How Do You Get Your First Clients?
So you decided that you want to be a freelancer. You started learning the skills that you would need for the job (learn how to code here). You also created a portfolio website to showcase your skills and work (learn how to build a portfolio website in one-click). Now you are waiting to get your first clients.
Easier said than done, right? You probably have no idea where to start. Don’t worry, it’s not too bad.
Start With Your Existing Network
The best place to start looking for your first clients is through your existing network. Reach out to your family members, your friends, and your friends’ friends.
You can do this by:
- Emailing your friends and family about your services
- Posting on social media that you’re looking for projects
- Talking to people about it in your daily life
You can also get creative with this. For example, if you work with websites, you can offer to build personal websites for your friends for free. Or maybe you can build a website for your relatives’ business.
Get Projects to Build Your Portfolio
Since you are new to freelancing, you won’t have a lot of past experience to brag about. That’s okay. Your focus should be on getting as many projects as you can to build up your portfolio.
You want to find projects that are close to your skill level. Once you have identified them, do all you can to secure the project.
Here are some of the things you will need to discuss with your prospective clients about:
- Project Scope: what does your client need?
- Cost: what is your client’s budget?
- Timeline: what is your client’s timeline?
Since you are just starting out, I would recommend that you put less emphasis on making money. The experience you will gain from these first projects will be invaluable to you and will pay for themselves in the future.
Make Sure Your Client is Happy
During your projects, do all you can to please your clients.
It’s incredibly important to build strong relationships with your clients. In the future, they may either come back to you for more work or refer you to their friends.
A good way to consistently exceed your client’s expectations is to do something I call underpromise and overdeliver.
This means that when you set a deadline, give yourself some buffer time. If something will take two weeks, tell your client you need three weeks.
This way if you deliver your projects in two weeks, you will exceed expectations. On the other hand, if something goes wrong and you need to take the full three weeks, you are right on schedule.
Get a Testimonial From Your Clients Afterward
Do you ever see websites showcasing client testimonials? Those reviews don’t come out of thin air. These people were asked to review a product or service.
You will have to do the same with your client. If you did a great job for your client, you should not feel shy about asking for a testimonial. Ask your client if they would be willing to provide a 2-3 sentence review of their experience working with you.
Keep in mind that in the three years I have been freelancing, no client has ever said no to that. So don’t be timid! Everyone wants to help each other out.
So once you have your testimonial, you can feature it on your website!
Take a look at the website of my web agency Tandem Designs for an example of client testimonials. Our testimonials section is near the bottom of the page.
Create a Case Study for Your Project
Once you have completed a project, create a case study explaining how the project went. Describe the needs of the client, what you did for them, and the work process. Depending on the type of project, you may want to include images, testimonials, and links.
Leave Your Questions in the Comments Section Below
If you have any questions about starting out with freelancing or with finding your first client projects, just leave your questions in the comments section below!