How To Get Your First Freelancing Client

by Dan Johnston

How To Get Your First Freelancing Client

“It’s time to get your first one out of your system. So I want to go through three ways to get started as a freelancer consultant or coach, getting your first client.”

In this video, I go through three ways to get started as a freelancer consultant or coach, getting your first client.

Here’s the article I mentioned in the video on exactly how I got started working online:

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So your mom sent me in here to have this chat with you. Can’t say I want to have it, I’m sure you don’t want to have it but it’s about time. You’ve been learning, you’ve been practising, you’ve been doing it on your own for a while and now you’re ready to do it with someone else.

Now, your first time, it’s scary, it’s really scary but it’s important. After your first time, you’ll start to feel more and more confident about yourself and about your abilities. Now, when it comes to this first time, don’t worry too much about who it is with. Yeah, everyone says it’s important but it’s not, really. Of course you want them to be nice and ideally someone who’s a little more experience than you, that’s actually pretty important.
But beyond that, the most important thing is just getting it out of your system and getting started. Now yes, of course, if they’ll say nice things about you after, maybe write you a testimonial, even better.

Okay, okay, so you’re sold, right?

It’s time to get your first one, get it out of your system, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty here, of how you do it. So I want to go through three ways to get started as a freelancer consultant or coach, getting your very first client.

So first things first, I know we live in this internet world, right? Everyone’s Tinder-ing, no one’s talking anymore. When it comes to working online, becoming a free freelancer and working for yourself and having the ability to either work from home or work around the world, I want you to actually forget about the internet from time to time.

What I mean by that is, I see time and time again, when people think that they’re working online, that that means they forget about everything they’ve done, in their normal life,
in terms of work experience, contacts, social circles. This stuff is gold and you should be mining it, when you’re starting out. Just because you want to work online doesn’t mean you should forget about your offline world. In fact, I would highly, highly encourage you
to focus on your offline world, what’s real to you, if you will, when you get started.

If you’re starting out and you just go on one of these job sites like in Upwork, which I don’t necessarily recommend at all, if you just go on there and start applying for jobs, you’re competing with the whole world with nothing to differentiate yourself. Whereas, if you stick to things you know, whether that’s your own experience or your own networks or both, you’ve got a leg up on the competition. You’ve got a really good chance of hitting the ground running and getting a good quick start to your freelancing career. As well, you’re less likely to have to drop your rate to compete, because you’ll be working with people that you actually know, who will be more likely to actually pay, you know, some fair kind of rate.

Alright, so the first strategy I’m going to cover is exactly how I got started, I use this to get my first 2 freelance copywriting clients, within a couple days of starting out. I highly recommend this strategy if you have any kind of social network. Now what I did, and I’ll have this, I’ll make the annotation thing pop up here with the link , because I have this whole article on my website where I show you how I did it and I’ll give you, basically the note to use.

I put up a Facebook note, and I said, “Hey! Here is what I’m doing,” so in my case I said, “Hey! I want to try being a writer. I think I’m good and I’ll be pretty cheap, and I work my ass off my ass off because I want to get referrals and make a good reputation.” So I put this up and within a couple of hours, had my first interest, like people contacted me that, then became clients within a couple of days.

So it worked really well for me. Now I should say I had a decent sized kind of Facebook network at that point, and they tended to be people in business, so that helped the cause. But I would really recommend, at the very least, by putting out a note like this, you’re not only potentially getting clients right off the bat, but you’re letting people around you know what you’re doing, so that they can think of you maybe three months later, six months later, when they might need someone who does what you do.

So again, for this strategy, I won’t get into too much details because I documented more in the written article, it’s probably more useful for you that way, if you can see it all laid out there. But again, essentially what you’re doing is just putting up a Facebook note or a post, and explaining what you’re doing and then trying to get as many eyeballs on that as possible. So, contacting friends, reaching out and saying, “Hey could you share this?”
“Hey, you know, I just wanted to let you know…” that kind of thing.

Alright, so let’s say you’re a designer, what you could do here is you reach out to 20 people. And I’m giving number two because one of things I realize is, a lot of the time when people are starting out in business, they don’t realize how much effort it actually takes. If you’re doing sales, usually for every hundred people you call, you call you might get one to two clients. So sometimes, I used to share these strategies without numbers and then people would say, “Oh, that didn’t work,” and I go deeper and I realized they were only talking to three or four people. So, contact twenty people. If you don’t know twenty people, then be nicer to people in the future and stuff like that. I think there’s probably some underlying issue going on.

So, contact twenty people. Yes, ideally be strategic so the people you know that are well-networked, that are in business, that maybe have their own company. And basically, be very upfront. Do not hard sell them. If you start selling your network and your friends, you’re going to turn people off and you’re going to become a pariah. Do not do that.
What you want to do is very upfront, very friendly.

Just say, “Hey, I’m starting out,” so in my case, “Hey, I’m starting out as a freelance writer. I think I have a knack for this, I think I’m going to be able to deliver really good results for my client, but I’m just starting out, so I don’t even have clients yet. Just wanted to throw that out there and let you know, so that if you or someone in your network is looking for a writer, someone who’s got a talent and a passion for it and it’s going to be cheap, because I’m just starting out, then do get in touch with me and let me know, because I’d be really excited about working with them or working with you.”

