It could be a challenge for aspiring freelancers to find clients and new projects besides Upwork and Fiverr, with too many competitors and low rates. Here’s the ultimate list of sources where you can easily find a new client. Moreover, using these methods will help you build your personal brand, which will bring you clients without active searching in the future.
Social media is the first source of good projects for freelancers, coaches, and other professionals who sell services and digital products. The primary strategy is to build a personal brand by networking with people who can become your client and sharing your knowledge to show your expertise. And, of course, use sources–groups and pages–where you can apply for a job directly or interact with a recruiter.
There are several subs you can use for looking for clients: search subreddits «for hire» and add your specialization (for example, «designers for hire»). Some subs are for job posting only, so you can reply on projects you are interested in. Some allow you to post your resume, so use it as often as possible.
Don’t forget to read the rules before posting and commenting. Sometimes you can only reply in private messages; other times, you need to be active on Reddit in other subs for more than 20 days before your first comment in this subreddit.
Also, Reddit is tremendously useful for networking and connecting with other freelancers. If you are a beginner, subs like «freelance» will help you know what is on-demand in your field, how to solve problems, etc. Feel free to ask professional freelance for a piece of advice–they will help you with pleasure.
Do you suppose that Twitter is only for news and entertainment? Many people post jobs and network with good professionals on Twitter. If you want to find a job on Twitter, search phrases like “Looking for a [role],” “Hiring [role],” “Looking to hire a [role]” and put your specialization instead of role. For example, you can search for jobs for graphic designers. Don’t forget to choose recent tweets instead of the top ones.
There are really many opportunities to find work on Twitter!
LinkedIn is another excellent source of jobs. First, this social network was created to help employees find jobs and employers find high-quality professionals. There is a section with vacancies–you can find part-time remote jobs which are likely freelance but more consistent and predictable.
How to use LinkedIn groups? Reply to people’s posts, discuss topics you are interested in, show your expertise, and tell people how you can help and what services you offer. Read the rules carefully: sometimes you can’t directly promote yourself, sometimes you can post your offer once a week, etc. If you break the rules, you will be blocked in a group and can’t post anything in the future.
LinkedIn is a great way to find projects and perfect clients. There are many recruiters and business people who are always searching for a good professional.
Facebook is similar to LinkedIn, but it’s less professional and more entertaining. Still, you can find many good clients for your freelance services on Facebook.
Use the same strategy as on LinkedIn: join professional groups with jobs for your specialization, networking groups, and others where your target audience appears the most. For example, if you are a copywriter, you can search for groups of small business owners and coaches.
Use the “Discover” option–Facebook will suggest groups based on your interests, existing groups and pages, and your friends’ groups–and search for groups with keywords like “freelance” and “jobs.”
It’s not apparent, but Quora is also a place where you can find jobs. Not directly, but by active networking. Your strategy is to find spaces in your field of interest and leave comments that show your expertise (did you catch the idea?). It’s not fast, but if you leave 5-10 comments a week with a link to your website or Facebook/Instagram page, someday, people will come to you and write, “I want to hire you because I love what you write on Quora.” Believe me–it works. That’s how you build a personal brand.
An important note: spaces with jobs won’t be helpful because of the vast amount of spam.
You can create your list of future clients by creating high-quality content and delivering it to the people who can hire you. There is a similar strategy with social media presence, but here is your own space with your own rules. You can post articles and case studies, share free content for signing up, build your mailing list, and directly interact with a warm audience.
Note: The warm audience is people who already know you, so they will interact with you with more interest and readiness to buy something than strangers who see you for the first time. You can build strong relationships with your audience on social media, but it is better to use both ways to increase your online presence and double your chances of finding a job.
I advise you to create a blog on your site first because then you can crosspost your content everywhere: on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Medium, and even Quora, and you will have all the rights with you. No one will delete your blog except you (and your hosting provider if you forget to pay for the next year), while social media don’t give you such freedom and flexibility in using your content. They can delete your post, suspend your profile, and someone can steal your account…
So it is much better if you have your own place to publish everything and then post it everywhere else. I do the same, and it works excellent for me because I increase my online presence in three directions: search engines, social media, and Medium. Also, I build a mailing list that I own and can export or import whenever I want, while I can’t do the same with my followers on social media.
If you want to build a site, you can do it on WordPress or Squarespace. In my opinion, WordPress is better since it has a huge flexibility and customization options: you can sell courses, books, and other digital content (even your services) here, run a blog, grow a mailing list, and everything is much cheaper since you only pay for hosting, and many plugins are free. I use Bluehost and Fozzy for my clients and me.
A significant advantage is that you can create a lead magnet–something valuable and free for your clients–and collect emails to grow your mailing list. It can be a checklist, e-book, or a free course on how to resolve their biggest problem.
Medium is a free platform for blogging. Medium promotes your posts and finds your audience without your involvement. You just write, publish, and see how the followers’ list grows. Still, the best strategy is to repost your site’s articles there (it is allowed on Medium) to twice the chances to find your audience.
What to write in your blogs? Tell people about your job, profession, and case studies. Solve their problems. If you are a social media manager, write how you grow the followers count in your clients’ accounts, post simple strategies for Facebook ad campaigns, and tell how to choose a social media channel for different types of business. People will find answers to their questions, see your expertise, follow you, and when they need SMM, they will come to you–because they already know you and don’t need to look for someone else.
Guest posting is the next good way to promote your services and find clients. You need to find blogs that your target audience reads the most and suggest an article: lifehacks, how-to posts, and some advice on getting the result they need. For example, if you are a Facebook ads expert, you can tell how to find the best images to promote beauty products.
Usually, you can leave the link to your website or social media profile, so if the readers find your article helpful, they can come to you and order some services.
Try to give everything you can in this article: don’t be afraid to spit some secrets, because usually, every case is unique and nonrepeatable.
Don’t forget that publications and blogs you read are not generally that your target audience reads (if only you don’t search for experts in the same field as you).
Partnerships and cross-promotion
Don’t think that business partners are something for a big business. Not at all. You can find partners from the beginning of your freelance career and grow your network of professionals who can recommend you to their clients.
If you are a web designer, you can partner with front-end developers. If you are a copywriter, find marketers and editors. If you are a video editor, the best strategy to find clients is just to be friends with camera operators.
Also, you can run cross-promotion. Find businesses in your field that are not your competitors (other professionals who already became your partners fit). Then, promote them to your audience, and they promote you to theirs in reply. This method will work when you already have at least 500 subscribers on your list.
Google My Business
Even if you are not a local business, you can promote your services on Google My Business. It’s another place where people find you without your active participation.
Create a page, fill in the information about you and your services, and collect reviews–you can ask your current clients to review your work on GMB.
You see that there are many effective ways to find clients without marketplaces that charge you for replies and every order. You can work with clients directly and build a passive clients source. Good luck!