Are you starting out as a freelancer but struggling to find new customers?
Are you unsure how to secure new jobs and contracts? Then we can help: in today’s article we’ll look at different ways to attract new clients.
Finding you online
Many of your potential customers are already looking for your skills and services, so you won’t always need to search for them yourself. But how easy is it for them to find you? Your online presence is a key to reaching new customers and a website is your chance to introduce yourself, your services and your expertise to your target audience. You can also include glowing testimonials and reviews by clients impressed with your work.
If you work in creative industries, this is an opportunity to showcase your talents by including a portfolio or samples of your work to give potential clients an impression of your skills. Your website is the ideal place to present yourself and your abilities in the best possible light – just as you would in a face-to-face meeting. Make sure your webpage is well designed and has a clear structure: a hastily created website could make you seem unprofessional. If you have little experience of web design, it’s a good idea to hire a professional. If there is no one to help you, you’re short of funds or you just don’t want to invest, you can use one of several free and easy-to-use web design programmes (such as Wix or Jimdo) to create an attractive website on your own.
Make the best of Xing and LinkedIn
A website is a good starting point for raising your online profile, however, there are many more great opportunities to increase your visibility in the digital world. It may be worth your while to sign up on specialist portals and industry-specific platforms.
Xing and LinkedIn are two essential platforms for freelancers. Both of these networks are specialised in enabling you to make new personal and professional contacts. It’s all about networking, joining groups and looking out for freelance opportunities. Xing and LinkedIn are ideal communication channels for freelancers and can help you to find new customers and commissions. Be active on different portals and contribute to discussions. If you share your knowledge and show your expertise, potential clients may take notice.
Network at trade fairs and events
Once you’ve expanded your online presence, you’ll be able to focus on the offline world and start making contact with potential customers. There are numerous trade fairs and events every year, which provide opportunities to interact with potential clients and other professionals in your field. Find out which trade fairs and industry-specific events could be interesting for you and your area of work. Make sure you have a few business cards handy (which include your web address), then mingle with the crowd and do some networking.
Another option is to actively seek out companies that could benefit from your expertise and know-how. As a freelance web designer or online marketing expert, you could analyse a company’s website and marketing activities, and then offer them your services.
To sum up, it is true that as a freelancer, no one tells you what to do and, unlike in a regular job, your working days are not routine. However, this also means that you can’t just sit around and wait for new customers and contracts to come in. A good website and a strong online presence will ensure that businesses can find you. You can further expand your online profile on specialist portals and networking sites. Actively looking for potential customers is also important for freelancers, so don’t be afraid to approach companies directly at trade fairs and industry events if you feel that they could benefit from your expertise.
Working as a freelancer: entering the business jungle alone or ‘opting for ‘strength in numbers’
If you’re starting your own business, you may be considering whether to go it alone or join forces with a business partner. You can achieve a lot and be successful as a solo show, but a partner or small team could allow more room for expansion and open up new opportunities for you. In our next article in the ‘Working as a Freelancer’ series on Friday, 6 September, we will explore the pros and cons of business partnerships.