Being an introvert really isn't fun at times
It sucks — especially when you need to find your first freelance client. I myself have been struggling with it: I don’t like hanging out with a large group of people; I don’t like having visitors staying over; I don’t like doing group projects; and I HATE NETWORKING (or I suck at networking.) But if you ask other people how to get more freelance work, they will almost always tell you how to go networking at meetups and other socially overwhelming places…
I’m sure those people mean no harm; they are simply trying to help by suggesting things that have worked for them. BUT THEY ARE MOSTLY EXTROVERTS! If I said “pretending to be an extrovert is really exhausting”, they would usually say “What? You just chat with people. Simple as that.” Please tell me I’m not alone.
Now, without me trying to tell you how to become an extrovert (you wouldn't want to anyway), let’s talk about other things we can do to avoid talking to strangers.
1. Talk to people whom you are comfortable with
Friends, family, and other introverts (online) are all very good starting points. Although you might not want to or be able to take money from them, you can ask them to tell other people about your skills and your freelance services.
That way, they will become your salespersons while you, the man/woman behind the curtain, do things you enjoy doing and make cash. They are the ones who are nice to you and have the power to grow your business faster than you can alone, so be extra nice to them.
2. Offer free help to people you admire
The internet is an amazing place: you can get free stuff, play Minecraft, watch Family Guy, and be a jerk on Youtube (which you absolutely cannot do in real life). Sure, it allows people expose their evil sides, but hey, look on the bright side of life, the internet enables everyone’s to connect easily.
Chances are, you learned most of your freelance skills online by reading blog posts, watching tutorials, and following people you admire. If your role models helped you or inspired you, do something for them. This will become tremendously helpful later on, so think of it as an investment of your time.
If they like what you do, they might start to become friends with you (isn't that exciting!!!), or better yet, start sending work to you. Here’s a sample message you can use:
Dear [Person I admire],
Thanks so much for your tutorials on [things I learned], they are amazingly useful!
Thanks so much for inspiring me with your amazing work! I have been studying them and have learned so much.
Here’s something I [built|wrote|put together] for you as a way to say thank you. Hope you like it :D
3. Be thoughtful
Come on, we are introverts; it’s in our blood to be thoughtful. How else can we keep quiet for so long. We think all the time, and that’s why we talk way less.
Now it’s time to turn what’s holding us back into what drives us forward. It’s obviously not saying extroverts don’t think at all, but we just tend to be more observant and attentive to details, and clients LOVE that.
Here’s how to use that as an advantage in a sample email you can send to your prospect, in this case a restaurant owner:
Hello [Mr./Mrs. Prospect],
[Restaurant name]’s food is so mind-blowingly delicious and the service is exceptional! I went there today with my friends, and we noticed a problem with the menu.
[Describe the problem in a polite manner]
We realized that a lot of the dish names sound beautiful but confusing. And the layout design of the menu made hard for us to find the type of food we were looking for ([sushi rolls|steaks|sandwiches]).
I have been studying customer experience in local [Greek|Chinese|Japanese] restaurants and found that most customers are having trouble finding what they want on the menu. This has led some customers pick the dishes they did not like and sometimes that leaves bad impressions on the restaurants.
If you are interested, please check the attachment for a redesigned menu mockup I made based on your current menu.
Please don’t hesitate to reply to this message and let me know what you like or don’t like about the redesign.
A fan of [restaurant name] OR [Your name]
You can clearly see that this is sent by someone analytical, observant, and calm (that’s me :D), and this person is clearly (75% of chance) an introvert.
Try them out!
There, 3 ways to get clients without being a social butterfly. This is just the tip of the iceberg — we introverts can do sooooo much more than that. Sometimes we just need to start small from within our comfort zone, and slowly expand and grow. Now go out and start trying out these techniques; you will be amazed by how much you can accomplish!