How to Find Freelance Clients (In Your Own Backyard)!
By Craig Cannings
When you ask us how to find freelance clients, we encourage you to find them anywhere the internet reaches. The sky’s the limit when you choose a line of work that’s location-independent. But the beauty of that freedom is that you can also find clients as close as your own backyard.
It’s wonderful to imagine working from your home office and then taking a break at your favorite coffee shop, whose owner also happens to be your client.
Discovering how to find freelance clients near and far is a crucial step in building a successful career and enjoying your freelance lifestyle. And we’re here to share some helpful strategies and resources so you can open up a world of potential for business growth and financial stability.
To kick off our exploration, we’ll discuss the importance of establishing your freelance foundation through crafting your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and building a professional website. Next, we’ll explore how to use social media platforms like LinkedIn for lead generation and finding local job offers online via popular job boards such as FlexJobs and Upwork.
Building on those skills, we’ll share unique strategies for attending hobby-related events to engage with prospective clients while also highlighting the benefits of joining freelance communities on social media. Additionally, you’ll learn how to find freelance clients through cold emailing and tips on identifying businesses that could benefit from your services.
Finally, discover how to build lasting relationships with agencies by creating an effective marketing funnel that sets up initial job lead streams while sharing valuable content to build trust among potential clients.
But before we begin this journey together, make sure you have a winning mindset. As we say in our foundational course, Five Steps to Starting a Freelance Career,
“In order to find and attract ideal clients, you must believe you offer valuable skills and services that your target client audience needs right now!”
So, without further ado, let’s explore how to find freelance clients in your own backyard!
Table Of Contents: How to Find Freelance Clients (in Your Own Backyard)
Eight Ways to Find Freelance Clients: Success Tips and Strategies
1. Establish Your Freelance Foundation.
Before launching your freelance business, it’s essential to lay a firm groundwork by defining your unique selling proposition (USP). We also recommend creating a website with an online portfolio that displays your abilities and areas of expertise.
If you’re not keen on having a website, consider the alternatives we suggest in a previous blog post titled “A Freelance Website for Your Business: Yay or Nay?” We discuss how to find freelance clients without a website, using profiles on LinkedIn and other job sites, but having a website definitely helps build a stronger online presence.
Crafting Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your USP is what sets you apart from other freelancers in the market. To create an effective USP, consider factors like your expertise, experience level, and niche industry knowledge. Be sure to communicate this value clearly when reaching out to potential clients.
As we explain in a previous blog post, it’s important to define your niche, especially when you’re looking for clients in your local network. Sometimes family, friends, business acquaintances, or even former colleagues may misunderstand or presume what kind of work you’re interested in. Referrals are great, but they can also be awkward if you’re recommended for the wrong kinds of tasks.
Building a Professional Website
In today’s digital age, having an online presence is essential for attracting clients who want to hire freelancers. Create a polished website that showcases your portfolio of work along with client testimonials and contact information so prospects can easily get in touch with you.
Above all, be sure that your contact information is clear, including which communication channels you prefer to use. If you’ve asked your inner circle of family and friends for referrals, give them your business contact information so you don’t end up with a combination of personal and professional messages.
Now that you’ve established your freelance foundation, you’re well on your way toward discovering how to find freelance clients! With this strong base, you can move on to using social media platforms for lead generation and other marketing activities.
2. Leverage Social Media Platforms.
Leveraging social media platforms is a powerful way to expand your network. One platform that stands out for freelancers is LinkedIn, which offers numerous networking opportunities and tools to help you connect with potential clients.
Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for Freelance Work
To make the most of LinkedIn, ensure your profile highlights your freelance services, skills, and experience. Include relevant keywords in your headline, summary, and job descriptions to increase visibility in search results. Including your location helps you become visible to local clients.
Additionally, showcase any testimonials or endorsements from current clients or business acquaintances to build credibility.
Using Automation Tools like Waalaxy for Lead Generation
– Waalaxy: This tool allows you to send fully customized automated invitations and messages on LinkedIn that can help you contact up to 500 people per week. By automating outreach on LinkedIn using Waalaxy’s features, you can focus more on delivering quality work while still growing your client base.
– Dux-Soup: Another popular option among freelancers looking for an efficient way of finding new prospects through social media platforms is Dux-Soup — a Chrome extension designed specifically for users who want their profiles viewed by 1,000 prospects a month without having to do anything other than installing it onto their browser. This automation tool allows you to connect and engage with prospects and integrates with your CRM system to generate and manage leads.
By optimizing your LinkedIn profile and using automation tools, you’ll be well on your way to expanding your client base and figuring out how to find freelance clients.
Next, by exploring postings on job boards and connecting with companies via online forums, you can gain access to more prospects than ever, even those in your local area.
