One thing that I notice with many freelancers is they are always asking “how do I get a new client?”. And it’s not just about getting new clients but how to get new clients FAST. This article will be written from the point of view of a freelancer looking for clients not an agency looking for clients.
Let’s go backwards a bit. I’ve been a freelancer since 2007. Not to say that all those years, I was freelancing. But I got used to working from home. My first home-based job was working for an online game publishing company that was based in San Francisco, CA. They did not advertise or list any home-based jobs on their website. I was just really active in their community doing what few people did. While the majority of the online community was playing the game, I was busy making a fansite (I call it a fansite, not a website) for the game. Creating in-depth articles and guides for those who needed help playing the game. These articles included screenshots taken in the game, links to helpful forum posts on the official website, and any assets that the company provided me… yes, I even contacted the company to ask for any material they could provide for my website. At that time, I had no idea what SEO or online marketing was.
Long story short (this post isn’t about my first-ever freelance job), I was able to get the attention of one of the executives in the company after a long period of time and got the opportunity to a paid internship for them. 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. I still have the email that contained the job offer.
This was just my first home-based job. And I was in my first year of university at this time. My boss was asking me every now and then how my studies were going. After my internship ended, I didn’t really look for a job after that, but I did continue working on my own personal projects.
Now here’s a lesson when it comes to getting clients fast: be prepared to show any projects you have done in the past. It’s what you’ve done in the past that shows how ready you are for the job you are applying for and it really speeds things up in terms of how fast the potential client is wanting to hire you.
So after the internship job, I was still in the gaming community up until 2010. I was doing work in online marketing. Maintaining relationships with different companies, gaming forums, etc. Even up until 2011 and 2012 when I started to live in the Philippines.
Now I had my very first office job in the Philippines (technically I did have a small office job doing IT stuff at university back in 2008…) but I did freelancing on the side.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Experience matters. What you do and how you do it.
It wasn’t until I worked for a large SEO agency in Metro Manila for some time that I realized I really wanted to go full-time freelancing. No disrespect to the office world. I just really loved freelancing.
Now here’s the thing: After I decided to commit to freelancing and leave the comforts of having a “stable” office job, what to do next?. How was I going to do this? Did I mention that I was married at this time (2015)?
Truth was, I did freelancing on the side. So how did I make “the leap” or “the jump” into full-time freelancing?
I “faked it to make it” as many would say. I got a full-time freelance job but I didn’t really do the full 8 hours. It’s a risky move but I focused mostly on getting what I needed to do completed in a short amount of time. But basically, I loaded myself up to the point where I could survive if I resigned from the office. How about my finances? Well, my wife had an office job and I had enough savings to keep me above the water. I wasn’t rich by any means.
I felt so much freedom after I resigned but I knew I had to start getting clients and build up my cash flow and income. How did I do this?
1. Have confidence in yourself
No….not just confidence. Even if you truly feel like you are not that good at something, be delusional. Delusional to the point where you are convinced you are good at it. Sometimes you can be good at something but you just doubt yourself. Don’t do that. And don’t just be confident in yourself. Be confident in what you are doing.
Be confident enough that you could literally go into an interview and be told that the client will be interviewing 2 other people after your interview is done and right after the interview finished, you will think to myself “yea…..I got this job” and say it to yourself with 100% confidence. That’s my mindset everytime.
Is it a bad way of thinking? No. if the client turns me down, it’s ok. Rejection is part of the game. Be prepared for it even if you are confident that you will get the job. If you don’t like rejection, do not go into freelancing. Which leads me to #2
2. Master the art of finding opportunities
This is why people are scared of finding clients. Not enough in the pipeline. If you only found one client and have no idea where to find another client, you’re going to be scared to death about getting rejected or the client saying “no” to you. Have confidence in yourself. You have to be good enough to know where to get clients. Plain and simple. If you lost your job today, you should know exactly where to get clients at. Fear of rejection is thrown out the window once you gain the confidence the prospect clients.
3. WHERE to find clients
Ok, here’s the good stuff.
Onlinejobs.ph (for Filipinos), LinkedIn, recruiting agencies, facebook, and your own personal blog. Diversify yourself. I personally don’t use upwork. Not saying you shouldn’t use it….I just don’t use it personally. Though I do use it to hire people for small one-time jobs.
- Onlinejobs.ph is a platform where you can create and manage your own profile for free and apply for as many posted jobs as you want or if your profile is good enough, clients will find you and message you for a job offer. Probably the largest Filipino job boards site online. Don’t worry if you are not Filipino. You just have to live in the Philippines.
