It all comes down to one thing… how motivated are you?
Over the past 3 weeks I have seen the market flooded with new freelancers trying to find clients on their own for the very first time. Most of these are individuals that traditionally had worked at an agency, who often times lack experience when it comes to sales.
Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.
Finding new clients for website projects is never easy. Nothing in life that’s worthwhile comes easily though. Like everything else in life, we need to work hard to find clients, and that involves a number of strategies I have found effective over the years.
#1 Have a Portfolio and Personal Website That Stands Out!
Far too often freelancers neglect their own personal website’s because they are too focused on their current projects, or because they are too stressed about finding their first few clients. Your brand, imagery, and website need to STAND OUT among the endless sea of new competition. Why will someone want to hire you to make their website when your own website looks outdated or isn’t user friendly & attractive? Short answer: they won’t. You might make it on your own for a while based on referrals and past business relationships, but those jobs will run out eventually. A great personal site should be easy to use, easy to look at, and must contain a quality portfolio that excites your potential new clients.
If you haven’t worked on enough sites to create a portfolio that feels full yet- start designing sites for imaginary clients! It may seem like a waste of your precious time, but in the long run, the ROI on a great portfolio is limitless.
#2 – Use Facebook
Join a facebook group for freelancers based on the type of website you want to build for clients. If you are using Elementor and WordPress, join an Elementor Freelancers group or even just an Elementor Users group as often times beginners with Website Development will join those groups to find specialists for hire to help them fix problems they don’t want to solve on their own!
Divi Freelancers for Hire is another example of a Facebook group which many of my past projects have come from, as every day there are start-ups and business owner’s posting job listings hoping to find a great client that stands out.
#3 – Work On Your Reputation
Ever went out to eat at a restaurant you’ve never tried without reading their reviews first? Kinda like playing Russian Roulette, isn’t it? Most people rely heavily on reviews and references on something that only costs them $20-$30, so of course people want to hear from your past clients and see the work you’ve done before they spend thousands of dollars on a custom website build out. Always ask your past client’s for a quick review/testimonial, most of the time (if you’ve done good work) they will at least send back a few sentences. Highlight your best reviews on your personal website’s homepage so that anyone thinking about hiring you sees them right away!
#4 – Cold-Calling
This is most people’s least favorite part of working for themselves, the dreaded cold-call. Although we never enjoy emailing random people we have never met- this can really pay off in the long run, especially when you are desperate for a new project to work on. Find a website of a business near you that has a not-so-great website, one that you know can afford the money on a re-design, and send them a proposal along with the reasons a new website is in their best interest. Stop by in person if you have the opportunity and give them your business card! I’ve had multiple long-lasting relationships with clients that started this way, so it’s really a must-do if you want to be successful over the long haul.
Is Freelancing Really For You?
This is the toughest question that many people end up flip-flopping on depending on their economic situation. Being a freelancer is NOT easy! I don’t care how many people tell you they love working for themselves, every single one of them has had their bad days. Whether it’s lack of health insurance covered by their employer, increased tax-stress, or even just the gritty and frugal lifestyle that comes with working for yourself- everyone has questioned whether or not they are cut out for freelancing at some point. At the end of the day some people simply can’t handle the responsibility and work ethic that is required to survive as a freelancer. Make sure you know you even want the very thing it is you are pursuing before you waste too much of your time and money pursuing it! At the end of the day, I’ve personally realized that being a freelancer is a mindset. You can be a freelancer while working for a startup to help pay the bills, or while holding a part-time job. If you’re really motivated, you can even have a full-time salary job while continuing to do freelance jobs here and there when you have the free time.