3. Find Local Freelance Jobs Online.
To find clients quickly, you can use online job boards and platforms that cater specifically to remote work options. These websites offer multiple listings in various fields of expertise, making it easier for freelancers to find suitable projects in faraway locations or close to home.
Browsing Job Boards and Marketplaces like FlexJobs and Upwork
FlexJobs is a popular platform that offers flexible and remote freelance jobs across different industries. By signing up for their services, you can access numerous freelance positions tailored to your skills.
Another well-known platform is Upwork, which connects businesses with talented freelancers worldwide. Creating an account on these platforms will help you discover new opportunities while building your professional network.
In the course mentioned above, we suggest the following quick tips when creating your profile on freelance job boards and marketplaces:
– Use a professional photo.
– Write a compelling headline.
– Add a 1- or 2-minute video and make a memorable introduction.
– Write an accurate bio that emphasizes your value to clients.
– Format content to make it highly readable.
– Upload portfolio pieces.
– Add relevant skills.
– Share testimonials.
Connecting with Local Businesses through Online Communities
In addition to browsing job boards, consider joining online communities where local businesses are active. Websites such as Nextdoor or Facebook groups dedicated to your area can be valuable resources for figuring out how to find freelance clients who may require your freelance services.
Engage with community members by offering helpful advice or answering questions related to your field of expertise — this will not only showcase your knowledge but also establish trust. And as you connect with them, observe conversations to see if you can identify any gaps you could fill. For instance, you may be able to help them redesign their website or add an opt-in box for their email newsletter if you specialize in those types of tasks.
By connecting with businesses online and using job boards like FlexJobs and Upwork, you can find local freelance opportunities that are right for your skill set.
Now let’s move on to attending hobby-related events to further expand your network of potential clients.
4. Attend Hobby-related Events.
If you’re looking for clients in a particular niche, consider attending hobby-related events instead of traditional networking gatherings. These events provide targeted opportunities for finding freelance clients who might require your services. At more informal and comfortable gatherings, you can show off your abilities and form relationships that could lead to future projects.
Identifying Relevant Hobby-based Events in Your Area
To get started, search for local meetups or conferences related to your niche. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, look for writing workshops or book clubs where potential clients may be present. Similarly, graphic designers could attend art exhibitions or design fairs.
Tips on Engaging Potential Clients at These Events
– Be genuine: Approach conversations naturally and avoid coming across as overly salesy. Show interest in others’ hobbies and experiences while subtly mentioning how your services could benefit them if you hear needs expressed in the conversation.
– Distribute business cards: Bring along well-designed business cards that include links to your website or social media profiles so interested parties can easily learn more about the work you do.
– Create memorable interactions: Offer valuable insights during discussions or share personal anecdotes related to the event’s theme — this will help make a lasting impression on potential clients.
– Follow up after the event: Contact attendees via email or social media platforms like LinkedIn shortly after the gathering has ended; this demonstrates professionalism and commitment toward building long-term relationships with current and future clients.
If you’ve never done this before, try attending hobby-related events. It can be an enjoyable way to make connections and build your freelance career.
Now let’s explore how joining freelance communities is the next step in finding new opportunities, staying informed, and growing your network.
5. Join Freelance Communities.
Participating in freelance communities is an excellent way to attract clients and grow your network. These online platforms offer valuable resources, advice, peer support, and regular updates on the latest trends impacting your area of expertise.
Finding Relevant Freelance Communities on Social Media
To get started, search for groups or forums related to your niche on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Quora, and Reddit. Join the ones that resonate with you most and actively engage in discussions by asking questions or sharing insights from your own experience.
At Freelance University (FreeU), we have a wonderful Facebook group for students that gives them a chance to ask questions and share successes with warmhearted, knowledgeable mentors and fellow students. In addition to making valuable business connections, many students also refer to the group as friends or even a FreeU family.
Staying Informed and Connected through Online Discussions
– Ask for advice: Don’t be afraid to ask for help when facing challenges or seeking guidance on how to find freelance clients. Your fellow freelancers can provide valuable tips based on their experiences.
– Showcase your skills: If group rules allow, share samples of your work or discuss recent projects to demonstrate what you bring to the table as a freelancer. This will help potential clients see how they could benefit from hiring you.
– Create connections: Building relationships with other freelancers can lead to referrals or collaborations down the line. Rather than just trying to promote yourself, be sure to engage with others in a genuine manner and develop meaningful connections.
By actively participating in freelance communities, you’ll not only expand your network but also increase your chances of attracting new clients and growing your business. These groups help keep you in the loop so you can make contacts, leading to possible client relationships.
And now let’s discuss cold emailing, a strategy that requires careful research and an engaging message that will capture the attention of potential clients.
6. Cold Email to Find Freelance Clients.
Cold emailing is an often overlooked yet effective method to acquire new projects. By researching potential clients in your area and crafting personalized emails showcasing your skills, you increase the chances of securing work.
