If you’re a freelancer, you probably already know freelancing isn’t just a great way to make money from your armchair. It’s a highly competitive field.
Considering online jobs are more prevalent than ever, especially during the Covid-19 virus pandemic, as a freelancer you have to learn and develop your skills constantly to stay competitive. And all that while grabbing opportunities as quickly as possible.
It comes with perks, but it also has pitfalls. Maybe you don’t get the attention you expected, maybe you get rejected over and over again, maybe your approach is wrong, you struggle to achieve a healthy work-life balance or maybe you’re not managing your time the right way.
While freelancing may seem like a complicated route at first glance, there are actually great strategies for sourcing and capturing new business leads remotely.
And many freelancers are already using them very successfully. Moreover, they are part of their daily routine during the working day.
Whether you’re a full-time freelancer, a person who wants to work from home on the side, or someone who’s just entering the world of self-employment, here are our best strategies that you’ll want to check out to make the most out of your self-employed life and start off on the right foot.
Let’s just jump right into it.
1. Sign Up For A Reputable Freelancing Platforms To Connect With Clients
Just as job seekers are looking for reliable employers, so are employers looking for reliable freelancers.
And you should be where they are – on freelancing platforms. Freelancing platforms are intermediaries between companies seeking freelance talent with individual freelancers.
The platforms facilitate the communication and collaboration activities, and manage payments for the work performed, so you definitely don’t want to waste time (and money) on an unreliable freelance platform.
There are many global, regional, and niche freelance platforms emerging in recent years.
Generally, all of these sites require registration, which is free for most. To register, it is necessary to enter some common data such as your title, expertise, previous jobs, portfolios, etc.
The great thing about these platforms is that prospective employers have public insight into your previous work and feedback from employers you have worked with.
Public praise gives you a better chance of being chosen by future clients.
It is up to you to decide which platform to sign up for. Some specialize in certain industries, while others have room for everyone.
Whichever you choose, be sure to read the rules and regulations well and avoid unpleasant surprises in the future.
2. Create An Outstanding Portfolio You’ll Be Proud To Showcase
If you were to hire somebody, you’d probably want to see proof of their work, right?
The same goes for your potential clients. The portfolio you have behind your work is nothing less than the best advertisement you can have. And nowadays, everyone needs marketing – even freelancers.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend money on marketing your freelance business.
With a little effort, you can enjoy the marketing benefits that will boost your credibility while clearly presenting your work style, skills, and the quality that cooperation with you brings.
You can create awesome professional business proposals to market your business and establish your reputation.
For instance, if you’re looking for clients related to tech, there are proposal templates that you can use on Prospero:
- SaaS Sales Proposal Template
- eCommerce Website Design Proposal Template
- Virtual Assistant Proposal Template
- Content Marketing Proposal Template
- Landing Page Proposal Template
- and more here!
It will help you apart from the competition so you should make the most of it. Still not sure?
Let’s say you have a freelance career as a graphic designer. Since you already have some design work behind you, then you definitely want to mention some big-name brands you have worked with in the past.
With such an impressive freelance portfolio you’re getting a bonus that will increase your level of professionalism, authority, and expertise.
If you are a freelance writer who has created content across a variety of topics and formats, you surely want to brag about your publications that have been published in major news publications, leading media outlets.
Maybe your guest articles are published on prominent blogs and websites in your industry. Wouldn’t you like your future clients to read them and be convinced of your credibility?
Investing time in collecting and presenting your previous work is your best bet for the consistent long-term growth of your freelance career.
3. Attract New Clients Using Instagram
Almost everyone today is on Instagram. And that means maybe your future big client. How many times did you check someone’s Instagram profile before you decided to invest in their product or service?
Probably more times than you can imagine. This is also happening with employers who want to invest their money in people who will represent their brand online.
After they check your portfolio, some of them will also look into your Instagram account.
A few seconds of searching the hashtag #FreelanceMakeupArtist and, at the time of writing this article, there are 1,011,113 posts on Instagram.
Every click can bring potential business cooperation with someone who chooses the work of one of these freelancers.
Those who do not advertise on this social network certainly miss a lot.
You can also take a different approach. You can reach out to your dream clients through this platform and engage with them.
You lose nothing if you follow your favorite brand and send them a simple direct message in which you will express your admiration and desire to become part of their team, right?
Maybe they’re already familiar with you. In any case, It will be easy for them to immediately check your Instagram profile and see if you are a good fit for their company.
And when that happens, you want them to see something good, something you are proud of.
Writers can share their quotes, industry experts can go with Q&A live sessions where they can answer other people’s questions and show their expertise, photographers or illustrators can present their art, etc.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure your feed is worth following, and that you’re finding your targeted niche and engaging with them early on. It will help you establish a sense of familiarity and trust between you and them.
