Once you’ve nailed down your services and pricing, it’s time to actually secure some freelance work. We’ll guide you through the most effective methods for getting freelance work as a beginner.View Video on Loom
Figuring out how to get freelance work can be challenging, especially as a new freelancer. It seems like everyone suggests a different approach, and truly, there isn’t one right answer. To start, though, we recommend focusing on two main strategies: outbound and inbound marketing.
Outbound marketing focuses on reaching out to potential clients to bring them in. Inbound marketing focuses on attracting a client to your services, organically drawing them in to your client base. As a beginner freelancer, you may find yourself doing more outbound marketing, which is completely normal.
When you’re new to the freelance game, reaching out to potential clients will be your best bet. In fact, we recommend focusing the majority of your energy on outbound methods, especially in the beginning of your freelance career.
While inbound methods are valuable (and we’ll discuss them more below), waiting for clients to come to you won’t help you get freelance work fast. Here are the top outbound methods for finding freelance clients:
Think of all the people you know, the people they know, and the people they know. That’s a lot of people.
While dipping into your network can feel awkward, it’s one of the best ways to get your freelancing career off the ground. Consider posting about what services you offer on your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. You never know whose friend or family member is looking for someone with the services you offer. Your post could even make its way to a fellow freelancer looking to hand off excess work.
Bottom line: If you’re comfortable with it, share the services you offer with your network.
Freelancing sites such as Pangea are chock full of clients ready to hire freelancers just like you. While freelancing platforms tend to be a bit more competitive, it’s typically faster to secure clients through them because of how eager clients are to hire. Plus, submitting proposals to clients on freelance websites takes just a few minutes.
Which freelance website is best? We may be a bit biased here, but we recommend starting with Pangea. Pangea is designed specifically for early-stage freelancers. So, clients already know they’re hiring someone with minimal freelance experience. Unlike other freelancing platforms, you won’t be competing for roles at $4/hour -- all freelance jobs on Pangea are $15/hour or more.
Bottom line: Freelancing platforms such as Pangea are a perfect place to find freelance jobs.
Cold pitching is the art of reaching out to a client with no prior relationship to pitch your services. If the idea of this already has you quivering, this method may not be for you. Rest assured, though, cold pitching is common, and when done correctly, can be highly effective.
Bottom line: If you have a dream client you’d love to work with, there’s no harm in pitching them your services. However, be aware that you might not see a substantial return on your investment.
Drawing clients in to your business organically is more of a long-term investment, meaning that you may not see an immediate return on your efforts. However, it may require less work up front as opposed to outbound methods such as cold pitching.
Here’s a few inbound marketing methods to help you get clients:
A website is a simple way to create a place for clients to explore your services. Sites such as Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress make it easy for anyone, regardless of web design experience, to create a fully functioning website.
Bottom line: As a new freelancer, and a new website, it will likely be challenging for clients to find your website through search. Unless you plan on utilizing your website as a portfolio, we recommend starting with other methods for getting clients.
To draw your ideal client in, you can also create a piece of content you know they need, then work on marketing that content. For example, if your ideal social media management client is a hair salon, you may want to create a blog about how hair salons can utilize Instagram to double their client base.
By creating this piece of content, hair salon owners looking for social media help could find it organically, see the services you offer on your website, and may be more apt to book with you.
Bottom line: While this is a solid long-term strategy, it isn’t a solid method for getting your first few clients.
While this may not be the ideal answer, it’s the truth: there isn’t a “best” way to find freelance work. How you source your clients depends on a variety of factors such as how you prefer to work, the industry you work in, and your ideal client.
Diversifying your outreach methods is always a good idea, especially in the beginning stages of figuring out how to get freelance work. That said, if you find that one method brings you more clients than others, direct your energy to that method as much as you can.