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How to Find Freelance Work

how to find clientsFreelancing will keep you on your toes. Not only do you have to be an expert in whatever it is that you do, but you also have to learn how to find work.

The ‘craft’ of many freelancers is generally a solitary one and work is done in a private, or personal, setting. Unlike the traditional work setting, rubbing elbows with people, being social and interacting with others in the industry on a daily basis is generally not the norm. However, to be a successful freelancer, you can’t keep to yourself. You must be social and you must market yourself.

This can be intimidating, if you don’t know where to start or what to do.

Here is a list of things you can do that will help you mix and mingle where you need to so you can find potential clients. The list also contains things you can do to market yourself.

* Ask your family and friends to spread the word about your services to the people they know. Word of mouth can go a long way in helping you find work.

* Send a mass email out to all of your contacts telling them who you are and what you do. You can do this under the guise of offering a limited time discount, introducing a new service, or other business-related message. Mail or email coupons to past, current, and potential clients at least quarterly.

* Ask past clients for referrals, and then offer free consultations to any new referrals that you may get. You may even want to consider giving people a referral fee.

* Start a monthly newsletter.

* Have pens, magnets, calendars, t-shirts, coffee mugs or some other type of promotional item on hand to give to others. Also, consider getting a magnetic sign to place on your automobile.

* Have business cards on you at all times. You never know when you may meet a potential client.

* Place your business cards on community bulletin boards.

* Go to meetings, conferences, seminars and other similar type industry events.

* Accept invitations from your clients, family, and friends and go to their social and/or industry events. 

* Become involved and active in your community’s social events. 

* Join your local Chamber of Commerce.

* Do something free for your community or for a charity.  This type of work can lead to future paying work.

* Advertise in your local newspaper and phone book.

* Buy advertising on websites where your type of client would frequent.

* Buy advertising in trade publications or other type of magazines that would be read by your potential clients.

* List yourself in business directories.

* Send out holiday greetings to past and present clients.

* Consider offering a discount for your products or services around the holidays.

* Offer to do a free blog post on an industry specific blog that receives a good amount of traffic.

* Start your own blog.

* Have your own website.

* Do an online press release. 

* Visit online job boards daily.

* Participate in online message boards and comment on blogs.

* Use your email signature as a marketing tool.

* Make a list of the physical businesses in your community that could use your services and visit them. Convey how hiring a freelancer on an as-needed basis can benefit their business.

* Network with other freelancers in the business. This can generate client leads and keep you in-the-know about the industry.

* Contact other freelancers in the industry that you know and ask them to send their overflow work your way.

* Contact companies or freelancers that offer complementary services and see if they are interested in cross-promoting each others businesses.

* When interacting in social situations, make sure your interpersonal skills are top notch. Be friendly and outgoing, not overly reserved. People want to feel that you are approachable. Don’t come on too strong to potential clients. Build trust first.

*Price yourself right; be competitive. Check out the prices of other freelancers and compare the prices of your products/services with theirs. 

If you follow many of these tips and personalize them to work with your business, it will get your name and services out there. It will also help you come in contact with, and meet, the people you need to be around so that you can find work.

Recommended Reading

For more information and advice on finding freelance work, take a look at the following books:

How to Make a Living as a Writer
How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire
Secrets of a Freelance Writer: How to Make $100,000 a Year or More


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