They will want to catch a glimpse of likes and comments on them and what kind of interaction you have with your followers in general so you can even collaborate with some micro-influencers that will help you find the best advocates to advertise your brand.
Imagine yourself as a freelance wedding photographer who wants to build a buzz on Instagram. It comes logically that you want to promote your work, and look for some Top Event and Wedding Influencers who are pretty active on social media.
Reach out to them, share your photographs, and offer them cooperation in exchange for a shoutout or a commission if you receive work due to their referral.
Luckily, you don’t have to do all the work by yourself, you can use the engagement rate calculator that will help you choose a trusted influencer without spending time checking their follower count, and engagement rate.
Your job is just to continue with the great job you already want and love doing.
4. Write A Freelance Proposal That Will Win You Projects In No Time
Let’s say you’re cold-emailing prospects with pitches and you get no response. The first thing you should check is your proposal. Does it stand out from the crowd?
You can have an amazing experience behind you, a ton of your work examples and recommendations but your proposal is the first thing your potential employer sees.
As you might guess, if that doesn’t get his attention within a few seconds, it’s very likely that your prospect won’t even get to your portfolio, he will move on to the next candidate.
Read the job description closely and do your research on the company. Who are they? What are their goals and what are their pain points? How can YOU help them improve their business? What do you suggest? How can they benefit from your services? That’s what employers want to see.
Concrete things that show that you took the time to analyze their business, showcase your skills, and suggest a possible solution.
If they do not want to hire you immediately after they read your proposal – that’s a sign that you need to change something.
If writing is not something you are good at (don’t be hard on yourself, 85% of freelancers have bad writing skills) there are various proposal writing softwares for freelancers that can help you save time and automate the proposal creation process.
Include several samples of your work to show them what you’re capable of and make sure you’re on point. We live in a fast-paced society, where answers are wanted now and no one wants to spend their precious time reading generic things most people write in their proposals.
That’s what separates successful freelancers from the fledgling ones.
5. Get The Word Out – Maybe You Already Have A Group Of Potential Clients Around You
The majority of freelancers find work through their friends, family, old classmates, or even former co-workers and clients.
Actually, according to TrueList, referrals and word of mouth are how 91% of freelancers find jobs. These numbers are pretty impressive so although you may be uncomfortable asking around you should definitely consider that there’s nothing wrong with approaching those who already know how great you are at what you do.
Asking people for a recommendation, job opportunity or help with making connections with hiring companies.
This will show them how passionate you are about your freelance career but also a certain level of self-confidence.
Also think about special networking events, social gatherings, job fairs, meet-ups, co-working spaces, workshops and other offline and online resources to reinforce relationships and search for new connections.
This way you will gather information about a market within your industry while you take every chance to find something that really excites you.
Make connections in your community because opportunities may be all around you! Your favorite restaurant may need a new menu design or food photography.
Maybe your hairdresser needs better SEO for his site. You are in the company of new people? Ask them what they do and start a conversation about what you do for a living.
You won’t know that someone in your environment might need your services if you don’t ask, so don’t be ashamed to get the word out.
6. Manage Your Time Effectively To Maximize Your Productivity
While it is true you can work on your own time and schedule, you surely know nearly all freelancers are time trapped.
This is why you may often be in a situation where it seems you don’t have enough time to finish the work you already have, hit deadlines and look for some new gigs.
So don’t trick yourself into thinking that you can avoid chronic freelance procrastination.
Not only can this make you lose the clients you already have but you may feel overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Staying organized is important. To avoid chaos, make sure you are constantly implementing productivity hacks that make the job of being a freelancer much more comfortable than ever before.
Using these tools can significantly improve many aspects of your work day, including your ability to concentrate, achieve targets, and become more efficient.
Set daily priorities, consider the amount of time required for each task, automate what you can, set a fixed schedule and don’t forget to take regular breaks away from your desk.
The more you strengthen your productivity, the more potential clients you’ll be able to take on without burning out.
A job hunt can be overwhelming under any circumstance, but it can make it even more exhausting when you add freelancing into the mix.
Although at first glance it may seem that it takes a lot of time – this may not be the case.
There are various time-saving tools for freelance business owners that can help you manage short and quick everyday assignments. You will be surprised at how much time you actually spend on certain repetitive actions.
Luckily, those who learn to implement proven strategies enjoy all the benefits of working from home while attracting steady, high-paying clients.
Another suggestion, try Prospero for free to create your own standout business proposals in minutes!
David Morneau is the co-founder and CEO of inBeat agency that helps brands scale their marketing efforts. He has helped over 200 DTC brands to date.