- LinkedIn is great if you want to establish yourself as an authority in something. Connect with other professionals and post up your own articles.
- Virtual recruitment agencies have established themselves as the “middleman” in connecting qualified freelancers to potential clients. I personally recommend Virtual Staff Finder. Their requirements aren’t too bad. All they ask you to do is to send them a formatted resume and a couple of personality tests. There might be more but you will have to ask them. Other agencies may have stiffer requirements such as time tracking software, bank account, etc. VSF requires you to commit to an interview time and not negotiate the salary with the client.
- Facebook….this gets tricky because I see people sometimes asking for a job. It works but it depends on how you ask for the job. Saying “Fresh graduate. Will work for good pay. Looking for marketing job. Will send resume to businesses that are hiring.” sounds worse than “If anyone is looking for an SEO for their small business, I’ll do a free audit for you then we can negotiate pay depending on your budget. Anyone need traffic? :)” Sound more specific, exciting, includes a free offer, and it sounds like you actually want to establish a good relationship. I would recommend being part of a facebook group and being active in it. Sometimes people will post up job offers. Facebook ads also works but you have to offer something unique. Example: Promoting a blog post that says “We got this business from page 6 to page 1 in Google. See how we can do the same thing for you!” This is called lead capture but only works if you know what you are doing and works mostly for agencies, small or big.
Personal story: This happened just recently where I was laid off from a job and had to part ways with a small business based in the US. It was an e-commerce business that made revenue from selling organic whole food supplements online via Amazon. Apparently they didn’t need an SEO anymore….at least for the time being. And it was my big paying job. Was I scared when I got laid off? No. I went straight to the recruiter who had first connected me to the job and asked her to find me a new client asap. I also started applying for jobs at onlinejobs.ph. The result: I got me a new job in a week.
4. PROJECT yourself
You can apply for as many jobs as you want, but you will never get hired unless your client is convinced you will be a great asset to their team and their products they are selling. What do I mean by “great asset”? Put yourself in the position of the client. What would you look for if you wanted to hire someone? You want someone energized, excited, positive vibes, great at communication in English, great at taking initiatives, output-based, and has the right skills. The first thing a client sees is your profile picture and headline. Your picture should show energy and excitement. Don’t be afraid to sway away from the traditional black and white picture. Your headline should show exactly what you specialize in.
When it comes to your resume, put your skills at the top. Show projects you’ve worked on. What makes YOU the right person for this job? Capitalize on what you’ve achieved. When it comes to your online profiles, maximize it. What do you want people to know about you? SEO expert? Facebook ads specialist? Insurance advisor? When people see you, they should see what you are all about.
5. Cover letter
Don’t be like other people. Be unique. Don’t worry about saying (or typing) the right words on your resume. Just be you. Focus on telling your potential client why they should hire you. What skills do you think they want? If you want to be hired fast, sound excited for the job. Don’t be shy. “My Skype is XYZ. You can message me at anytime. Will be ready to start working.” The best tip I can give for this is….read other people’s cover letters. You will realized very quickly what kind of cover letters shine brightly and what cover letters fail to impress.
So many people can do SEO so should I be worried about their ability to do SEO better than me? Not really. Very few can do SEO right. So when it comes to competing with other people, I never worry about other people. I focus on me. Focus on yourself, what are your strengths, and what makes you unique. Even if you are not the best, convince yourself that you are great. Here’s an example: There are hundreds of financial literacy and sales training “experts” in the world, yet many people will only follow a few and I can bet you that people are still willing to follow more IF there is something unique that they offer. Top sales training experts don’t worry about their competition. They focus on their own products and prospecting clients and blowing their competition so far behind that they beg for mercy (just kidding but you need this mindset). Finances and sales is a broad field. Different people can specialize in different things. So focus on what you specialize in and become great at it. Be the first person that your client sees. And if that client rejects you, there’s lots of clients out there struggling to find someone…..so be THAT someone.
Last tip: Pressure yourself
Want to work from home? Live “the dream”? Pressure yourself. Just do it. You have no idea how great you can be unless you take yourself away from your comfort zone and just go out there and make it happen. Do it in small steps. Only thing holding people back: doubt and uncertainty. So put some pressure on yourself. Apply for those jobs online. Connect with recruiters and CEOs. Don’t be scared. You think the CEO will reject you? It shows a lot of humility to connect with a CEO and ask for an opportunity then to just sit there and be scared.
Got any tips on how you get clients fast? Reply to this post below or share it with your friends!