Getting started on the road to freelance success is not easy.
So many people are leaving the 9-5 life in favor of being their own boss.
And while this can be freeing, the rush to join the gig economy makes your ability to land that next freelance job quite challenging.
Competition is fierce.
If you’re just starting off fresh as a newbie freelancer, wondering how to get your first client can take quite a while, especially if you’re younger and don’t have a ton of experience to boast about.
I’ve been in your shoes.
And while there were times I was ready to throw in the towel, ultimately, I stayed the course, and things picked up.
7 Ways to Get My First Client
My freelance business is good, and I’m beyond thankful that my family, friends, and colleagues pushed me and supported me, giving me the confidence to push forward.
Along the way, I learned quite a few lessons, including a number of areas where you can focus to be better positioned to get your first client.
In this article, I’ll detail seven of the top tips from lessons I’ve learned so you can be prepared for what’s ahead and get your first client.
1. Work On Your CV
You may think that by setting out on your freelance journey you’re done with having to worry about resumes.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Especially early on in your freelance career, you’ll need to rely on websites that post freelance jobs like Flexjobs.com or Upwork.
Without a lot of word-of-mouth or customer referrals from existing clients, these sites are great places to get your first client.
Most companies searching on these sites, however, are looking for resumes to see your background side-by-side with your portfolio.
It’s a tiring and laborious task but retrofitting your CV and creating a new cover letter for each freelance application is essential when trying to maximize your success in getting an interview and getting selected for that next freelance project.
Creating a good CV is all about what is going to make you stand out from the countless other applicants and help you get clients now.
Bear in mind that many people applying for a freelance job will have similar levels of qualifications and, while this must be shown on your CV, you’ll want to focus on other areas of your personality and other accomplishments that others may not have.
As well as this, it’s imperative to read through the job specification.
Then talk about how you meet every required skill and try to mention something for all of the desirable traits too.
Tell your story, and don’t be afraid to humblebrag.
2. Put Focus On Your Soft Skills to Get Clients
Because so many applicants have impressive qualifications, soft skills have become a huge part of helping companies choose the right person to take on their freelance projects.
Things like team management abilities as well as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills are all incredibly important to talk about.
As a new freelancer, in many ways, you’ll become part of the team of the company that hired you.
Thus, that company will want to know that you’ll be the right fit.
Fine-tune your soft skills.
That way, when you get on the phone to talk through a potential project with a prospective client, you can wow them with how well you communicate your ideas, the way you can keep a conversation flowing, and more.
3. Build and Leverage Relationships
As you make the move from your job to the freelance world, focus on building connections and creating mutually beneficial relationships with other freelancers.
Give freely to others, and offer your help in the way of sharing their content, referring them for business, helping them promote their own services and grow.
If you do this, when those people in your network come across an opportunity that isn’t a fit for them but might be a fit for someone else, your name will come to mind.
4. Find Yourself A Mentor
Another useful avenue for gaining more skills and knowledge of the ways of the freelance world is to make use of mentoring software.
Companies like PushFar offer a service whereby you can sign up for free and find a mentor to assist you in earning new skills or knowledge to help you in your career or the search for your new role.
It’s always important to keep learning new things, and having a mentor not only helps with that but it can also provide you with more confidence during your professional journey.
Connect with those who’ve been there and have succeeded.
Reach out and take time to build the relationship.
Don’t automatically assume they’ll be open to helping you out, but if you are patient and you build real connections, the pros will be willing to help.
5. Work On Your Life Skills
As well as skills within the world of work, it’s so important to have some good life skills, especially those that include interaction with others.
Being an absolute expert in your freelance projects will only get you so far in the world.
Even though you’ll most likely do the majority of your work from your home office, there will be Zoom meetings, email conversations, chat exchanges, and other communication that require a certain finesse.
If you show that you don’t have what it takes when it comes to conversing with others, you might find that they’ll choose someone else over you.
Even if the next choice is less experienced or knowledgeable, if they have better people skills, they’ll likely get clients.
Determination and passion, as well as a charismatic personality, can really open better opportunities compared to just being really intellectual and talented.
Having both boxes checked however should theoretically provide you with the best possible chance of landing that next freelance role.
6. Be Presentable And Prepared
When applying for freelance roles and working with clients, you should treat the process similar to the way you would approach applying and interviewing for a traditional job.
You’ll want to make sure you’ve put some level of effort into the way you present yourself.
While you don’t need the most expensive suit around or the finest hairstyle, you’ll want to show at least that you care about the way you present yourself to others.
Wear formal, clean clothing and make sure you look well-kempt.
As well as this, prepare for your interview as best as you can, including doing your research about the freelance job you’re interviewing for and the company looking to hire you for the job.
7. Find An Interesting Hobby
This might not sound overly useful, but the right hobby can showcase some very handy skills to companies looking to hire you as a freelancer.
If you can break down your hobby into soft skills and explain how this hobby would benefit you working in the job you’re trying to land, then you’ll show that you have a wealth of adaptable and applicable skills to offer.
It also shows your more human side, helping your CV to stand out from the stack of other applications.
An in-depth hobby can also show that you are a productive individual with deep interests and a desire to learn new skills, so don’t shy away from talking about your hobbies, even if you don’t think they’re the most exciting things to others.
You may even find that the person interviewing you for the freelancer job has the same hobby, thus giving you a leg up on the competition.
Wrapping It Up
Freelancing is a wonderful way to earn a living. If you approach it the right way, you can create a wildly successful career, set your own hours, and work wherever in the world you like.
While there are tons of benefits, however, it’s important to look at your freelance projects as a business.
Think of yourself as a startup company. You need to build your brand, create key relationships, and have a strategy to grow.
Each time you get in front of a prospective client or you put your name out there for a job, you should be polished and prepared. F
ailing to do so will seriously hinder your ability to succeed.
Take these seven things into account and be ready to get your first client.
You no longer have a boss holding you back, so create your own destiny and do it the right way.