How to Get Clients: 10 Best Ways to Land More Freelance Work

by Ali Luke


Do you feel like every other freelancer knows exactly how to get clients … and you don’t?

Perhaps your friend has just posted on Facebook about an amazing gig she landed. Meanwhile, you’re refreshing your inbox, hoping that just one potential client will finally get back to you.

Getting freelance clients doesn’t have to be this hard.

Whether you’re struggling to find new leads, wondering how to target your ideal customer, or unsure how best to follow up, these tried-and-tested tips will help.

We’ll also take a look at a couple of really common freelance issues: how to get clients fast and how to find prospective customers with no experience.

Ready to learn how to get freelance clients?

Let’s get started.

How to Get Clients as a Freelancer

1. Let Friends and Family Know That You Want More Clients

how to get clients woman shouting on bullhorn

One simple way to expand your client list, especially when you’re just starting out, is to spread the word among friends and family. Even if they don’t need your services, they might know someone who does.

Plus, you might be surprised. An old friend from college may need copy for a Twitter or Facebook ad campaign. Or your sister-in-law might need SEO content for her small business website.

If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never know.

Tip: Keeping it old-school by emailing friends and family to tell them about your freelancing? It’s a great way to reach them… but make sure to leverage social proof by posting on social media too. That way, your friends can tag people in a Facebook comment or retweet your news to their followers.

2. Contact Past Colleagues to Tell Them You’re Freelancing

how to get clients woman calling colleagues

Do your past colleagues know you’re freelancing?

Even if you’ve moved into a new field, someone might be glad to hire you for their side hustle.

Be careful about contacting current colleagues if you’re freelancing around a day job. Your employer may have rules against working with fellow members of staff. Plus, it could create awkward dynamics in the office.

Tip: LinkedIn is an easy, no-pressure way to get in touch with colleagues, so make sure you’ve updated your profile and connected with your old coworkers.

3. Join a Business Organization, Forum, or Group

how to get clients business group

Whatever type of freelancing you do, there are relevant groups you can join. These include large, formal organizations, subscription-based membership sites, free Facebook groups, local business groups, and much more.

Figure out where your ideal client hangs out.

If you do web design, don’t just join groups of fellow designers. Join groups for business owners and startups, where you’re more likely to meet a potential customer.

Tip: Be realistic about how much time you can devote to this. It’s better to be an active member of a few groups than to join dozens of groups that you never have the time to use.

4. Take on More Work for Your Existing Clients

how to get clients taking on more work

Would you be happy to have more work from your existing client base? Then tell them! They might be delighted to hire you for more projects.

A few weeks ago, I noticed one client’s invoice was lower than usual. When I emailed the invoice, I let them know I had some extra time available in the upcoming weeks. They started sending more work almost immediately.

Tip: You can contact past clients even if you haven’t worked together in a while. Let them know that you enjoyed working with them in the past and you have some time available if they’d like to work with you again.

5. Ask Your Existing Clients for a Referral

how to get clients referral meeting

What if your clients don’t have more work for you? They might well know a new client who does, whether that’s another business owner or a personal friend.

Ask your current clients to pass you on to anyone else they know who could use your services. Many clients will be glad to do so, especially if they’ve known you for a while.

Tip: Some existing clients may just give you a name and email address for their contact. Mention the connection when you email the new potential client. This is much more likely to get you in the door than a cold email would.

6. Send Strong Applications to High-Quality Gigs on Job Boards

how to get clients problogger

There are lots of freelancing job boards that list new gigs every day.

Perhaps you’re a veteran of these sites, perusing all of them with your morning coffee. Maybe you apply for everything you see … but you’re still not landing jobs.

With online job boards, it pays to be choosy.

Focus on high-quality gigs that pay a decent rate. Craft a personalized application for each job. And take the time to select the most relevant samples of your work to send.

Tip: Don’t spend ages looking through lots of different job boards: you’ll end up seeing the same jobs over and over again. Pick a few good-quality sites and stick to just those.

7. Create a Blog or Website as Your Online Homebase

how to get clients ali luke website

If you don’t already have a blog or website, create one. It’s an easy way to showcase your work, it helps you attract new clients and build a relationship with them, and it makes it easier to find you online.

Your website doesn’t need to be perfect from day one. You can start with a simple, one-page website to establish a basic online presence, adding to it over time.

Tip: If possible, use self-hosted WordPress for your website. It’s hugely popular and gives you lots of options. There are plenty of tutorials and videos online to help you get your WordPress site started.

8. Get to Grips With SEO So Prospective Clients Can Find You

how to get clients google seo

To grow your audience, and to lead prospective clients to your site, it’s important to understand the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). This helps your site rank highly in Google and other search engines.

Plus, if you’re a freelance writer, having a good grasp of SEO basics lets you take on a wider variety of gigs. If you can write a blog post, product descriptions, or sales copy, clients will be delighted if you can incorporate SEO best practices.

