As a new freelancer, landing your first client can be tough. There are still many old-school techniques and you may have been recommended the dreaded cold pitching method, but I have good news for you. You do NOT have to cold DM strangers to get your first freelance client. (Most business owners don’t respond well to that method anyway.) Whether you’re a social media manager, virtual assistant, writer, developer, designer, or almost any other kind of freelancer, there are clients out there for you and you can likely connect with them on the internet. Today I’m going to share three ways you can get your first gig as early as this week.
But before we dive in, I want to make sure you’re going into this with the right mindset, especially if you’ve been trying to get your first client for a while and feel on the verge of giving up. Remember this: there are endless clients who need your help, at all levels, and new ones pop up every single day with new needs.
Whether you have advanced expertise or basic skills, you can do this! The most detrimental thought you can have is that “there are not enough clients who need my services” or that “there’s no one that will hire me with my current experience or skill level”. There are a lot of freelance opportunities out there, so let’s talk about how to find them.
Let’s start simple, tell people you know about your business! You’d be surprised how many freelancers keep their business to themselves. Share! Even just telling three to five people is way better than zero, but remember, we are not talking about cold messaging here.
This is not a “Hey girl” email you’re going to send to a friend you haven’t talked to since Biology class in high school. This is about connecting with close friends and family who want to support you because they already know and love you.
As a new freelancer, you may not have a ton of client testimonials yet either. Close friends and family can vouch for your character (and expertise if they know about it) so don’t underestimate the power of telling your network about your services
The key is not to overthink the process. You can share your business with friends and family via email or even something more casual like a text, depending on how you typically interact with the person. And if you’re not sure what to say, here’s a script idea to get you started:
Friends and Family Outreach Template:
“Hey [Name]! I hope you’re doing well! I just wanted to send a quick message just to let you know that I recently started a freelance _______ business. I help (person or type of business you help) to (do the thing your customer wants to accomplish) through my _____ services.
If you can think of anyone in your network who might benefit from these kinds of services (or come across someone in the future who could use my help), I’d love to be connected with them. You can always give them my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or share my website (yourwebsitehere.com). Thanks so much for your support!”
Filled-In Outreach Template Example:
“Hey, Aunt Mary! I hope you’re doing well! I just wanted to send a quick message to let you know that I recently started a freelance social media marketing business. I help local businesses to connect with more customers on Facebook and Instagram through my done-for-you social media services.
If you can think of anyone in your network who might benefit from my services (or come across someone in the future who could use my help), I’d love to be connected with them! You can always give them my email address (email@example.com) or share my website (suzysocial.com). Thanks so much for your support!”
If you send this message to 5-10 friends or family members, that’s 5-10 more people who will learn about your business and can potentially connect you to a new client. Word of mouth can be incredibly powerful, so don’t underestimate your friend’s and family’s connections and network!
Another great way to get freelance clients? Set yourself up for the opportunities to come to you! Did you know you can get high-quality freelance jobs sent straight to your inbox on a regular basis?
What any freelancer really needs is a connector. Sometimes that’s a person, but it can also be a community or platform that’s focused on getting businesses served and freelancers paid.
Here are some lists to sign up for to get daily or weekly jobs sent to your email:
SolidGigs: For General Freelancing Gigs, Free for 7 Days then $35 per month
Morning Coffee: For Freelance Writers, Free
Freedom with Writing: For Freelance Writers, Free
FindBacon: For Web Designers and Developers, Free
Now, THIS is my favorite way to find freelancing opportunities on the web: Facebook Groups! However, there are a ton of groups out there filled with low-quality gigs where clients are just trying to look for the cheapest way to get a project done. We don’t want that for you!
Below, you’ll find a list of high-quality, high-value Facebook groups. (And these aren’t the only ones, so I encourage you to look for more beyond this list after you get your feet wet.) What makes these groups different? They don’t allow endless amounts of self-promotion in their group, they believe in helping freelancers get paid well, and they’re consistently offering resources and discussions to help you build a more successful freelance business. Plus, these communities are great places to get support from other freelancers on the same journey as you.
Here’s what you need to do:
Virtual Assistant Savvies: Great for Virtual Assistants, Good for All Freelancers
The Free Mama Movement: Great for Virtual Assistants, Good for All Freelancers
Screw the Commute: For Web Designers and Developers
Boss Moms: For All Kinds of Freelancers
Jobs and Careers Sponsored by Dreamers and Doers: For All Kinds of Freelancers
BONUS: You can also search for system-related Facebook groups. If you have skills related to certain software like LeadPages, Kajabi, Dubsado, etc. Many of these software companies have support groups where people are looking for freelancers to help them complete projects on those platforms.
There you have it! There are your three ways to get your first (or second, or fifth, or tenth) client without cold pitching. You can pick a favorite method or do all three. You could join the job lists, Facebook groups, and send your friends and family message all in the next hour and start applying for jobs today!