Build an Online Portfolio
One thing a client looks for in a potential freelancer is the ability to deliver. If you are new to freelancing, there's a big change that you will lose out on projects to a more experienced freelancer. After all, clients are spending a lot of money on their projects and they want every penny to count.
Occasionally, a prospective client doesn't just choose the most experienced freelancer, but instead spends the time to review portfolios of rising stars who might offer to work at a bit of a lower rate as they are new to freelancing. This is when you have a chance to convince the client that you are worth a try.
Here are some of the websites where you can list your services:
1. Toptal is for mostly expert freelancers who are engineers. Their clients are bigger companies, such as Udemy, Airbnb, Zendesk, and Gucci.
2. Freelancer is for freelancers to bid on clients' projects. There are a different variety of jobs on there from web design to virtual assistance.
3. Guru is similar to freelancer.com where you can post your listing up and they have a variety of services.
4. College Recruiter is mostly for college and university students to find freelancing gigs to jumpstart their career.
5. Cloud Peeps is a freelance marketplace for top marketing talent.
Spread the Word and Market Yourself
Marketing plays an important role when it comes to landing a gig. You need to make yourself known in places where you are likely to find potential clients. You could meet clients both online and offline and you need to have a marketing strategy for both.
When meeting a potential client in person, maintain a casual and friendly tone. A potential client is more likely to hire you if you can connect with him or her personally, so avoid being too formal. Yes, some etiquettes you learn in business school might be outdated, especially in San Francisco. This is 2017!
If the person doesn't seem interested in working with you right now, transition the conversation into more of a personal chat. Get to know them better and build a good, friendly relationship. Be sure to follow up later and keep him or her in the loop. Who knows? Maybe s/he will need your services in the future!
You are filled with determination and drive, but your proposals aren't getting any response. Don't think of it as something bad; be patient. Sometimes, you need a day or a week to get your first response. Sometimes, it takes up to three weeks and you never know. Based on personal experience, the probability of getting a response is about 15% on average. I got my first contract within a week, and the second within a month. From there on, it gets much better and if you perform well with your first client, s/he will spread the word about your services.
Don't Set Your Rate Too Low
Know your value and be confident during negotiations. If the client asks for a discount the first time they hire you, consider it. You can offer to complete a paid test gig or offer a discount of up to 15%. But it should be more of an exception or a compromise.
Don't Try to Sound Smart
Successful freelancers know the solutions the client is looking for. Tell your clients in easy way to understand how your services will offer to them. If you are a copywriter, you don't win clients by telling them how you can craft organic SEO rich conent. A great copywriter will win clients by telling them how the articles s/he write for them will result in more email subscribers. Focus on the end result, not fancy jargons.
Offer Some Friendly Free Advice, with No Expectations
Sometimes, it is difficult to know who to trust. You will surprise and delight the prospect if you offer a little friendly advice for free. Sometime that they can do to improve their business right away without anyone's help.
You will instantly build rapport and trust, not just because you are showing that you care and that you have done your research- but you are also demonstrating your expertise. This means you will be well on your way to building a solid working relationship with them.
Follow the advice above and you will be sure to get your first client.
Check out our other blog:
Coworking Space: Freelancer's Adrenaline
Social Innovation and Coworking
Benefits of a Coworking Space
Health Benefits of a Coworking Space
Why Meeting Others at a Coworking Space is Good for Creativity
Coworking Space- Freelancer's Adrenaline