10 Ways To Find Your First Client (Or Get New Clients Fast!)


I asked hundreds of freelancers “What’s the biggest problem you face in your business?” Almost always, the answer is the same – GETTING CLIENTS! 

Finding your first client can seem like an impossible task when you’re just getting started.

Whether you’re just starting out or have hit a wall in your business, these suggestions will quickly help you get new clients.

10 Methods for Getting Freelance Clients

#1 Build a portfolio website

Having a website will help with every suggestion in this post. This is why:

  • It gives people something to talk about when referring you or talking about you.
  • You can showcase your work in a portfolio or a blog.
  • You can display your services along with a contact form so that people can easily reach out to you.
  • It helps you project a more professional look. There are so many unprofessional freelancers out there that simply having a simple website will help you stand out. Making the time to create a website demonstrates to potential clients that you are serious about your business.

Create a WordPress website that describes who you are, what you do, and who you serve.

#2 Tell Your Family and Friends

So, while your mother is unlikely to pay for a new website or social media strategy, she may know someone who does.

Your friends and family may have valuable connections that can lead to your first (or next) client.

Take the time to craft a thoughtful email in which you explain why you’re starting your own freelance business. Tell your connections about what you do and the types of people or businesses you want to help. Request that they forward your information to anyone they know who might be interested in your services now or in the future.

You can motivate people to use your services by offering a limited-time ‘friends and family deal.’ Sweeten the deal by offering them discounts, limited-time offers, or giveaways.

#3 Use your existing network

With so many people starting their businesses and more companies hiring freelancers, you never know who in your network might need your services.

Your network extends beyond the people you see on a weekly basis. Consider the big picture and go way back (e.g., classmates, former coworkers, professors and teachers, and former bosses).

Find some of these people on LinkedIn (or Twitter if you’re already friends with them) and reach out to strike an interesting conversation. This is much easier if you’ve kept in touch with people over the years and they recognize your name in their inbox. If it’s been more than a couple of years, try sending a social media message to re-establish contact before asking for any favors.

Send an email or a note inquiring what they’ve been up to and where they’re at in their career, and inform them of your new venture. You don’t want this to be a one-sided conversation. Be genuine and helpful rather than pitchy and pushy. You can develop meaningful, long-term professional relationships that are far more beneficial than a one-time gig.

#4 Share on social media

I didn’t want to share anything about freelancing on my personal Facebook profile for a while when I first started. I use Facebook to stay in touch with friends back home and to share amusing memes, not to promote myself.

But everything I read told me to forget about it – and so I did. I wrote about how I quit my job to start my own business. I received several congratulatory comments and messages, as well as inquiries from others who wished to do the same.

When an old friend saw it, he texted me. He had started his own company and was doing extremely well. We ended up collaborating, and it turned out to be my largest contract ever. It was all because I got over myself and announced that I was looking for clients. Long story short, it’s going to be worth your while.

Begin by editing your bio to see if you can gain some traction on social media. Add a description of what you do and a link to your portfolio or website to each social channel you use – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Next, declare that you are now open for business! Make a personal update about what you’re up to and why, similar to how you’d email your friends, and let people know they can contact you for work. Request that your social media contacts share the news with anyone they know looking for a freelancer with your skillset.

#5 Join Facebook Groups

Joining Facebook groups in your niche is another way to use social media to find clients.

Facebook groups have grown in popularity in recent years, and there are groups for almost any topic you can think of. Find a few in your niche and join to gain access to a community of people.

How to Get Clients Using Facebook Groups:

  • Find groups that are relevant to your interests. If you find one, your right sidebar will be filled with related groups.
  • Spend some time reading the group rules and looking through the posts to get a sense of the group and its members.
  • Introduce yourself to the group, describing who you are, what you do, and how you can help. At this point, don’t ask for anything.
  • Respond to questions. Be helpful. Create connections. Don’t pitch or simply post links to your “Hire Me” form.

It may take some time, but people will recognize your worth, begin to recognize your name and see you as an expert in your field. You’ll quickly become the group’s go-to person!

Depending on your niche, you might be able to find your target audience by using LinkedIn or Slack groups.

#6 Attend networking events.

I despise networking just as much as the next person, but it’s a necessary part of being a professional. It is even more important if you want to be a business owner.

It’s also one of the best ways to make instant connections in your community and tell people what you do.

How to Network Like a #Boss (In a Nutshell):

  • Meetup.com can help you find events in your area. Look for professional networking events or gatherings where people in your niche may congregate.
  • Prepare to respond to the question “So, what do you do?” over and over again. Create a straightforward, simple elevator pitch that describes what you do and who you assist. Remove the buzzwords.
  • Begin conversations. Don’t spend the entire time talking about yourself. Ask a lot of questions and show a genuine interest in the answers.
  • Ask if they have a business card so you can contact them after the event.
  • Add everyone you met to LinkedIn and follow up within a few days of the event with a “nice to meet you” note.

Not everyone you meet at these events will be your ideal client, but many will be referrals or great connections to have in the future.

#7 Examine job posting websites

With the rise of freelance and remote work, there are literally hundreds of job boards where you can look for freelance work. (If you’re looking for a list, I’ve compiled a list of 21 sites where you can find freelance work quickly. You can get it here.)

The key to making these sites work for you is to be extremely selective when browsing. Don’t apply for everything! Examine the posting with a fine-tooth comb, spotting things like:

  • Contract length and type – is it a fixed-rate project or an hourly rate that will continue indefinitely?
  • The client’s history and feedback score – have previous freelancers had positive experiences working with this client?
  • The job description – Is it clear what the client is looking for in the job description? Can you meet the requirements?
  • Payment terms – if the contract mentions commissions or payouts after the job is completed, ignore. It’s too risky.
  • Interview process – ensure that you will have the opportunity to speak with the client before beginning any type of work to get a sense of their personality.

These websites can be a great way to find work fast. Not every client who uses job boards is looking for a low-cost contractor, but it’s up to you to determine whether the client is worth your time.

#8 Cold email

Cold emailing can be awkward and frightening, but it’s just one of those things you have to get used to.

Make a list of potential customers and businesses in your industry (you can use Google and LinkedIn to find them). Create a pitch template that positions you as an expert in your field and personalize it for each email you send. Address the individual client’s challenges and goals. This requires some preparation, but it’s well worth the effort.

#9 Contact local agencies

Many marketing, web design, and development firms outsource some of their work to freelancers and contractors. They usually have a list of freelancers and subject matter experts to call on in addition to their in-house employees.

This is something I’ve done in the past with a few content marketing agencies. Working with these agencies resulted in repeat business, referrals, and ongoing contracts, all of which contribute to a steady income. I strongly advise you to use this strategy, especially if you’re just starting out.

#10 Collaborate with other freelancers or business owners

Another reason to participate in Facebook groups and networking events.

Collaboration with other freelancers – especially those who have been at it for a while or have a larger client list – is a great way to get work. There are two options for making this work:

  • Offer to subcontract: You can work for them when they’re swamped with work or looking to outsource specific tasks.
  • Collaborate with a complimentary service provider: Join forces to provide a broader range of services than you could on your own. A copywriter and designer, for example, could collaborate to create all-in-one sales pages.

Whichever route you take, you’ll both get work, you’ll be utilizing two people’s networks, and the client will receive an excellent finished product. It’s a win-win situation.

These are just a few methods to quickly find new clients. Start implementing a few of these strategies once a week, and you’ll be able to get clients in no time.

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Hey there!

I’m Imad, the content creator and online marketing strategist behind The Guemmah Freelance Hub. My mission is to help more freelancers grow themselves, their business, and their profits.

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