“All those coffee meetings eventually pay off” — 17 freelancer tips for getting new clients

FreeAgent
FreeAgent
Sep 14, 2016 · 4 min read

From tacking tax to learning how to manage your workload, starting your own business isn’t always a walk in the park in the early days. Once you’ve got the basics set up, one of the biggest hurdles can be finding clients- in fact,when we asked freelancers in a recent FreeAgent survey what they found most tricky when starting out, ‘attracting new customers/clients’ came top of the pile.

If you’re not sure how to find new clients then you’re not alone — here’s how our survey respondents (who’ve started their own businesses and got the t-shirts) approached attracting high-quality clients and building a lasting relationship with them.

Not all clients are good clients

“Follow your gut! If a client seems like a pain they probably will be so turn them down and wait for a good client to come along. If you’re selling a good product or service a good client will always come along. Don’t take the first offer!”
Tom, software development

“Don’t work for free! You don’t need exposure, you need paying clients. Only somebody who doesn’t respect your work would ask you to do it for free or below the market rate.”
Louise, freelance writer

Consider how to position your business to clients

“Think not what you want to offer, but what the customer needs are.”
Paul, digital marketer

“Don’t be a jack of all trades. Find your niche and aim to provide value to a smaller market of clients that require your help.”
John, branding and website design

“If you don’t want to be bouncing from feast to famine then you have to find time to work ON the business as well as IN it.”
Beth, fundraising consultant

Network like crazy, then network some more

“Most business comes from talking to people and making connections.”
David, IT consultant

“Keep your profile current, e.g if you’re on LinkedIn make sure you keep your current clients up to date and ask them to recommend you.”
Ali, Freelance policy and research for the public sector

“Put yourself out there and don’t hide away. Otherwise no one will find you.”
Angela, management consultancy

“Network! Network! Network like CRAZY! Then network some more.”
Jon, brand design agency owner

Talk to others in the same business

“The industry I’m in is more collaborative than I expected. So companies I thought we would compete with, have actually been partners.”
David, working in the digital space

“You can do it! There are lots of people who have started a business before, so finding some of those and asking questions about how to get you going will help immensely. You may discover that it’s easier than you think.”
Justin, structural engineer

Pricing is tricky but never undersell yourself

“Don’t be too cheap, otherwise you end up working long hours for little reward.”
John, audio engineer

“It’s a trial and error situation. Deciding what to charge can and will change, but just don’t let others take advantage of you in the beginning or it will be something they continue to do. You know what you are worth.”
Cyndee, graphic and web designer

“Time track everything — it’s good to itemise your quote then time track using the same items. Makes it much easier when figuring out what to charge people.”
Mel, freelance graphic designer

“Your time is far more valuable than you initially give yourself credit for.”
Lea, graphic and web designer

Be patient — it takes time to build a client base

“Just because someone doesn’t want your services today doesn’t mean that they won’t tomorrow. All those coffee meetings and calls DO eventually pay off!”
Jennifer, trainer

“Be patient. Success doesn’t come overnight and there will be many late nights, frustrations and disappointments. But in the end, it will all be worth it.”
Onder, digital marketer


FreeAgent are on a mission to make life easier for freelancers! Download A Field Guide to Freelancer Finances, a free ebook of practical finance tips and advice by designers, developers and FreeAgent.

“Thank you @freeagent for this very insightful book. Well worth the read #myfieldguide” @amyerose

FreeAgent’s online accounting software is specifically designed for freelancers, contractors and micro-businesses, covering everything from invoicing to tax.

You should try it at freeagent.com

FreeAgent

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FreeAgent

FreeAgent’s online accounting software helps small businesses & freelancers take control of their finances. Try it at freeagent.com.

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