Becoming a Freelancer can be pretty hard during the first months. You work endless hours without making a dollar at the end of the day sometimes. It can be incredibly frustrating, and I bet that the thought of quitting will be constantly on your mind during this period.
However, I want to share with you a few tricks that I discovered that immensely helped me to get clients during this period. The truth is that most of those “tricks” are already being used for digital agencies, but most of us, freelancers, ignore them as we think that they are applicable only for companies. Well, if you are Freelancer, you ARE your own company :)
So the 5 tricks I discovered to get clients as a freelancer are:
1. Be Proactive. Passive Freelancers don’t earn much
We all would love to stay minding our own business all day and only start working on a client’s project after we officially get the job. Unfortunately, this is not how it works. The sad truth is that, if you do that, you most likely will make $0 at the end of the month.
So then, how to be proactive? Send quotes to the prospects that show even a slight interest. If your prospects don’t answer, get back to them with an even more attractive offer. People love to get extra services/products for FREE, give them an e-book that helps them or includes a new small service on top of your previous offer. But be careful, make sure to not to be too “pushy”, it’s important to stop if you feel that the prospect is not interested.
2. Discounts are extremely important, use them
We all like to buy on Sales, right? You feel like you are getting a better deal. The same happens when you are hiring a Freelancer to do a certain Job.
If you are a Freelancer, you definitely want to do Sales “all-the-time”. Of course, the percentage should change, and you should only offer extremely good discounts (e.g., 50%) for specific occasions, like “Christmas” or “Black Friday”. Having said that, every 2 or 4 weeks, you should have a Sale with at least “15% off”. If your price is already pretty tight, I recommend you to increase it to give some room for this discount.
3. Previous work = future work.
One of the first things that you should do as a Freelancer is to build a Portfolio. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t have previous customers, just create some examples so prospects can get a grasp about what you are capable of.
Think about it, would you hire someone to paint a picture if you wouldn’t have seen his/her previous work? I certainly wouldn’t.
Another good idea is to ask previous customers whether you could display the work you did for them in your portfolio. It can be a “win-win” situation for both, as they will also gain exposure for their product (e.g., website, physical product…)
4. Social Proof is everything
This is the most important “trick”. If you need to remember something from this list, please remember this: Ask every customer to leave a review after your work is done.
Prospects will only hire you if they see that your previous customers are happy with the value you provided. For this reason, Freelancers with +1K positive reviews have significantly more work than Freelancers with 10 positive reviews. This is crucial, make sure that your customers are happy with the service you are providing.
5. Find a Niche
This one can be hard, but it’s worth it. You need to distinguish yourself from the rest; you don’t want to be a generic Freelancer. The main reason is that you will be able to charge more money if your work is “unique” or “not so common”. Also, people prefer to hire “specialists” as we tend to think that they will do a better job than “generalists”.
For example, if you are Web Developer, you can specialize in doing websites for wedding celebrations, or sites for businesses in a specific industry (e.g., Oil, Gas).
Of course, it’s essential to do an investigation beforehand to make sure that there’s enough demand in those areas. You don’t want to specialize in something that nobody wants.
BONUS: Ask your customers to talk about your services
Don’t be afraid to ask. Many people know others who could be interested in your services, and they are not going to feel pressured if you ask them nicely. If your customers are happy with the work you did, they will love to recommend you! :)
I hope these 5 tricks helped you to make some actionable for the near future. Please let me know any other suggestions in the comments section.
Have a nice day!