Freelancing is rapidly gaining more traction – in fact, by 2027, over 50% of the entire US workforce is projected to engage in freelancing, whether part-time or full-time.
And if you’re reading this now, you might either be a freelancer yourself or are trying to break into the gig economy.
Freelancing definitely has its perks – from working your own hours to increasing your pay rate at your own time instead of a company’s – but it’s not without its challenges. One common challenge for freelancers? Finding new clients.
Keep reading to see why freelancers might be struggling to hit a consistent stream of clients, and what you can do to stand out from the crowd and market yourself as a freelancer that clients cannot miss out on.
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Why do many freelancers struggle to get more clients
There are a few reasons why a freelancer might be fighting an uphill battle when trying to score more clients:
Dealing with “Imposter Syndrome”
Imposter syndrome is a common struggle among freelancers. This is when you feel like you aren’t good enough for a certain project or feel that there are other, more qualified people out there for the job.
Struggling with time management
For some freelancers, they aren’t able to find new clients because of lack of time. If you feel that you’re on the same boat, you might have thought once or twice that you don’t have the time to look for new clients while working on deliverables for the clients you already have.
Not all freelancers possess marketing skills
And lastly, some freelancers are at a loss for how to properly market themselves. Being unable to communicate the true value of your work and service might be costing you dream clients.
If this is a struggle for you, read on to the next section, where we talk about 7 of the top tips to market yourself as a freelancer and reel in new clients with less of the hassle.
Tips to market yourself as a freelancer
Tap into your personal network
Don’t underestimate the power of tapping into your personal network for new clients. You can ask people you know directly whom you’re sure would need someone like you, or you could ask for a referral.
You can even score new leads by posting publicly on LinkedIn or Facebook that you’re open to accepting new clients for your area of expertise. Try using this template for when you create your post:
Hi, everyone. I’m accepting new clients for [your service]. If you know anybody who might need this, do send them my way or tag them below so we can get in touch. Thanks!
This works better than asking directly if your connections need your service because they’ll be put in a position of thinking, “Do I know anyone who needs this?” versus “Do I need this?” – which gets you more leads in the long run.
Have an online portfolio
If you don’t have one already, you should set up your online portfolio to show proofs of concepts that you’re the one for your clients.
Consider your online portfolio as your 24/7 salesman, showing off the best of your work for clients who might not have gotten in touch yet.
To start your own online portfolio, you’ll need to first choose the best website host to make sure you can deliver a fast-loading website with the least downtimes and great customer support.
Submit guest blog posts
Guest posting is a great way to 1) show your expertise about a certain topic, and 2) get in front of an audience of a more established brand or company.
To get started, identify a few thought leaders in your niche who have blogs and websites – and don’t count out smaller niche sites who may be more open to receiving guest posts versus huge names in the industry who might be too busy to notice your pitch.
Engage with these publications and thought leaders and focus on building a relationship with them first. Then you can make an ask and offer to create a blog post for their site.
But the most important thing is to successful guest posting is to first build any kind of relationship with them – by either commenting on their blog posts or showing some love on their resources – then making them see you’re an expert in your niche.
Build an email list
An email list is one of the most powerful tools you can use to market yourself as a freelancer and get new clients. After all, email marketing is where the money is at.
On your website or portfolio, you can create a free resource that you’ll send to someone for free in exchange for their email address. Think of something that they’re currently struggling with at the moment that you can obviously help them with, especially with your freelance service.
There are other effective methods to start building your email list from scratch, but a free opt-in is often a great way to go.
Practice the art of automation
As a freelancer, you’re expected to be your own boss, employee, sales rep, marketing director, and more.
Needless to say, you’re probably doing a lot of work that could be automated or done much quicker than how you’re currently doing it.
Using automated workflows has more than a few benefits. For one thing, you can easily save time and focus on doing more of the work that makes you money than admin work that only eats up your hours.
And secondly, you’re able to appear professional with a streamlined system that takes clients from one process to another with less back and forth.
Offer free work (in moderation)
There are just some instances when taking on free work can help you boost your portfolio or add bragging rights to your arsenal.
If there’s a big client you know could possibly get you more ins with other clients or their networks – for example, startup founders and influencers in your niche – then you might stand to gain by offering free work.
Offer to improve their landing page or sales copy or whatever your area of expertise is. If they agree, you can use the work you did for them as a new item for your portfolio. Or you can even a good testimonial or ask for referrals from these people.
Use social media
Social media is a great way to market yourself as a freelancer. Even when you’re not making an ask, you can share valuable tips and tricks that establish you as the expert.
If you’re consistent in posting quality content that is helpful to your ideal clients, you can expect to reel them in. win their trust, and get new clients almost on autopilot.
Now it’s your turn. Take these strategies in this post and implement them one day at a time. Put some thought into your marketing process and use it as a way to establish credibility and rapport with prospects. Soon, you’ll be getting new clients and scaling your freelance business with less stress and overwhelm.