How Do You Get Your First Freelance Client?

As a newbie freelancer, it can be very difficult to bag your first freelance client. Especially when you’re competing against already established freelancers. So today we’ll look at why it’s so difficult to get your first freelance job—and I’ll give you some tips to help you land your first client.

Why is it so difficult?

The main reason why it’s so difficult to get your first client as a freelancer is lack of experience. As a newbie, you’re competing against a crowd of already established freelancers. But you have no experience of freelancing to inform how you approach this situation. This means that your service offering, USP, and pitch will be less well-honed than established freelancers.

Lack of experience also means you have no reviews or testimonials to prove to the client that you’re worth hiring. This means that clients would be taking a big risk if they hired you, because they don’t know what they’re getting. If you went on Amazon to buy a product, would you buy one that has no reviews? Probably not. Well, neither would clients.

How do you overcome this?

This all begs the question: how on earth do you get your first client when no one will take a chance on you? Well, the easiest way is to start with the people you already know. Your first clients are likely to be your existing network. Look to your existing network—your friends, family, and former colleagues. These people like you and have faith in your skills, so they’re more likely to take a chance on you compared to someone who doesn’t know you.

How do you do this?

It might mean offering them a freebie in exchange for a review or testimonial—or for them recommending you to other people. It might be offering them a discount off your services. It might be exchanging your skills and giving each other feedback. When you get great feedback or a testimonial, then clients who don’t know you might take a chance on you, because they can see you’ve done a great job.

What if you don’t know anyone?

Of course, it’s not always possible to find work through your existing network. Maybe you don’t know anyone who needs your skills right now. In that case, try to find your first client in person through networking. By attending local networking events, you can talk to people about what you do and the value you add—without directly competing against other freelancers. People get to know you, so they’re more likely to hire you.

What else can you do?

If you can’t find a client through your existing network or through networking, then focus on delivering the best possible online experience for clients:

  • Check that your freelance profile is clear and compelling. Ask friends for an objective, honest opinion on it, then improve it.
  • Create an amazing portfolio of previous work that you can show to potential clients to demonstrate your skills.
  • Improve your service offering and USP by researching your competitors and what they’re offering.
  • Practise your pitch to potential clients, ensuring that it’s clear where and how you would add value to their project.
  • Check that your pricing is competitive against entry-level freelancers offering the same service as you—don’t set your prices too high or too low.

Keep at it

It takes time, effort, and patience to find freelance clients, especially when you’re a newbie, but you will find them. Don’t get too down-heartened if it takes a while to find your first client. Keep improving, keep trying, and keep looking. If you work on the above factors, you’ll land your first freelance client to get the ball rolling.

When you find them, let me know what worked for you! Comment below or get in touch.

7 thoughts on “How Do You Get Your First Freelance Client?

  1. Sage advice, Ameesha! My first few freelance clients came via people I had already worked with. I was also lucky, as a recruiter got me a two-month gig with an agency, which led to lots more work with them the following year.

    Liked by 1 person

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