When I started freelancing for the first time a couple of years ago, I thought that my biggest problem would be finding new clients. I lived abroad for most of my 20s so I didn’t have a huge network of industry colleagues to call up in Ireland. I really worried that I’d struggle convincing companies to hire me. To my surprise, that turned out to be the easy part (spoiler alert: the hard part is getting them to pay on time).
Through my freelance career, I’ve worked with clients in the US and Canada, Switzerland and Australia, as well as here in Ireland. How do you convince someone on the other side of the world, who you’re never going to meet in person, that you’re a credible and reliable freelancer?
For me, the only solution was to build an online brand that people can trust in. Here’s how.
My industry blog
I started blogging about PR and Marketing in 2016. I was still in full-time employment, but I was getting increasingly bored and frustrated by a corporate “we’ve always done it this way” attitude that seemed to greet every new idea and concept. I believed there was a better way of doing it, so I started writing about it. I shared the articles on LinkedIn and connected with people all over the world. Some months the blog got 10k-15k views, and when I moved to freelance, regular readers became leads.
They trust me because they have been reading my posts for years now, so they can have confidence in my writing and in my expertise. If you’re having trouble with finding new clients, start a blog, and update it frequently. Promote your posts widely. Be generous with advice and resources. Make sure it’s on your own self-hosted website.
Over on my LinkedIn page, you can see recommendations that span from eight years ago when I was an intern, through my career to date. Over on Upwork, another place I find new clients, I have a 98% job success rate with multiple positive reviews. And if you type my company name into Google, I’m right there with a few more testimonials from clients.
Overall, it builds a picture of a trustworthy, reliable freelancer with demonstrable successful relationships with a variety of clients. Every time a project finishes, you should ask your client for a review on one of these sites. They are compelling evidence that you are worth your salt.
A strong portfolio
Almost all clients will ask for samples of your work before hiring. It’s a good idea to dedicate a section of your website to a portfolio of previous work. A strong portfolio combined with good recommendations and an engaging blog is a killer combination for finding new clients.
Anyone can start a website, so this really only works in tandem with the two steps above, but it’s crucial that you have a strong digital presence. As well as my site and personal LinkedIn, my business has a LinkedIn page. I link to my Instagram account from my site so clients can get to know me as a person. I’m Google-able.
When all of the above is taken together, there can be no doubt that I am who I say I am, and that I’m a real person! So make sure you’ve woven together a bunch of strands so that even a stranger at a computer screen halfway around the world can feel confident that they know who you are and what you stand for.
…and we’re back
With all that said, I’m delighted to announce I’m going back to freelancing on a full-time basis. For summer 2019 only, I’m running an amazing offer – if I say so myself – 12 blog posts for €1200. This is 50% off, with a royalty-free image and a social media post included for each one. I’ll only be able to take on a handful of clients at this rate, so get in touch ASAP if you’re interested.
I hope this helps some new freelancers with finding new clients. Leave me a comment below and let me know.
ABOUT KATIE HARRINGTON
Katie Harrington is a Communications and Content Creator based in Dublin, Ireland. Her e-book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including Accenture, EY, Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as in the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat.