Here I will share some easy steps to get your first freelance client. Many people have skills they know they could trade on the internet for a handsome income and free lifestyle.
They are frustrated with their jobs and think they’d love to start a side-income, or they’re without employment and could do with a freelancing income stream.
The biggest hurdle they face is “where do I start?” There are so many false promises on the internet that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up.
However, one simple approach works wonderfully well.
In this short blog, I’ll share the 9 easy steps to get your first few freelancing clients:
9 easy steps to get your first freelance client
1. Create a free offer. It could be a free consultation in your domain, a free design if you’re a graphic designer, a free SEO audit if you’re an SEO expert, etc. It’s important that this offer is something that many business owners need and usually have to pay for.
2. Design a simple post for social media about this offer, asking for their email ID on a link or in the comments. Here’s a sample:
3. Join forums for business owners or freelancers on Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit etc. and post this offer in all such forums.
4. You will start receiving responses if the offer had any wings. Reach out to all the email IDs you receive and send them a Google Form (or something similar) to fix an appointment with you to discuss their case. (If you don’t receive many responses, you may have to rethink your free offer and try this step again.)
5. Once you’ve got a handful of appointments, start calling them and delivering on the promise of your offer. It’s important to be ethical- even if you feel that a particular request won’t convert into a paying client, I’d highly recommend you go ahead with and deliver on the free offer.
6. Tell them exactly what they should be doing for growing their business (in your particular domain). If you’re a designer, for example, you could tell them how their social media presence needs a face-lift with better designs. If you’re a digital marketer, you could lay out a strategy for growing their business. It’s important to give out everything you’ve got at this stage. Don’t hold back your best ideas just because this is free. Why? Because…
7. Make them a paying offer. The way to do this is simple. After you’ve laid out all the things that business should be doing in your domain, you end with one question. “Would you like me to do it for you?” Then pause. Let them speak. The silence can be awkward, but if you’ve delivered genuine value in the free offer, a surprisingly large percentage of people will respond with “Yes”. This is when you move on to giving them a quotation.
8. Make it risk-free. Give them a quotation with a moneyback guarantee. Don’t ask for money upfront. All this is important because you want to minimize the fears in the clients’ head. Since these will be your first few clients, don’t rush to get the money. Focus on learning from the experience, getting some positive reviews from your freelance client, and getting a comfort zone with freelancing.
9. Ask for referrals and reviews. Once you’ve got some clients (or even after the “free” offer), don’t forget to ask these people for any referrals and for reviews on your website or Google page or Facebook page, etc. This is the way to get the wheels rolling, and one freelance client will lead to another and towards building your freelance business.
These 9 steps, if done well, would work for a wide variety of expertise areas. Of course, they won’t work for everyone. If your talent or expertise is an extremely niche area, you may find it harder to find people online who would take your free offer. Nonetheless, the basic principles in this approach would work for any freelancer, even if the ways to reach out to potential clients varies.