So you have finally decided to take that first big step in your career change towards the world of freelancing, but there is just one hitch – you have no idea where to find your first clients and customers.
A few years ago you would have to act solely by means of local businesses and private residents of your community in hopes that someone, anyone you know could lead you to a potentially high paying client for your freelance work.
Writers always had it easier because there were hundreds of magazines and newspapers who always needed freelancers on a day to day basis – but if you were a web designer or a software programmer, chances are you were out of luck. But that was back before the internet wove its way into homes across the world.
Make full use of internet
Finding customers for your fresh freelancing operation has never been easier thanks to the internet. People and companies looking for freelancer workers to help them with a project or two are all over the place and can help you get started in the freelance world if you are lucky enough to find a client that will work with you time and time again.
Furthermore, as a freelancer you can also use the internet to your advantage to advertise your services on various forums and other freelance web resources. In these situations, instead of you looking for some prospective clients, they look for you – allowing you to focus on whatever tasks and projects you are currently working on for others.
As an up and coming freelancer, the first thing you must do when looking for clients is to get your name out there. Let people know who you are, what you do, how well you do it, and what you can do for them.
Potential clients love a freelancer who is willing to get the job done right the first time on a timely manner, and if you have no prior experience, you may have trouble getting high paying customers to trust you right off the bat.
However, if you start with a few low paying jobs, you will quickly find that you can advance through the ranks very rapidly and soon be able to net all of the projects that will allow you to keep your freelance business self sufficient.
Keep up your portfolio
There is no better way to get off on the right path as a freelancer than to assemble a clear, concise, and focused portfolio of your work.
You can either include this portfolio as an email attachment when you apply for positions offered to you by clients, or if you have some web design skills you can create a personal portfolio website that outlines all of the specific projects that you have worked on over the years for various clients.
Whatever type of portfolio you choose to create, be sure that it is targeted to the audience you are trying to attract, as there is no sense in including work you did as a software programmer if you are looking for work as a freelance photographer for example.
Join forum and discussion boards
Now, when it comes to finding clients for your freelance business in masses, you need to focus your attention to the various forums and discussion boards that dot the web.
Google is a great way to search for different websites that are specific to your chosen freelance field, and if possible you should avoid posting advertisements for your services in freelance forums that are not frequented by people who are looking for freelancers in your line of work.
Posting out of section makes you look bad and could result in you being banned from various freelancing websites that may have proven helpful to you in the future as your business expands.
Choose the right platform
Because it is so important for you to find freelance websites that are focused to your particular field of operation, you need to decide on one or two services that you think you can find freelance work in and then go from there.
If you choose one of the popular freelance jobs, such as writer, editor, photographer, web designer, or software programmer then you will have a much easier time finding work online because there are so many different freelance directories available to you.
As any kind of freelancer, one of the best places to start your search for customers from around the world is Craig’s List. This is your one stop shop that can help you find work in your local metro area as well as in cities and countries from around the world. Most of the jobs offered at Craig’s List allow you to work at home although you may have to visit the offices of some of the higher paying positions from time to time.
Another amazing resource for freelancers of all kinds is Guru, a website that helps prospective freelancers in all fields find customers from around the world. It caters mostly to well establish freelance professionals though, so you may want to turn to it later once you have exhausted your other freelancing options.
If you are a freelance writer or editor, there are a couple of excellent freelancing websites for you.
The first is Freelance Writing, a massive database where employers and freelancers can post their information in hopes that they will find a suitable match on a per project basis. You will mostly find lower paying jobs here, but it is a great start if you are just getting into freelancing or if you are simply looking for a couple of easy part time projects to supplement your current income.
Also, the Writer’s Market is a great place to not only find work but to learn all of the ins and outs of the writing and editing business. You can get in touch with potential clients as well as hone your skills as a writer.
Those involved in the world of design and programming should turn to ScriptLance as their source of well paying jobs in their chosen industry.
As one of the leading websites for those involved in programming and design, this is probably the most likely place that you will find a well paying job in the web and software field. If you are looking for other options, check out the Freelance Job Search, a website that will help you find lesser known, but well paying freelance jobs in the world of web design, graphic design, and programming.