Let’s say you just started freelancing as a beginner, now you’re faced with one of the biggest challenges. Scoring your first freelancing client or project.
Because what you started as a passion, must earn an income—you must be able to sell your service. However, getting your first client as a freelancer may seem like a confusing task.
Because you don’t know much about the following: pitching a client, reaching out, building a personal brand, creating your website, networking, and so on.
Therefore, when you’re starting, it almost seems like fiction. But it doesn’t have to be. Especially when you’re reading such an actionable guide.
So without wasting any time, let’s discover – how to get your first client as a freelancer.
1. Create a personal website
One way to instantly send signals to your prospects that you’re a professional is to have a personal website. Having a website where you mention your services and samples will help you get your first freelancing client. Setting up a personal website is not as hard as it used to be. In fact, it’s really easy and inexpensive to create.
You will need the same process to create your website regardless of your industry or niche. Choose a domain name, host your domain and install WordPress. Once you install WordPress on your website, choose a theme and mention your services. Apart from the services, you need to put recommendations if you have any. And include several CTAs (call to action).
This is a simple process that you can learn from YouTube tutorials for free. But what if you can’t afford to create a website now? In that case, you can always create a personal website for absolutely free. There are several open-source CMS (content management system) presents which offers you to build a free website. Some popular options include Wix, WordPress.org, Squarespace, SiteBuilder, etc.
Next time when someone asks for your work samples or just wants to know more about your services. Simply provide a link to your website and make a strong first impression. You should put the link to your website on different social media channels. Where potential clients can check your freelancing services and can contact you for the same.
2. Create a free portfolio and rate sheet
Creating your full-fledged website is such a great way to attract clients and look professional. However, many of us won’t have the technical skills to create a website. And hiring someone to develop your website is not a very affordable option either. So if you don’t want to spend some time learning to create your website, you can always choose free platforms to create a portfolio.
Many platforms offer free portfolio creation where you’d be able to pin your samples, introduce yourself, and attach a CTA. These portfolio creation websites are especially helpful for people who offer non-technical freelancing services. Like content writing, copywriting, graphic designing, UI/Ux designing and so.
Therefore, here are some free websites to create your portfolio:
- UI/Ux design – Behance, Dribbble, Adobe Portfolio
- Writing – Contently, JournoPortfolio, Clipping.me
- Photographers – Flickr, Portfoliobox, YourPic
These free websites will help you get the first freelancing client in the same manner as a paid website would.
Don’t know what to include in your freelancing portfolio? Check out this article: How To Build A Freelance Portfolio (To Get More Leads)?
However, it’s not easy to incorporate your rates into these free portfolio creation websites. For that, you’ll need a rate sheet. Creating a rate sheet is very simple, you can use GoogleDocs, to create one. You can mention the services and prices you charge and a CTA in the end. So whenever a client asks for your prices, you can send the link to GoogleDocs. This shows that you know what you’re talking about and the client may end up asking for more services you mentioned in your rate sheet.
3. Offer value more than anything else
Setting up a personal website/ portfolio for scoring your first freelancing client is crucial. You need to tell who you’re and what you offer. However, no matter how beautiful your website looks, the client is not going to come back if they don’t see value in your services.
You need to have a mindset that you must be providing skills that solve your client’s problems. Your services should be about your prospects and not about you. Therefore, before making a website, portfolio, or rate sheet, consider answering these questions:
- How does your potential client look like and what problems can you solve?
- How can you make your potential client believe that you’re the perfect freelancer for their projects?
- How can you determine the rates that are neither too high for your potential clients nor too low for you as a business owner?
Especially making a balance between the services you offer and the prices you charge is critical for acquiring your first freelancing client. Mention the exact services you offer followed by the appropriate price. To make it easy for your client, you can create different packages. Like bronze silver and gold or starter, premium and deluxe. You can name the packages whatever you like but make sure that every package offers value to a particular client.
4. Don’t wait for the inbound leads
Getting your first client can take months if you only depend on the inbound leads. That is, waiting for the clients to come to your inbox and asking for the services your offer. Although, that is such a great strategy and we have covered the topic in detail: Guide to Generate Leads as a Freelancer.
But obtaining your first freelancing client will simply take a lot of time if you only rely on the inbound method. That’s why consider it a long-term strategy and in the meanwhile, start outreaching strategically. Send cold emails to people you know and be direct about the service you provide. You can and should do the same on LinkedIn. People on LinkedIn tend to respond well and if you can offer the solution, they will definitely hire you.
Be as direct as possible, don’t send a “hi” and wait for their “hello”. Send a pitch that mentions your services, expertise, and a CTA. If you’re a freelance content writer, you can send something like. “Hi, I offer content writing services that help you generate more leads and traffic… let me know when can we discuss your project.”
If you don’t have a big network on LinkedIn, you can get connected to fellow freelancers and ask them to introduce you. Send a connection request to more people in your industry and let them know about your services. You can send an invitation note before sending a connection request on LinkedIn. It will increase the chances of acceptance and they would have a good idea about your services. Use can also join Facebook groups and try to get your first freelancing client. However, LinkedIn is simply a better platform to network and get some initial projects.
5. Follow-ups gets you conversions
Sending proposals or getting responses doesn’t always mean conversions. A client needs to make sure that you can solve their problems. Just like we make sure before buying any products. So it takes some exchange of questions and answers before a client fully trusts you.
But most freelancers might not get their first freelancing client because they think that they are annoying them by sending follow-ups. However, it mostly has the opposite effect. Your potential client might not get back to you for several reasons. They still have doubts about your abilities or they were busy and forgot to reply to your email or DM.
Therefore, you can’t take the chance and presume that your client is not interested in your services. For that reason, you should always straight away ask your clients. “Are you intersected in the proposal?” The follow-ups will sound different according to the situation but you should always ask them to get back to you. And if they say, they are not interested, then it’s still cool.
You can still try multiple tactics. You can ask them to refer you, or you can give them more time if they are unable to decide. Moreover, don’t just say goodbye and ghost them. In the freelancing business, you need to figure out the appropriate rates according to different clients and be direct about what you can do for them. Regularly check on people and talk to more people and let them know. “Why you might be perfect for their projects.” Follow-ups will eventually lead to your first freelancing client.
One of the key factors for winning your first freelancing client includes patience. Work on your skills understated your market and connect to relevant people.
Freelancing like any other business requires you to understand your buyers (clients). Make an offer to people you know they won’t be able to refuse. Take the time to hone your soft skills also.
And If you follow these actionable guides strategically, nobody can stop you to get your first freelancing client. And not just the first client, you’d have enough skills to scale your freelancing business.