Tip: Basic SEO marketing isn’t as complicated or technical as you might fear. A big part of it is simply using the same words and phrases that your ideal clients would type into Google when trying to find someone like you online.

9. Write Guest Pieces for Other People’s Websites

how to get clients guest blogging webpage

Guest blogging is a long-established content marketing tactic that gets your name out there, spreading the word about your small business. It simply means writing a piece of content for someone else’s site.

When you’re a guest on someone’s blog, they’ll normally give you a bio at the end of your post. This is where you can tell readers what you do and link to your website or include your email address so they can hire you.

Tip: Some websites will pay for guest posts, though you’ll often face a lot of competition for limited slots. Keep in mind that even if you don’t get paid, you can still use your post as a valuable published sample of your work.

10. Stay in Touch With Potential Clients

how to get clients man calling clients

Sometimes, people will visit your website to check out your services, but they won’t hire you right away. Or, they might contact you for a quote, but then disappear.

Make sure you have a good system for staying in touch with potential clients. This might be an email list that they can join, or it could simply mean reaching out occasionally to a prospective client who received a quote but didn’t buy.

Tip: If you have an email list, offer an incentive to encourage potential clients to sign up. Think about what might be helpful for them – perhaps a downloadable checklist. Include your name and website address (as a minimum) on all materials: you could also include a short paragraph about your services.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Get Clients Fast?

What if you need clients right now?

Maybe you’ve got a big bill due, your laptop needs replacing, or you just want to splurge on a vacation.

The following two methods won’t work if you use them too frequently. However, they’re super-effective for occasional use, and they should bring in clients fast.

1. Offer a Discount for a Short Period

If your freelancing rates give you some wiggle room, offer a limited-time discount. This could mean cutting your rate, e.g. offering blog posts for $150 instead of $200. Or, it could mean adding something, e.g. four blog posts for the price of three.

What if a discount won’t work easily for your business?

Offer a one-off service. This also lets you branch out or try something new. For instance, if you’re a writer, you might offer a temporary blog writing service even though you normally do copywriting.

Tip: Use this marketing strategy sparingly. If you offer discounts like clockwork every three months, clients are going to come to expect that. You’ll end up getting a huge rush of work at those times with not much in between.

2. Let People Know You’ll Be Raising Your Prices

Increasing your prices may seem risky, but if you generally have a good amount of work and you want a quick extra boost, it’s highly effective.

Tell your existing clients and contacts that you’ll be raising your prices next month. Explain that if they book now, they can lock in your current price. This can nudge potential clients into hiring you if they haven’t got round to it yet, and it’s also highly likely to bring in extra work from your current clients.

Tip: If you haven’t raised your prices for more than a year, it’s probably time to increase them. The cost of living will have gone up and your freelancing skills will have grown.

How Can I Get Clients With No Experience?

What if you’re just getting started as a freelancer and you don’t have any experience yet?

A couple of good places to begin are to:

1. Make the Most of Any Experience You Do Have

Chances are, you have some experience in your freelance area.

This doesn’t need to be paid experience to be worthwhile.

Gather together any experience that you do have. If you’re a freelance writer, this might be your best pieces from your own blog or from Medium, pieces you’ve written for a local magazine or newsletter, or even something you wrote for your college or high school newspaper.

Tip: If you really don’t have any experience yet, write a great piece for Medium. You can use this as a sample when applying for gigs. Alternatively, do some pro bono work for a small local group or charity: they’re likely to be very grateful and happy to supply a testimonial.

2. Try Big Freelancing Marketplaces

While sites like Upwork, Textbroker, and Fiverr often get a bad reputation in the freelancing community for race-to-the-bottom prices, they’re worth a look when you’re just getting started.

Your initial assignments might be at a lower rate than you’d like, but you can use these as samples to attract better-paying clients.

You’ll be gaining useful real-world freelancing experience (plus some money) in the meantime.

Tip: Focus on topics that you’ll want to write about in the future. Relevant experience will make it easier to land gigs from your ideal clients.

How to Get Clients… Starting Today

Getting more clients might be much easier than you think. Reach out to at least one of these groups today:

  • Your friends and family: Facebook is a great place to do this. Let people know what you do, and ask them to spread the word.
  • Your former colleagues: LinkedIn works well for this. Check your profile is up to date, and create a post to tell your network about your freelance work.
  • Your existing clients: Email is usually the best method for this. Tell them you have time available and you’d love to do more work for them.

Soon, you’ll have plenty of freelance work … and you’ll never worry about how to find clients again.

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Ali Luke

Ali Luke has been freelancing full-time since 2008, writing for sites including Copyblogger, ProBlogger, Craft Your Content, The Write Life, and more. Her blog Aliventures has tips to help you make the most of your writing time.


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Photo of author

Written by Ali Luke

Ali Luke has been freelancing full-time since 2008, writing for sites including Copyblogger, ProBlogger, Craft Your Content, The Write Life, and more. Her blog Aliventures has tips to help you make the most of your writing time.

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