What’s the most important thing to a new freelancer? Being profitable? Sort of, but you can’t be profitable without first getting a client, it’s kinda like the cart before the horse…

It can also be one of the most daunting things to do, finding that first client. You’ve probably heard stories about how someone just landed clients without doing anything really to find them, or maybe you know someone that know’s someone that landed their first client by simply emailing their list.

While these things can happen, they are not easily accessible to everyone. So if you want to guarantee landing your first three clients, follow the tips below!

Grab your copy of the proposal and email templates Lise has successfully used to grab clients! Download Now!

Finding Your First Clients

Before you get too carried away, there are a few things you should take care of before you start the hunt for clients.

  • Create your online presence... think portfolio website, LinkedIn profile, Twitter account etc
  • Set up your contact details - new email address specifically for freelancing work?
  • Figure out your availability BEFORE you start approaching clients so you know how many hours you can dedicate to your freelance work

Once you’ve got these things covered, then follow the tips below to find your first three paying clients.

#1: Where are your ideal clients hanging out?

I bet you haven’t given much thought to where your clients are hanging out. For that matter, do you even know who your ideal clients are?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Where does your ideal client look for solutions to their problems?
  2. Where do you look for solutions to your problems?
  3. What does your ideal client look like? Age, location, interests, income levels, etc.

You need to really niche down on your ideal client, it’s the best way to find them so that you can get inside their heads, use their language when pitching to them and really service their problem.

If you know of a couple of your competitors, check out their websites and what they are doing to connect with their ideal clients. Can you do it better or service a gap in the market?

Are you writing down your answers? No? STOP. The only way you’re going to find a client is by taking action, so get to it…

#2: No previous work? Get your portfolio kicked off.

If you’re completely new to freelancing and don’t have a portfolio as yet, it’s going to be difficult to nail your ideal client. The best way to solve this problem is to get a few jobs under your belt.

To do that, you should check out sites like Upwork.com and Elance.com – they offer the least amount of resistance in getting work and you can test the waters on your services without risking everything.

Utilising sites like this allows you to hone your skills and build a portfolio, it’s also one of the quickest ways to land your first client.

Make sure that you complete your profile on these sites and when it comes to your portfolio, add some items that you’ve created especially for these platforms, or do some free work for friends and family in exchange for using it in your portfolio.

Once you’ve got a couple of jobs under your belt, you might find some of your ideal clients hanging out here too.

#3: Pitching your ideal clients.

Now that you’ve got an idea of where your ideal clients are hanging out and you’ve got a bit of experience under your belt, it’s time to pitch them.

Email is by far the best communication, although if you find some of your ideal clients are hanging out on social media sites like Twitter, connecting with them there is also a good option.

Perfecting your pitch is key to ensuring that you actually get a response. Where possible, try to build a relationship FIRST before pitching them. In fact, if you’ve figured out where your ideal clients are hanging out or looking for solutions, you might be able to help them out for free initially, by providing some free advice or recommendations.

This leads nicely into a follow up email or message where you can let the know about the services you offer and that you’d like to provide them with a one-time only discount.

If you’re not sure how to pitch or what to write in an email, you can see an example here.

The key is to find three ideal clients that you can either work with on one of the sites mentioned in point 2 or pitch directly to three clients that you’ve identified from point 1.

The process is simple, as follows:

  1. Identify ideal clients and where they hang out
  2. Build your portfolio
  3. Pitch your ideal clients ONCE warm relationship built

This process should take you no more than a few weeks to execute.

Here’s a list of some of the places you might find your ideal freelancing client hanging out in:

So what are you waiting for? Follow the process and land your first three clients within the next 30 days!

Grab your copy of the proposal and email templates Lise has successfully used to grab clients! Download Now!

How did you land your first three clients? Have tips you’d like to share with OFS readers? Leave a comment below.

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Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

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