If your first reaction is to think that cold emails are a terrible way to find freelance work, rest assured this is not like the old way of cold calling. Today’s way of sending cold emails teaches you how to find freelance clients using a more personal, relevant approach.
Identifying Local Businesses That Could Benefit from Your Services
To find possible clients, start by making a list of businesses in industries related to your freelance niche. Use Google Maps or online business directories like Yelp to search for companies near you. Research the webpages and social media of business owners to see if they could benefit from services like content writing, web design, or social media management.
Tips for Crafting Engaging Cold Emails
– Personalize: Address the recipient by name and mention specific details about their business that caught your attention.
– Showcase value: Explain how hiring a freelancer like you can solve problems or improve their current situation.
– Demonstrate credibility: Include links to relevant portfolio pieces or testimonials from satisfied clients.
– Create urgency: Offer limited-time discounts on your services or emphasize upcoming deadlines that require immediate action.
– Add a call-to-action (CTA): End the email with clear instructions on what steps they should take next if interested in working together (e.g., schedule a call).
Cold emailing may seem intimidating at first, but it’s an effective way to find freelance work and expand your client base. By targeting businesses with personalized messages, you can showcase your skills and demonstrate the value of hiring a freelancer like you.
Next, let’s see how creating a network of companies can help you build long-term connections.
7. Build a Network with Agencies.
Another effective strategy for finding clients is to build a network with agencies that are looking to hire freelancers. By establishing relationships with key decision-makers within these organizations, you increase your chances of securing freelance positions as they become available.
For example, in a recent FreeU Podclass episode, digital marketing expert Ashley Cline calls these relationships “channel partners” and explains how aligning with agencies can be mutually beneficial when they’re able to refer clients to you.
Approaching Local Marketing or Creative Agencies
To start building your agency network, research local marketing and creative agencies in your area. Investigate their online presence to gain knowledge about their services and customers.
Once you’ve identified potential partners, reach out via email or LinkedIn to introduce yourself and explain how your freelance services could benefit their business. Be sure to include relevant examples of your work and any testimonials from satisfied clients.
Strategies for Maintaining Long-term Agency Relationships
– Maintain regular communication: Keep in touch by sending periodic updates on new skills acquired or recent projects completed that may interest them.
– Demonstrate professionalism: Deliver high-quality work on time while maintaining clear communication throughout each project.
– Showcase expertise: Share valuable insights through blog posts or social media content related to industry trends that demonstrate thought leadership.
– Nurture connections: Attend networking events where agency representatives might be present; this will help strengthen existing relationships while potentially forming new ones.
Incorporating these strategies into your approach can help solidify long-lasting partnerships between you and various agencies, ultimately leading to consistent freelance opportunities.
Finally, by creating an effective marketing funnel, you can maximize the reach of your services and attract more prospective clients.
8. Create Your Marketing Funnel.
To ensure you never run out of clients, create a marketing funnel focusing on one or two job lead streams at first while sharing helpful content online that adds value and builds trust with your target audience. This will help attract new business opportunities while retaining existing clients.
Setting Up Initial Job Lead Streams
Start by identifying the most effective channels for locating freelance clients in your niche. As mentioned above, some popular options include Upwork, FlexJobs, and social media platforms like LinkedIn. Once you’ve chosen one or two channels to focus on, dedicate time each day to search for new projects and engage with your connections.
Sharing Valuable Content to Build Trust
– Create blog posts: Share your expertise through informative articles on your business website or guest posting on industry-related websites. This not only showcases your skills but also helps establish credibility among prospective clients.
– Social media engagement: Regularly post updates and videos on your profile about recent projects, share useful resources, and participate in discussions within relevant groups across various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
– Email newsletters: Send periodic emails containing valuable insights related to your niche services along with project updates to keep current clients informed and engaged. You can use email marketing tools like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, or MailerLite.
In a previous blog post titled “Five Ways to Find Your Ideal Freelance Client,” we explain how content strategy is a “long game” that builds your authority and will ultimately attract clients. Taking these steps will help you create a strong online presence that attracts more freelance work opportunities while maintaining relationships with current clients for long-term success in your freelance career.
Now You Know How to Find Freelance Clients in Your Own Backyard!
These eight steps will help you know how to find freelance clients both near and far. Your ideal client may be continents away or blocks away. You have the freedom to choose who you work for.
As we explain in a previous blog post, think of your local network as people first and potential clients second. By building authentic relationships, listening thoughtfully to conversations, and patiently observing discussions, you can identify needs at the right time and tactfully offer your services.
Finding clients can feel intimidating, but it’s a necessary part of building a successful freelance business, and we’re here to support you along the way. You could be the freelance talent a local client is searching for right now, so be confident and try the strategies we’ve discussed. Over time, you’ll learn how to find freelance clients that are perfect for you.