The scope for freelancers has indeed grown at an unimaginable pace giving opportunities for every individual who is in expectation for building a better career or venture. In short, freelancing could be understood as self-employment, where one is willing to offer the required services to the clients. However, the services offered would be of the one that the freelancer is skilled or has expertise in, or it can also be the state where the freelancer is progressing to be an expert. About 66% who are full-time freelancers are trying to update their skills to ensure that they can be marketable to face the requirements of the job markets. And what highlights freelancing is, it involves individuals of different age groups, as represented below.
Although freelancing has opened up a wide range of opportunities, it hasn’t proved to be successful for everyone who opts for it. The primary concern is to identify the clients who are distributed worldwide. Despite many efforts taken by freelancers, about 45% of them admit that their clients have stiffed them. This has caused worry among the new entrants of freelance as to how to identify the clients. In order to overcome this challenge, it is important to be cautious and vigilant right from choosing your first client. But then, how to do it?
Clients for any company play a key and irreplaceable role. And businesses are striving to give their best to identify, retain, as well as satisfy them. Just as factoHR.com rightly states, presently, more than 84% of the organizations have gained an increase in their earnings by redefining their customer experience. And when you achieve the loyalty of clients, the business’s growth is inevitable. Freelancers who are beginners desire such growth but are found to be clueless at times in finding their first client. Well, if you are one of them, discover the secret and top tips to land your first client for a wonderful freelancing journey ahead in the next few minutes of the read.
In the given situation, there are numerous opportunities available in different fields to start freelancing. But identifying where you belong is very important in order to find your client. First and foremost, it is essential to identify the skills that you believe you are good at. It doesn’t have to necessarily be one specific skill, but you can discern it according to your ability. According to a study, it was discovered that there are more than 61% who rely on 2 or 3 skills.
Recognizing and developing your skill constantly may help you in reaching your clients. Moreover, if you are good at more than one skill and are capable of handling multiple projects, the chances for the clients to look out for you will definitely be widened. But being unclear of what you are good at and expecting to do whatever the client asks of you isn’t the right way, to begin with. Therefore, take enough time you need to discern what exactly you wish to work on, and once that is identified, you can look out for clients in the same field, as well as it contributes to them reaching out to you.
Once you are sure of your niche, you know very well that you have to look for your clients. But the concern is “how?” The most important aspect here is “trust.” When you gain the trust of people, it is easy to relate and connect with them. However, it was never that easy to get someone to trust us to do fast, with the increasing crime rates. This is where your website and profile come into the picture, bridging the gap that exists. Building a reliable portfolio website and profile benefits in two ways:
- Contributes to your freelance business’s visibility.
- Contributes to reaching out to your target audience.
However, these are possible only if the content of both the portfolio and profile is authentic. Many times, a portfolio is mistaken for an online resume, when they are two different aspects. Basically, in your portfolio, you need to create your own story if you are a beginner by including a few work samples and testimonies, and you can even start writing a few blogs. As a beginner, it is true that you do not have clients to provide testimonies. Yet, you can work on one or two projects for free to your prospective clients and request them to testify for the same. This is to maintain the authenticity we were talking about earlier. And secondly, the option to write blogs on relevant content from where the prospective client can gain something can indeed yield better fruits too.
Along with your portfolio, focus on creating your profile as well. Especially, build a significant presence on social media and manage it well. Indeed, social media has become one of the best platforms for more than 71% of either small or mid-sized businesses to market themselves. And take advantage of its wide platform to reach out to a greater target audience.
Word of mouth is still considered to be one of the strongest and powerful forms of marketing strategy. As we discussed earlier, trust is very important, and gaining the trust of your target audience is possible and more effective with the word of mouth strategy. And thus, never overlook your network, be it your family, friends, your social media networks, and so on.
Such networks can have a huge and unexpected but positive influence on your freelancing career. Request them to help in marketing your venture. If they agree, ask them to make social media posts and tag you for the same. Stats reveal that about 88% of the people express a greater level of trust in a brand if a family member or the family member recommends it. Therefore, lean on your network to a certain extent where it can help you spread a positive word about your venture.
At this stage begins your actual hunt for clients. All the efforts taken till now are sure to have contributed to building your identity. Now it is time to find the right clients to actually begin your dream career. Your website, network, portfolio, profiles, etc., are sure to widen the possibilities to make your career’s presence and existence visible. But then, it doesn’t end there. Now that you have placed yourself to be visible to your clients in all possible ways, it is equally important to identify a few platforms where you can find potential clients. The following image represents a few that are generally found useful by freelancers.
The graph above represents most of the important categories we discussed, such as social media platforms, networks, word of mouth, etc. However, there are other possibilities that you need to be aware of to reach out to the clients. As a beginner, you might not get access to the first aspect of the graph, i.e., the previous client, but apart from this, you can take advantage of third-party sites like Upwork or related ones to help yourselves. It is better to take advantage of all the possibilities that might help you get in touch with authentic clients sooner or later.
With the efforts from the previous efforts, it shouldn’t surprise you if you come across a few contacts to deal with. However, it is important to determine well before moving ahead. As it is your first client, which can bring forth a significant influence on your venture’s future, make sure you get into contracts with reliable businesses. Moreover, a study on freelancers identified that the majority of the clients are from North America, as represented in the image below.
Once you identify the client, start pitching. However, a simple tip is to not use the same content for all your clients. Try to be creative and ensure you make a new approach every time. Moreover, take into consideration everything possible to have clarity between you and the client in terms of timings, practices, requirements, etc. Go through the client’s website, check their domain, and other relevant factors that convince you of accepting the job. All these are to ensure that though it is your first client, the impact can be significant, as this is what, to a certain extent, predicts the future of your venture. However, the prediction is subjective and may differ accordingly. Thus, once you have a strong conviction, go ahead and pitch the client in such a way that they feel excited to connect with you.
Let’s take, for instance, that the prospective client you identified is happy to connect with you. But make sure that the contract is not fully agreed upon until your payment is decided. Generally, there is a notion that you begin selling your services for a lesser price during the initial stage. However, it doesn’t go well for every business. To understand this better, in 2018, Upwork revealed a statistic saying that more than 51% of the freelancers would never want to take up a traditional job for whatever the amount is, once they choose to freelance. The stats show the conviction that as freelancers, the trust you have in your skills and potential to prosper in your venture. Then why settle in for lesser pay? Well, therefore, it is strongly recommended to be reasonable in your pricing strategies, though it would be your first opportunity.
Before making your decision on prices, look for recommendations, speak with those who are familiar, or surf through the internet to have an idea of how much to quote. You can even benefit from the below image that shows the average earning for different fields.
It is completely fine to negotiate, and do not hesitate to do it when needed, as pricing indeed plays a key role. Once both are in agreement and happy with whatever is decided, move on to signing your first contract and celebrate the joy of your first freelancing job.
Today, the rate at which freelancers are booming is really great, where most of them opt for it as a choice out of willingness rather than a necessity. And the choice made in the expectation of a bright future shouldn’t be let go in vain. Just as the first step matters, so does the first client, whose project can have a great influence on your venture. Therefore, take the necessary steps, follow the right flow with determination, and identify your first client, giving the best to for yours as well as the client’s satisfaction, assuring the possibilities of other clients as well.