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How To Get Your First Clients As A New Freelancer

Are you tired of the same 9-to-5 routine and planning to switch to a freelance career?

That’s a big step…

Being a freelancer is nothing like working in a corporate firm where all aspects related to your employment are taken care off. The first few months will be tough on you and you’ll probably start doubting your decision. But, if you’re convinced you can make it as a freelancer, read on because I’ll teach you how to get your first clients and kick-start your freelance career.

You don’t know it yet but everything you’ll share online is going to add up to your online identity and will influence your clients and fan base. Make sure you understand this and start working hard to gain your first clients.

Freelancing 101: How to get your first clients.

Starting your freelancer career can be quite the shock if you’re not prepared for it. You’ll have to take care of every aspect of your business starting from clients, projects but without neglecting personal development and well-being. You can control every aspect of how you do business and interact with clients and other freelancers.

So, how do you do it?

Create a solid online profile to impress possible clients.

Most new freelancers will make the mistake of throwing themselves out there without any safety net and they soon give up.

Don’t be that guy.

Start by signing up on Freelance websites such as Upwork or Freelancer.com and create your freelance image. At the same time create profiles on relevant social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You won’t need these at first but it’s a good idea to have them so you work on them, post successful projects and build your image.

Make sure your freelance profile is 100% complete. Add a portfolio and recommendations if you have any. Take the relevant tests for your niche and try to focus on the problems you can solve.

Start slow by making bids on desired projects while researching and learning how to solve problems and interact with clients.

new freelancer getting clients

Understand your place in the freelance world.

Understand that you’re the “new guy”.

Working and getting clients as a freelancer needs a real shift in your mentality if you’re going to succeed in this field. Nobody is going to hire you at first if you don’t understand your position.

You may have worked for 10 years at one company but that’s not going to influence your possible clients. They need to see work examples and they’re more easily influenced by your pitch (job proposals) than by your work history outside of the freelance website.

You’re the new guy. Nobody likes you. Nobody knows you. 

That’s the harsh truth. You need to make a name of your own and build up your reputation. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Outbid your competitors. Yes, you would normally charge $20/hour for this task but if you want to get the client as a new freelancer, you’ll need to lower your bid. Since you don’t have any successful projects, nobody is going to take you seriously. Consider taking your fee to 50% at least for your first projects.
  • Focus on making the winning job proposal. Your bid has to catch your client’s attention and make him engage in a discussion. You’re not an employee anymore, you need sales skills if you want to get clients.
  • Bid on small projects… and finish them like a pro. If you want to get more clients as a new freelancer, you need a 100% success rate and at least some finished projects. Bid on small projects even if they only pay $20 – $50, you need to have a handful of finished projects before you can catch the big fish.
  • Learn from your mistakes. Being rejected on freelance websites is a normal aspect of freelancing but people don’t really get this. They get discouraged by rejection and fail to follow up on their dream to become a freelancer. If your proposal gets rejected ask for feedback – this will allow you to learn and see what you did wrong.

Create and maintain your Freelance blog.

Even if you’re focusing only on freelance market websites, having a freelance blog on your website is a really smart thing to do. Since you won’t have any real portfolio to show your possible clients, start working on your own freelance blog. Use this as an opportunity to talk about your work field, latest stuff developing in the freelance world and to build your own online image as a freelancer. If you have the time, start writing at least once per week but deliver quality content.

You can use this content in two ways:

  • Showcasing your qualities.
  • Working on your freelancer profile outside freelance websites.

Quality content on your freelance blog will help you get more clients as a new freelancer by allowing you to show work examples but also building an email list for possible clients. You can go on and use these contacts in the future to get more jobs as a freelancer.

Getting new clients as a new freelancer isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Most people don’t realize they need to work harder than they did when they had the full time job. Don’t get disheartened by rejection and work on improving your image.

Understanding all of this will allow you to get your first clients as a new freelancer.

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About The Author

Catalin Baciu

Creative & Experienced Jack of all trades: SM, SEO, Video, Web Content. I'm a really passionate guy who loves to write on topics he knows best. Find me on twitter: @BeardedIronMan