Becoming a freelancer is an exciting yet terrifying career move. On one end you have unlimited earning potential, and on the other end, you often start off with zero freelance clients. How to find clients as a freelancer boils down to hard work and knowing where to look.
Things like utilizing your networking, getting referrals, using job boards, posting on social media, sending cold pitches, and going to writing events can all help. Here is how to secure your freelance client!
Tools you’ll need before looking for freelance clients
In order to get your first freelance clients, you'll need to build up your credibility. Here's how to establish yourself as a freelance writer.
Decide what type of writing work you want to do
Before you learn how to find clients for freelancing you need to decide what type of writing you want to do. This will help you locate specific clients who are most likely to work with you.
When deciding, think about your past work experiences and what interest you. With these options, you can choose a topic that you feel most comfortable writing about.
Prepare a portfolio
Having a portfolio is crucial when finding freelance clients. You can create a portfolio using Canva, Google Drive, and other online platforms for creating digital portfolios.
It's important that your portfolio includes links or copies of your published work. If you haven’t been published, include samples of your best-written work such as a blog post or email newsletter. Having a portfolio shows potential freelance clients your writing style and your capabilities.
HARO (Help A Reporter Out), sends out emails multiple times a day with writing jobs that could help you build up a nice portfolio.
Create your ideal clientele
As a freelancer, it could be tempting to want to work with everyone. Yet narrowing down the type of clients you want to work with can help you secure work.
How to find clients as a freelancer starts with identifying who you want to work with. Do you want to work for small businesses, large corporations, entrepreneurs, marketing agencies, etc?
When you figure out who your freelance clients could be, learn their needs and pain points. Think about how your writing services can benefit their business. This will make things easier when you start to approach clients.
Understand your workload
The excellent thing about being a freelancer is, you can set your own hours, take on more or less work, and be the master of your schedule. But if you don’t manage your workload intentionally you may end up biting off more than you can chew.
Have an idea of how much writing you want to do for one client. Do you want to take on several blog posts at a time or produce one article for one business?
Whichever you decide, keep in mind that some types of writing such as articles and blog posts may require extra time to conduct research.
Develop your confidence
Rejections and setbacks are inevitable when figuring out how to find clients as a freelancer. Thus confidence is key when you’re thinking about how to find people and businesses to write for.
To build this confidence, know your strengths as a writer. Understand the value you bring to particular clients. And be okay if some clients are not a good fit for you.
How to find clients as a freelancer
Once you’ve got your tools in place, it’s time to start finding freelance clients. Follow these tips to get your business running smoothly.
Utilize your network
When you’re thinking about how to find freelance clients, you may not think to connect with people you already know. Chances are people in your personal and professional network can use your services but they first have to know what you’re offering.
Try creating a list of former coworkers, or previous business partners, and send a message or email to them to let them know about your business.
You can also connect with friends and family members to not only find freelance clients but also, they can help you spread the word about your new business.
In an article on countingup.com, they suggest finding an appropriate time and bringing up your business in conversation with 2 to 4 people max.
Get referrals from previous work connections
Although this may be your first-time freelancing you can still utilize your previous work connections. Using former work connections is a great way to connect to new groups of people and break into a new market or industry as a writer.
If you worked in a large company or a corporate job, try connecting to people who worked in a different department than you.
Another handy method for how to find clients for freelancing is to reach out to previous clients from your former job. Let them know about the writing services you provide or use them as a reference when approaching new freelance clients.
Use social media
If you googled, "how to find clients as a freelancer", social media would most likely come up as a suggestion. Social media has evolved from a place where people uploaded vacation photos to people running full-time businesses through various platforms.
LinkedIn is a business-focused platform where you can not only find clients but clients can find you. To best utilize this platform, make sure your profile is up to date with relevant experiences.
Make sure to update titles and headliners to address what types of clients you are looking for. In addition, if you're a brand new writer you can start building your portfolio by writing articles and posting them on LinkedIn.
You can also use Instagram and Facebook to share information about your business and share links to your previously published work.
The best way to use social media is to create and post content that is helpful and relevant to your ideal clientele.
Apply directly to publications
Another technique on how to find clients as a freelancer is directly reaching out to your ideal clients. With a simple message, you can offer your services to different individuals or businesses.
Start by sending a letter of interest. This letter should inquire about the needs of a potential client and detail your experience.
If you’re interested in writing for an online or print publication you can look up the publication’s requirements and send a query letter to the editor. In this letter, you will share your article idea and share some samples of your work.
Follow editors and publications on social media
In addition to using social media as a tool for how to find clients for freelancing, Twitter is a great resource. Often editors and other writers will tweet different story topics that writers can submit their ideas for. It’s an easy way to connect with freelance clients.
Start by looking up the publications you'd like to write for and then search for the editors' names which many times are listed on the website.
Utilize job boards and job platforms
Platforms such as Problogger.com, and Indeed, list weekly and sometimes daily job opportunities across different fields.
Elna Clain created a blog post on the best freelance writing job boards. Her list mentions how to use popular job boards and platforms such as LinkedIn, and Fiverr, and join email lists for specific areas such as medical writing, creative writing, sports writing, and more.
Connect with other writers
Connecting with other writers may not lead to finding freelance clients right away but it can be helpful when you need advice or guidance.
By establishing relationships with other writers, you can learn from them and also take on clients when their workload becomes full. Social media is a great place to start.
Go to writing events
Even with all the previous tips, if you’re still wondering how to find clients as a freelancer, you can take your efforts off-screen.
Try searching for writing conferences in your area. At these events, you’ll most likely meet other writers and you’ll learn from professional writers who were once new to the industry and trying to figure out how to find clients for freelancing.
What to do if you’re told no
Now that you’ve figured out how to find freelance writing clients, there is a possibility that you’ll approach these clients and they say no.
It can be uncomfortable and discouraging to be declined but it’s important that you shake off no’s like sand on your skin.
On the blog Talented Ladies Club, they suggest dealing with rejection by continuing to look for new opportunities. Also by focusing on the positive, and using any feedback to grow.
What to do if you're told yes
Once you’ve received your first yes, the question will move from how to find freelance clients to how to manage freelance clients.
To create the best client relationship, it’s important to make sure you accept clients that you truly want to work with.
Next set clear expectations and agreements. Lastly, be sure you have a contract in place to make sure the work is clear for both parties.
Related articles on freelance writing
Want to learn more about freelance writing? Check out these related articles.
- Getting Started As A Beginner Freelance Writer (In-depth Guide)
- How To Become A Freelance Writer With No Experience
- 5 Tips For Managing Clients As A Freelance Writer
Finding freelance clients can be easy!
Now that you’ve found the answers to how to find clients as a freelancer, the next step is following through.
Set small goals for yourself such as sending letters of interest to 6 potential clients a week. Or make weekly social media posts about your business and utilize job boards.
By consistently putting yourself out there you will secure freelancing clients with ease. Remember to look for opportunities and research freelance job ideas, too.