The most challenging part of becoming a freelancer, at least at the beginning is finding work and paying your bills. In the beginning, you probably won’t know how to find clients. A great place to start is through research and asking businesses what they look for in freelancers. Seek advice from your peers and your network will begin to grow. Start off by aiming for a few clients, even if they are friends or family. Build your reputation. Those first clients you secure means you have validated your service. Most importantly, learn from every experience with clients, what worked, what didn’t and the techniques that convinced them to hire you. Most freelancers start by following the same flawed routine. They build a website, set up their social media profiles and wait for the clients to come for them. By being skilled at what you do is not enough to secure clients, you need to grab their attention and provide a sound reason as to why they should hire you.

1. Offer your take on existing products
Redesign a logo, website or campaign based on the clients you want to reach, with your unique take. Highlight the changes you made and why you made them. Even if you don’t end up securing the client, you still have something to add to your portfolio.


2. Utilize job boards
There are many job boards for freelancers with a range of services. We Work Remotely, Authentic Jobs, Smashing Jobs, Elance, Krop, Fiverr and Freelancer.


3. Use your existing contacts
Send short personalised emails to everyone you know, classmates and co-workers. Mention the services you can provide and the types of clients you’re hoping to reach.


4. Talk to other freelancers in your field
The best advice you can get about freelancing is from a freelancer. These people are a part of your community, not your competition. There are networking events based online and in-person to attend and converse. Check out or post featuring advice from successful freelancers.


5. Create diverse content and make yourself known
If you are a photographer, it’s not about your fancy equipment. If your an illustrator, then draw. If your a writer, then write. Don’t just focus on your craft but open yourself up more to the world. Start a podcast, blog, Youtube channel to build your name. The various outlets will allow you to showcase skills outside of your specialist area.

6. Start for free
Starting up free is something a lot of freelancers don’t want to hear. But in your early days, your reputation needs to come first. This method is sometimes necessary to build your portfolio. If you still have a job that pays, then free work on the side doesn’t seem that bad.


7. Create a useful product
Don’t just rely on finding clients but build goodwill. If you are a web designer, developer, writer or video editor, create tutorials. Show how helpful you can be.


8. Make a list of who you want to work for
Instead of reaching out to everyone, have a well-defined niche. You will better define your audience and make it easier to source potential clients.


9. Before you pitch to anyone, do your homework
Before your pitch, be sure to research the company, take notes with you and present mock-ups of what you are proposing. People are more impressed with someone who comes prepared.


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