Knowing how to find good clients as a freelancer can mean the difference between success and failure. Or being good at it, to be more precise. You can be the very best freelancer there is. The truth is, if you can’t sell your services or talent, it’s like you don’t even have it. The moment you fail to find good, reliable clients, nothing but problems will follow. You’ll get to work for cheap, which will create financial discomfort.
Also, you’ll get to work with the wrong people, which will create emotional stress. Finally, you’ll get to work more for less money, which will create a work/personal life imbalance. All these things will make you want to give up every day. This is a harsh environment to work in and, eventually, you’ll succumb to it. You’ll find no pleasure in what you’re doing, simply because you found the wrong clients
There are two main sections here. The first one is the “where”. Where do you go looking for new clients? Can you go anywhere, like down the street? If you’re a copywriter, content creator or social media marketer, sure you can. Depending on your skills and domain, you can literally find clients anywhere. The second one is the “who”. Who are the good clients everyone is talking about? How do you notice them above the rest of mediocre clients? Let’s take them one by one.
Where to find good clients
When you’re trying to find new clients, it seems like the Universe is closing up on you. The more vigorous you try to find a new partner, the more your struggles seem to be in vain. The reality is, sometimes it’s more important where you look for your clients than the actual looking. Here is a list of places where I look for new people to work with.
1. Look around
It might be odd to look around you for clients you will work with on the web, but do it. Everywhere you look, there’s the possibility to find a new client. For me, I’m a content creator, which means I can literally go anywhere and find a client. Maybe the restaurant down the street needs a new menu, a new copy for their website or some social media posts. Or maybe the bank that just opened up downtown needs some blog posts. It could be that the barber who cuts my hair wants to go online and needs a website.
Finding clients this way you are ensured with a great collaboration 90% of times. Because you immediately can tell if people really want you to work with them or not. There’s no wasting time, no online jibber-jabber, nothing. You just tell them what you can do, how that’s going to help their business, and that’s it. Look around. Where can your services come in handy?
2. Go where people meet
I’m talking about conferences, press briefings, book launches, openings of bars, restaurants, hotels, you name it. Wherever there are people, you should go. Conventions, fairs, anything. If there’s a chance for you to reach out to new people and hand them a business card, go. Especially if the event has something in common with your freelancing gig, you should definitely go there and meet people.
3. Email people
Another great way to start a new working relationship is by emailing people. They could be old friends that now have a business, people you met somewhere and chatted with for a while, or simply new people you find online and you might be able to help in exchange for money. You can find people on LinkedIn, for example. Grab their email, write them a short text explaining what you do and how you can help grow their own gig, and hope for the best.
It’s more than obvious that these working platforms have been going down for quite a while now. They were all the jist a few years ago. Now, a month goes by easily without anyone reaching out or responding to my job proposals. And I have a 100% Job Success Score, Top Rated profile. It’s perfect. Yet the workflow is so bad, it makes me wonder if I should keep my account or not.
If you’re starting things out, Upwork is a good place to do so. You will find your rhythm by working with a few clients there. You might even be able to score some bigger projects if you’re lucky. Now it’s much harder than in 2017 or 2018, but maybe not impossible. There’s still hope there, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s just not the thing for me anymore.
Who are the good clients
Now that you know where you can look for them, you have to get familiar with the “looks” of the good client. A good client usually means someone who is a) really interested in your field and your previous work, b) really good with what he does, even if that’s not the same thing as you will be doing for him, and c) ready to settle for a long term thing, rather than a week of work. How does the good, ideal client look like?
1. He knows what he wants
A good client has a very short, yet enhanced job description for their job. It’s usually 3-5 lines of text. Here’s who I am, here’s what I do, here’s what I want from you. You don’t need a job description 4 or 5 pages long. If that’s the case, you might as well go work in a company.
2. He is fluent in English
If the client is not able to write in perfect English, which is the language you’ll be using throughout your collaboration together, don’t bother. As soon as you spot the second grammar mistake in their job proposal, or following email/LinkedIn message, leave.
3. He asks for a portfolio/test task
Clients who’ve worked with freelancers before know they should ask for a portfolio item that matches their needs. If the client needs a cookbook, they’ll be asking for a recipe or two that you’ve already written. If you don’t have one, but you tell them you can do it, they’ll ask for a test task. Inexperienced or slow clients will never do so.
4. He will pay you your desired amount
A good client feels your potential. He reaches out to you and then you show him what you can do. If he really appreciates your work and wants you on his side, he’ll pay you the sum you ask him to. Sure, don’t go overboard. If you work for $40 an hour, ask that from your client. He should be fine with it and not try to get the price down to $33, for example. If he does that, he’s not really taking you seriously. So you shouldn’t as well.
5. He wants a long term deal
Most great clients that I’ve worked with stood with me for at least 3 months. I have one client who’s been with me more than 8 months now. I had 3 clients in 2018 who’ve stayed around for 5-6 months. Those are the clients that you want. You want clients who’ll be working with you for at least 2 months. The goal is 6 months or better, of course. You gain not only money but also stability, which is the hardest to get in the freelancing world. That’s more valuable than gold.
There you have it! How to find good clients as a freelancer will always be both a pleasure and a burden. But, do your homework right and you can definitely score some great clients and work with them for years. You need to also remember patience. In freelancing, those who lack patience are just trying thing up. They’re not committed to becoming their own boss.
Most likely, they’re not ready to settle for this lifestyle. Usually, they’re scared, confused or angry at their bosses. They think they should score a great client the minute they look for one. That’s not how this works. Patience is key in freelancing. I’ve said it again and again. Be patient. The rest will follow.