Seven things freelancers should know about finding clients

Any seasoned freelancer or consultant knows that doing great work for clients is only half the battle. Finding the right clients is often the biggest psychological hurdle for newbies, once they’ve gone through their list of initial ‘friendly’ prospects.

26th December 2008 at 11:52 pm

For freelancers, finding work is a constant battle. Successful freelancers combine great work with relentless marketing, so they never run out of jobs. Here are seven tips to help ensure you’re always busy.

1. Talk about your work

Use every opportunity to tell people what you do. Make sure that your friends and family understand exactly what you do, so they can recommend you if they hear of a suitable position. Leave a few business cards with anyone who wants them.

2. Business Cards

Make sure you always have a few professional business cards to hand. Business cards must look good, and include a phone number, website address, email address and your name!

3. Networking

Networking doesn’t have to mean attending awkward events with lots of old guys in bad suits. Modern networking events tend to be more social and relaxed. You will be able to find a networking event that suits your personality.

If you find it difficult to meet strangers and talk about what you do, it’s important to practice. Networking gives you endless opportunities for rehearsing your elevator pitch: the summary of your business that’s short enough to deliver in the course of an elevator ride.

4. Web Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

So, hopefully you’ve already got a website, but who is finding it? How many enquiries do you get through your website? If your website isn’t doing much for you, start monitoring where your site appears in search results.

If you’re not on the first page for relevant searches, do a bit of research into Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). A few simple changes to your website could help the search engines interpret your site more effectively, and help you climb up the rankings.

5. Cold Calling – Better than Emailing

You might be tempted to bombard potential clients with polite emails asking for work, but that would probably be a waste of time. A tedious, generic email request is easy to ignore. If you really want some work, ask for it personally. Pick up the phone and call people.

A few tips for cold calling:

Know what you’re going to say (prepare a script)

Keep it brief

Be polite

Be friendly

Sound happy

Know what outcome you want

Know who you need to speak to

Don’t take yourself too seriously

Be professional

Don’t waste people’s time.

    6. Social Networks

    Many websites give you the chance to expand your network and introduce yourself to new people. You may also get a link to your website, and the chance to demonstrate that you’re an intelligent, motivated individual who does great work.





    7. Give Away Information, Ideas and Advice

    It might seem like corporate suicide, but it’s an increasingly popular strategy for building relationships. And as people get to know you, they’re more likely to pay for your services. So be generous with advice and ideas, but be careful not to give away the thing that people pay you for.


    These seven ideas are best used together, as part of a holistic approach to marketing. For your business, consider who your clients are, where they are looking, and how you can get in front of their eyes and ears.

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    Leif Kendall

    Leif Kendall is a Brighton-based freelance copywriter.

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