If you are a freelance writer, graphic designer, or any other type of solopreneur and need to find clients for your business, this article is for you. In these six expert methods we will cover how to find new clients – from cold calling to networking events. This post will help take the guesswork out of finding potential customers and give you actionable advice on how to get started!
1. How To Find Clients Through Networking
Networking is still one of the best ways to find new clients. For me, this was one of the easiest methods for finding clients – but it’s also probably not surprising that networking tends to lead to repeat business.
Doesn’t it feel good when you meet someone who is genuinely interested in you and what you do and wants to help your business succeed?
I love this aspect of networking. Networking is not just about finding new clients, it’s about making connections with other people in the industry. You should strive to be that person for others too! By helping your fellow freelancers out, you can get ahead faster than ever before – and this really works.
When I first started as a freelance writer, I didn’t have a large “in” to the business so I had to start from scratch and network with other writers. Not only did they give me great advice on how to get started (which is especially valuable if you are new!), but many of them became repeat clients too.
There are plenty of networking events out there that you can attend to find new clients, but I’ve also found success in hosting my own. If you don’t have the money to foot the bill for an event at a restaurant or pub, hosting your own is another option. A great way to do this is by reaching out to local writing groups on Facebook. Writing groups are usually very friendly and welcome newcomers.
Another great option for networking is through local freelancer meetups in your community. A quick Google search of “freelancers meetup (your city)” should bring up several results! If you can’t find any existing groups, start one yourself by reaching out to the community and hosting the first meetup at your place of residence!
2. How To Find Clients Through Cold Calling
Cold calling is a great way to find new clients, but it’s also one of the most difficult for some people. I wouldn’t recommend this method as your primary source of finding customers, but if you’re looking for a way to supplement your business, cold calling can really work.
What is cold calling?
Oh, you know – the phone calls from telemarketers asking if you want to lower your credit card rates or switch energy providers. You know what I’m talking about!
Okay, so maybe cold calling isn’t exactly a pleasant experience for most people. But when it comes down to business, cold calling can be an effective way to find new clients. The main thing you’ll need in order to pursue this method is the right mindset!
First of all, you need to understand that not everyone will want or need your services. I’d say at least 98% of calls will go straight to voicemail, but that’s okay! Here are some tips for making the most out of cold calling:
I cannot stress this enough. You will get rejected A LOT (by far the worst part about cold calling). Just pick up the phone and dial again. It can be nerve-wracking at first, but if you believe in your product or service, you’ll do just fine!
Make a Plan
When you’re making calls, have a strategy. I would recommend having a list of potential clients to call and following up with them within a few days. You can find businesses that are hiring in the local phone book or on social media – but if you’re looking for a more targeted list, there are plenty of places to find them online.
For instance, you could do a Google search of “new businesses opening in (your town).” Then make some calls!
3. How To Find Clients Through Messaging Apps
Yes, I am talking about the apps everyone is downloading left and right. If you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… I’m sure you’ve noticed that more and more people are using these apps to get their message out.
While some messaging apps may have a specific audience in mind, they are all designed for connecting with others. So why not use them to find new clients? Here are my top three favorite messaging apps for finding clients!
My top app pick is definitely iMessage. If you have a smartphone or tablet, go into your contacts and search for “freelance writer” or some variation of that. Then send them a message that says something along the lines of: “Hello, I’m new to your area/city/country. I’m a freelance writer and would love to do some work for you! Let me know if you’re interested!”
It’s as simple as that. Make sure the message is short and sweet, though! Not everyone has time to read through long messages on their tiny smartphone screens.
If iMessage isn’t your cup of tea, you can also try Facebook Messenger, the classic WhatsApp, the new Snapchat, and many more. Just pick a few apps and give them a shot!
4. How To Find Clients Through Service Sites
If you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about when I mention “service sites,” here are some examples: Fiverr (for freelancers), Upwork (for freelancers), and even Airbnb (for those who want to rent out their homes).
I know what you’re thinking: “But these service sites already exist! I’m not going to create another one.” You definitely don’t need to make your own website for this, but it’s absolutely worth using existing service sites.
For example, you could create a listing on Fiverr or Upwork. You’ll want to describe your services as well as possible and include any past work samples that will make your case. Then wait for business to come in! In some cases, service sites can be pretty effective if you do it right. But as with every task, you need to be prepared.
5. How To Find Clients Through Events
If you’re looking for clients who are in your city, why not attend some local events? These could include everything from networking mixers to author signings to health seminars.
I know attending events can be time consuming, but it can bring great results! Consider contacting local publishing companies and asking if you can set up a table at an event they’re hosting. You might even consider hiring someone to conduct research for you.
You can also attend events sponsored by professional organizations, such as writer’s groups or groups for entrepreneurs. If you set up a booth at an event like this, you’ll have a great opportunity to meet people one-on-one and sell yourself as a freelancer!
6. How To Find Clients Through Social Media
Of course I had to include social media on this list! Today everyone is online, so of course you’ll want to use all of the popular platforms. What works best for you will depend partially on your personality and what kind of work you do.
Wondering where to start? A great idea is to post a photo of yourself that represents everything that you do as a freelancer. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, take a picture of yourself sitting at your desk with your design software open. If you’re a writer, show a photo of yourself typing away on your computer. You get the idea!
After posting that photo, your goal is to start engaging other people in these groups. Use hashtags and keywords to attract a specific audience, and then feel free to post some links to your work. You might even consider commenting on other people’s posts with something interesting that you’ve written in the past!
The social media world is always changing, so make sure you keep an eye out for new opportunities as they emerge. In fact, you could even try creating your own social media group!
How many clients should I have at one time?
How many clients you have will vary from freelancer to freelancer. Be sure that the amount of work you accept is more than you can handle so that your quality of work doesn’t suffer! But don’t get overwhelmed by an influx of requests, either. Remember to pace yourself and, most importantly, have fun.
How do I handle a client who wants to cancel the job?
Your first step should be to try and negotiate with your client so that you can complete the work. This may mean lowering your fees, offering a discount on a future project, or agreeing to specific terms for resolving any issues after completing the project.
If that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to confront the client. Be polite but assertive at the same time!
What if I don’t live in a large city? Can this still work for me?
Absolutely! It can be easier to find clients for certain services, such as graphic design, in large cities. But no matter where you live, there are always other freelancers who need your help, such as other graphic designers. There could also be opportunities to serve local businesses or offer consulting services. You just have to look for them!
What if no one buys my service?
Unfortunately, this is a possibility. In that case, don’t quit! Think of this as a learning experience and remember that the more you practice, the better your chances of meeting the right client.
In Light Of These Facts
I’ve covered six different methods for finding new clients, but the best approach is to use them all. If you are shy about cold calling or sending emails out of the blue, work up your courage and try it anyway! The worst that can happen is a polite no thank you. And if someone does say yes? You just found yourself a potential client! Comment below and share how these strategies have worked for you.