Research shows that over 53 million Americans currently work as freelancers, and an estimated half of the American workforce will be freelancers by 2020. However, all is not necessarily rosy for freelancers; it has been revealed that finding work and achieving income stability are the top barriers for freelancers.
If you work as a freelancer, you’re probably struggling to get clients. With over 53 million Americans freelancing, and more expected to join soon, you simply can’t fold your arms and watch and hope to get freelance clients. With the following seven techniques, you can proactively work to get more freelance clients than you can handle.
- Leverage Your Products to Promote Your Services
Many freelance designers and developers create free themes, plugins, graphic packs and other useful products for other people to use, and there isn’t much benefit they derive from this.
If you have a plugin that thousands of people are installing and you are not advertising your services in it, you are missing out. For example, if you have a plugin that helps people optimize their database, you can include a note in the plugin page that you offer consulting aimed at helping people boost their site speed. If you have a plugin aimed at helping people make their site mobile responsive, you can also note that you offer web design help.
Even if your products are paid, it doesn’t hurt to include a note to let people know that you are a freelancer that they can hire for their design needs.
- Partner With Other Freelancers to Get Jobs
If you are a freelance web designer, there’s every probability that your clients will want content for their website when it is finally ready. Since you are not a freelance writer, it is impossible for you to do this job. A mistake most freelancers make is that they let this offer go and forget about it. Instead, you can be creative by partnering with other freelancers and establish a relationship in which you send each other work you cannot do; for example, a freelance designer partners with a freelance writer, and the designer sends his clients to the writer if they have writing jobs. The freelance writer does the same and sends his clients to the designer if they have design jobs.
If done strategically, this alone can serve as a source of more jobs than you can handle for you.
- Partner With Agencies to Get Jobs
Also in line with partnering with other freelancers is partnering with agencies. The only difference is that agencies are more likely to have more job offers than individual freelancers.
You can identify SEO agencies, writing agencies and other agencies, and convince them to start offering design services to their clients while you do the work; they charge their clients more, they pay you a part of it and both you and the agency win.
- Leverage Content Marketing to Get Clients by Blogging
Interestingly, many freelance web designers and developers have set up countless blogs for other people but they do not have one of their own.
According to data from Hubspot, businesses that blog generate significantly more leads than businesses that do not blog. It doesn’t take much effort to realize why this is the case; blogging — in essence, publishing content — means search engines have something to index and rank when people ask questions online. In turn, the people who read this content, if impressed, are potential clients that can use your services. Once you start your blog, use the following techniques to leverage your blog to boost your client portfolio:
- Create in-depth tutorials about what your potential clients are struggling with
- Do occasional critiques of some of the major organizations in the industry of your potential clients
- Try to have articles published on other relevant blogs that link back to you
- Make it clear on your blog, and in your bio in your articles, that you are a freelancer looking for work
- Leverage Freelance Job Boards
Freelance job boards are one of the most popular means freelancers use to get jobs, but a mistake many people make is assuming that you can only get job offers on popular, and often overcrowded, job boards like Upwork.
In reality, there are many popular alternatives to sites like Upwork; not only are these sites less crowded, making it easier for you to get jobs, but they also often result in clients that pay more. They provide opportunities for designers, developers, writers and other freelancers.
- Have a Waiting List for Clients
Pretty much every freelancer goes through the “feast or famine cycle.” The feast or famine cycle is a period where you have a lot of client opportunities at a time and little to none at other times; for most freelance writers, it happens every year. Sometimes, they have more work than they can handle and have to turn work down. At other times, however, they barely have enough work to keep food on the table.
The solution to avoiding this and ensuring that you have work all year round is to create a waiting list; whenever you have more work than you can handle, instead of having to turn clients away, you simply ask clients to sign up to your waiting list and tell them that you will reach out to them once you’re available for more work.
By doing this, you are getting permission from the clients you couldn’t work with to reach out to them when you are finally ready. While not all of them will eventually work with you, a good portion will, and this will ensure you have consistent work at all times.
- Strategic Cold Pitching
Finally, mastering the art of strategic cold pitching will help you get more jobs than you know what to do with, season in and season out.
You will notice my emphasis on “strategic.” We all get those cold pitches that we immediately regard as spam, and our reaction is either to send them to the spam or trash folder. You don’t want to be lumped in the same category as these people.
Here are some tips to help you get results through strategic cold pitching:
- First establish your credibility; if you’ve been featured in a major place, or if you’ve worked for a famous person, start by referencing this fact.
- Make it clear that you know the person you are pitching; through their site, social media or elsewhere. If you’re a stranger, you’ll probably be ignored.
- Tell them about the service you want to offer.
- End by letting them know you’re open to questions/concerns they have.
- If you don’t hear back after a while, follow up.