When you just get started freelancing, you may face many challenges. One of which is dealing with the adjustment of working for someone else’s company where you just have to fill a role and focus on your craft to the drastic difference of being your own boss that wears many hats. It’s a whole other ball game. While there are many perks to freelancing, it can be hard to find an adequate amount of work. Here are some strategies to try if you need more clients.
1. Hold on to whatever regular work you have with the Tetris Strategy
Someone might hire you but it might not be frequent enough. If you can be patient, think of it like the video game Tetris. Many geometric shapes come flying down the screen and you have to put them together as best you can in a short period of time like a puzzle to form a horizontal row. You’re able to rotate the shapes and move them to areas that need filling. In some ways, you have to take the same approach to freelancing. In this case, the shapes can represent work opportunities. The horizontal line is the amount of work you’d like to have. Take whatever work comes your way and fit it into what you currently do. In the meantime, try to find a way to stay afloat financially until you can get regular work or more desirable work that is a fit for what you have to offer.
In Tetris, the pieces that fall aren’t always the perfect fit but you have to make them work as best you can to connect the row. It’s not always easy, the situation isn’t always ideal but you do it to survive as a freelancer in the beginning. Maybe take on other types of work until you can build things up or scale back your expenses to make it a workable situation until you can find the sweet spot of having enough work and clients that are a fit for your services.
2. Learn a lesson from Pokemon Go
When you have to serve the clients you have while trying to bring new ones in the door, think about the game Pokemon Go. This virtual reality game that was popular this summer makes you physically leave your home and find and capture Pokemon in random locations. This is the same amount of effort you might need to make when you are first getting clients to work with you or if things have slowed down a bit. You may have to put a great deal of effort in locating them.
Devote a part of your schedule to looking for more clients. Brainstorm the best ways to do this. Try to network informally at coworking spaces, attend conferences where your ideal client might be or consider asking for referrals from your existing clients. They’ll keep potential leads on their radar. Perhaps you give them a discount on future work or another incentive to find you more clients.
It’s also an indirect way to let them know that you would gladly pick up more work from them if they need it in the future. Even if they don’t know anyone or can’t offer you more work now, you never know what happens down the road. They’ll at least keep you in mind if something changes.
Also, consider looking in Facebook groups. It’s like the new job board. Many opportunities are posted in them. If you’re friendly and helpful in the groups, people like to hire people they know, like and trust. So leverage the credibility you might have already built up to your advantage when looking for more work.
3. It’s a numbers game
Learn the basics of a sales funnel. Figure out how many people you need to contact to potentially land more clients. If you don’t know where to start, pick a number that seems manageable and plot how much outreach you will do per day and when you will do it. Then see what happens. If you don’t hear back, try to double that number. It still can take awhile. You might have to tweak something like the wording of your email or just follow up after a week.
4. Bring your A game
Keep in mind that no matter your situation or the amount of work you get as a freelancer, do your best work. If someone is paying you, make sure you do a good job whether the situation is ideal or not. Then after awhile, ask for feedback. If you get positive comments, ask if you can use them as a testimonial. You’ll want to compile as many of these as possible. Seth Godin goes into detail about compiling testimonials in Start Up School. Listen to full episodes on Earwolf or itunes. The episodes follow a sequence. It flows like a course. While you might be tempted to just listen to a snippet that applies to you right now, that’s fine but I encourage you to try and listen to all of them to get a complete understanding of his reasoning behind his tactics.
The Bottom Line
Remember it’s a whole other game when you’re a freelancer. When you’re starting out, it can be hard to build momentum and get regular clients. If you at least have regular work, even if it occurs in spurts, then you’re off to a good start. Follow some of the actionable steps listed to try and pick up more clients. Also, have faith and patience knowing that things can change if you work hard and keep trying. If you want a free PDF planner to help you jot down your thoughts regarding these strategies, get your hands on The Get More Work Planner here.