I’ve been working for myself now for three years—first as a full-time freelancer and now an independent studio. However, my freelancing career goes back much farther than that to when I was in high school and later college—15 years give or take.
In all of that time, I’ve found that there are many different ways to find clients, but the best approach is to attract them to you through your work or, more importantly, word of mouth.
Within the last seven years, I’ve found that a large number—over 90%— of my freelance clients are referred to me by someone else, or they saw my work organically. The best part is that not only do they come back for more work, but they end up sharing their experiences with others and become walking-talking billboards for me and my business.
Now, in general, to attract clients, you not only have to create outstanding work and foster relationships with others, but you also have to have and maintain a visual presence online that people can see and engage with.
Yes, this means you need to have social accounts that aren’t just posting pictures of your children or dogs, but instead showing the work that you do and giving an insight into your creative process.
Right now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “I hate social media” or “who has time to post every day?” and that’s ok. You can hate social media all you like, and you can complain about not having the time to post to Dribbble or Instagram—and yet you can sit on your couch and watch the latest season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
In our modern world, we need to stop complaining and wasting time on things that aren’t going to help us in the long run. Instead, we need to put forth the effort and reach out for what we want—which, in this case, is freelance clients and projects.
Let me stop right there for a moment and say that I’m not telling you not to relax or unwind after working all day. I spend about 1-3 hours a day relaxing or de-stressing watching tv, YouTube, or playing Call of Duty with other creatives in my squad. What I’m saying is that you need to insert time for posting to social media, sharing your work, and especially creating work.
In the past, I would follow what Gary Vaynerchuk said to the letter. I would post a few times a day to Instagram and other platforms, non-stop for a few months. Soon I would find myself being completely burnt out of posting, which would lead to me not posting for a week to even months at a time.
Now, I don’t do that. I’ll still post to social media, but I don’t post as frequently. When I do post, however, it’s more meaningful content, and it’s my goal to start posting again daily because I know how much in doing will lead to more work and new opportunities. It’s the whole reason I’m sharing all of this because I hope it’ll inspire you to do the same.
In essence, here, share it—being your work—and they will come!