On Fridays I cover various tips for freelancers and today I’m going to discuss some strategies that I’ve used successfully over the years for getting new clients.

There have been three main ways that I’ve gotten new clients:

  1. Outsourcing services such as Odesk and Elance (which have now merged to be Upwork)
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Referrals

In future episodes I’ll go into detail on various ways that I’ve had success in each one of those channels so that you can take some of the experiences I’ve had and apply them to your own freelance careers.

freelance servicesFreelancing services such as Upwork are great for finding new clients, the keys to success are to constantly send out proposals, dozens per day and be quick to communicate with potential clients. If you’re a US or UK based developer make sure you understand that you’ll be competing from developers from all over the world which means that the bids that you’ll be competing with could be dramatically lower than what you’d want to charge. However I’ve been able to get dozens of long term clients from these services, including large organizations such as Eventbrite and Quip.

clients from linkedinLinkedIn is an interesting tool for freelancers, I’ve gotten several clients from the service simply by having a filled out profile and joining user groups for the languages and frameworks that I specialize in. I’ve gotten clients such as AppDev and the Flatiron School from LinkedIn. Interestingly enough I was never pro active with reaching out to clients, if you have a good profile showcasing your skills and join enough groups the jobs start to come in. It’s incremental growth, but I’ve found some great clients though LinkedIn.

clients from referralsLastly referrals are one of the best ways to get clients. This marketing channel typically takes the most time depending on your own social and client network. When I say referral I’m not simply referencing referrals from other clients, I’ve gotten referrals from co-workers, friends, family, and through networking events such as local Chambers of Commerce organizations.

I hope this has been a helpful guide to different freelancer strategies for growing your client base, stay tuned for future episodes where I go into detail on how I’ve worked in each channel and built up a large set of customers.


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