Freelancing starts with a dream, but without real paying clients that dream will only exist in your imagination.
Knowing how to get clients as a freelancer is often the biggest barrier to entry. How do you attract clients to your solo business? How do you avoid spending countless hours and dollars on marketing with nothing to show for it?
We're covering a few techniques you can use to market yourself as a freelancer and start earning revenue with minimal investment:
Define Your Target Profile
First things first: let's talk about who your ideal client is and how you can identify them.
One of the biggest rookie mistakes in freelancing is going blindly for a sale. You know you have an awesome service, but let's face reality: not everyone is going to be interested in it.
A target profile not only helps you find the highest potential clients, it also helps you avoid wasting time on tire kickers that will never convert. Your target profile is a summary of what your ideal client looks like and how their needs and pain points relate to what you offer.
For example, if you're an epic blogger like me, your best clients will most likely be busy business owners that want to start or grow an online presence, compete in their market, and understand the value of online visibility and thought leadership.
Plus, creating a profile and sticking to it helps you avoid becoming a "generalist" that offers something to everyone. When this happens, your services become a commodity. You start treating clients like a commodity, lunging for any sale you can get, which means your prices will also reflect that of a commodity.
To create your client profile, start by visualizing your ideal client. What industry are they in? Who do they serve? What are their brands like? What specific traits make them stand out?
Once you have a profile, you're better able to start targeting your market to attract those specific prospects.
Connect with Businesses in Your Niche
Once you know who you're targeting, start researching businesses within your niche.
For example, if you want to build websites for restaurants, look for restaurants that have recently opened or are about to open.
Set aside time each day or week specifically for business development. Often times, freelancers aren't able to attract the clients they need simply because they don't make time for outreach. But even though marketing yourself isn't related to the work you do for your clients, it's absolutely essential to keep your freelance business booming.
Make a shortlist of businesses you want to connect with. Do a little background research on the clients they serve, the pain points of their industry, and how your services can help them.
Start reaching out with personalized emails or in-person visits. In either case, your goal here is to find out who the decision maker is so you know who you're marketing to. Once you have their name, you can start building familiarity with your business and services.
Share Your Services on Freelancing Platforms
Given the rise in freelancing, there are tons of platforms that help you connect with clients who are actively searching for what you offer.
Sites like Fiverr, Guru, and Upwork are ideal for bloggers, writers, and digital creatives who want to grow their business. Higher end sites like TopTal can help project managers and web developers find lucrative gigs.
As a veteran Fiverr seller, I can personally attest to the quality of clients on the platform. You can read more about selling on Fiverr in this previous post.
Know How to Get Freelance Clients Before You Go Full Time
One of the biggest wake up calls of a new freelancer is quitting your day job too soon. While you may earn a couple decent new clients that pay well and seem promising, it's important you're able to sustain your finances, especially if one of your clients were to jump ship.
Whether you're new to freelancing or a seasoned pro, knowing how to market yourself is critical to your success. Give your profits a boost and download our free five-day course - How to Market Yourself as a Freelancer.