As you send these individual messages, you can customize them. If it’s someone you know probably needs to hire a person like you, then you can kind of pitch them directly. Whereas if it’s someone who’s well-networked, but probably wouldn’t hire you themselves, then say that, “Hey do you know anyone who might be interested?” That kind of thing. This can create a really good snowball effect, because if you’re letting at least 20 people know what you’re doing, that’s 20 people who’re thinking about you now, that you’re the top of mind for them, they’re thinking about you, thinking about,
“Hey, you know, maybe I do know someone I could refer,” or in the future they might think about ways they could hire you. I know I do this. If I know someone who’s looking for work, I will actively think about, could I use them? Is there something I could hire them for? Because it’s just, I don’t know, part of being good nature is kind of wanting to help people out.

You will be so surprised how few people in your network will actually know what you’re doing when you start off freelancing. The reason being is that there’s so much noise online and so much noise in general, in life now. And you’re average person, our networks are far beyond what they used to be in terms of size, and so a lot of people won’t actually know what you’re doing. You might think, “Hey, I decided to be a freelance writer, everyone will know, no?” I can almost guarantee 90% of your contacts won’t know what you’re doing. So, reaching out to people specifically in a message and saying, “Hey, here’s what I’m doing, if you have any feedback, advice or someone you can refer me to introduce me to, please do.” This is a really good way to get started and get that first client.

Now, these first two strategies I discussed have one flaw, and that is you need to be public about what you’re doing and you need to be comfortable with that. Now I would highly encourage you to be comfortable sharing what you’re doing and just putting it out there, but I know some people just aren’t, or have a job right now and you’re trying to transition, and so it’s not really cool to put it all over Facebook that you’re trying to start your own business and quit your job. So in this case, I’m going to encourage you to go a more direct approach. Now these first two strategies, in general, in terms of the type of work you’d be doing with people, I encourage you to keep it fairly open.

So basically saying, “Hey, I’m a writer, a designer, a programmer, whatever for hire, do you have anything you could need me for?” because usually the clients will know what they want. And this is again, when you’re just getting started. So if you put out there, “I’m a great writer and I’m available for whatever you need,” the potential client will think that through and say, “Okay, where do I need writing, where can I use this person?” and they’ll come to you with a project.

Now, this third strategy, I’m encouraging you to go the other direction and think of a specific service you can offer, and pitch it to people. So, first thing you need to do here is find people you can offer a specific service to. If you can’t yet, think of a specific service you can offer around what you’re doing, then you may need to go back and educate yourself more on what you’re doing. So, what I mean by this is, let’s say you’re a designer,
your specific service could be creating a color palette for someone’s company, so everything’s kind of unified. It could be logo design, it could be redoing a homepage,
in terms of just the general design, the graphics on it. If you’re writing, it could be writing someone’s about page or their bio, it could be writing three press releases. You get the idea here, right? It’s a specific project within the general services you offer.

So, figure out what is one or two specific services you could offer this way, and then find people you can just directly pitch it to. The internet is a good way to start here So again, if you’re trying to keep it on the down-low, what you’re trying to do because you have a job or you’re just weird about sharing things in public, then I would encourage you to go this route, find people through the internet.

So, let’s say you want to work with business coaches, find a directory for business coaches, or Google ‘Business coach in New York’. Go to their website, start, see the people you could help. Let’s say you decide you’re going to offer a bio rewrite for someone’s about page, their biography, find people who have a bio, so this would be things like any consultant, coach, dentist, real estate agent, anyone who’s selling themselves as a person. Find that, and then find the ones who suck. So go to their websites, and if someone has a really bad bio, send them an email and say, “Hey, I came across your website and I noticed that your about page could use a little work,” you know, be delicate with people, “I was wondering if you’d be interested in having me rewrite it for you. You know, this is a new service I’m offering, and it’s a really good price, and I offer you know, satisfaction guarantee,” something like that.

Send out a hundred emails like that. Targeted specific offering to work on one solution for people at a fair price. I’d almost guarantee, unless you’re doing something terribly, terribly wrong with it, or your e-mail picture is like, I don’t know, something traumatizing, that you’ll get at least one client out of this way.

So, those are the three ways I would encourage you to get started, getting your first client. You might notice that I did not mention sites like Upwork or Jobsite, or doing anything all to elaborate. Stick to human contact, stick to your networks or people you know and if you’re not comfortable doing that, the third option is to reach out to strangers, but reaching out to strangers is always tougher than working within your network to start. I would highly encourage you to work with the people you know or the people that you know, know, when you’re getting started and then from there, the great thing is your first clients will give you testimonials and you can build your portfolio, and then it becomes easier and easier to work with strangers or acquire clients in other ways.

Now, just to be clear, these strategies are not what I would encourage you to use to build a six-figure freelance business. These are how you get started and get your first client to get the ball rolling. We’ll take a totally different approach in terms of scaling your business and getting a steady stream of clients. Although the groundwork you do now can have a really positive impact on the long-term marketing and stream of business that you’ll end up having.

So if you found this video helpful, and you haven’t already, then I highly encourage you to subscribe. This channel is all about you, and creating more freedom. We’re going to have lots more videos on marketing, on getting clients as well as some cool stuff around confidence, around travel location independence, and just creating a more awesome life for yourself.

So that’s it, if you made it this far, you probably don’t think I’m too much of a jackass, so I would highly encourage you to subscribe, stick around and watch more of my videos. Cool? Thanks, ciao!

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