask Your Boss
If you currently work full time, ask your boss if there is a possibility for working on a contract. I loved the company I worked for, but felt compelled to work from home while raising my newborn. I was the only technical writer and they wanted to retain my services. I work from their office once a week, which allows me the ability to “keep my foot in the door” if I ever decide to come back full time.
Initially, this piece of social media seemed stupid in my opinion. I did not feel anything could be done in 160 characters. I WAS WRONG. By following other technical writers, I learned more about my industry through resources they share. I also followed editors as I wanted to jump more into manuscript editing. Explain to others in industry that you are looking for work if they have extra projects to pass on. Also, I follow authors and ask if they need book reviews.
The other benefit of Twitter is that I can post links when my blog is updated, so that brings traffic to my blog as well as the online portfolio.
Although Twitter is a wonderful way to network to get your name out, so is talking to your family and friends. Make sure everyone you come in contact with has your business card and knows what type of work you do. I cannot tell you the number of clients I have received because a friend knew what I did.
I have a posting in the resume section, as well as the work section of Craig’s List. It gives a basic idea of what work I do and it is area-friendly. Sometimes it is nice to work face to face and many clients like that I am local.
Comment On Blogs
Be sure to keep up with your industry. Search online for topics and blogs by not only your peers, but those whose business you are vying for. Read blogs and then add your comments. Every comment you make is a direct link back to your website. When someone enjoys your comment, they want to know more about you. I try to do this at least once a week.
What method do you use to find a new client? Practice step 5 and leave a comment below.