how to get clients

How I Get Freelance Writing Clients

  • Post author:Bob Haegele
  • Post last modified:June 30, 2024

Hello, all! I’d like to do something a little different today. We keep hearing that Google is giving precedence to first-person experiences and stories. Given this change in the tides, I’ve decided to share some of my own experiences in hopes it might help a person or two.

Specifically, I will be discussing how to get clients. This can apply to freelancers, entrepreneurs, coaches — anyone who needs clients to get paid.

I’ve built a six-figure writing career over the past few years, with my income well past the mark now. Here’s a snippet from QuickBooks showing my business income, mostly from freelancing:

business income

Since I started freelancing, I’ve learned a thing or two about landing clients. I still have a lot to learn, and I’m not claiming to have all the answers. Still, I think I have a good bit of knowledge to share, particularly for newcomers.

Here’s what I’ve learned about how to get clients. Hopefully, it can help you do the same!

Build a Portfolio

If you want to know how to get clients, you must start building a portfolio. This is important even when you’re just starting — and perhaps especially so during that time.

For content creators, a portfolio often acts as a resume. People in this industry might occasionally ask for a resume, but having a strong portfolio is far more important. It’s like the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. You might say you’re good, but your portfolio is your proof.

Of course, you may not have a lot of client work to showcase if you are just getting started. If you’re a writer, you can start a blog or start writing on Medium. I started this blog as a way to hone my writing skills and build my credibility with potential clients.

For graphic designers, you can start creating some graphics to show to clients later. The idea is to have something tangible you can show to clients. It’s results that people care about the most.

Establish Your Online Presence

If you want to get clients, it’s always important to put your best foot forward. This is why I make sure to keep my hire me page up to date with my best clients. It shows that I have worked with names even the average person would know. And if I’m good enough for them, odds are, I’m good enough for my next client.

To best honest, I don’t know how many clients found me through my hire me page. But I do believe it does a good job of showcasing my abilities as a freelance writer.

When I land a new, notable client, I’m sure to add them to my page. Sometimes, that means removing an older client or one that isn’t as well-known.

There are also social media accounts to consider. I don’t have the largest following out there, but I have found a few clients that way as well. For reference, I have a bit over 6K followers on Twitter/X and Pinterest.

The larger your following, the bigger the chance your next client will find you through social media. So, I do recommend spending some time building up your social media accounts.

ABC: Always Be Collaborating

What this should really say is “always be networking,” but “ABN” doesn’t have the same ring to it. In any case, one of the best ways to get clients is to network constantly.

Networking can take many forms, and you might prefer a different approach than me. Personally, I’ve had success reaching out to people on LinkedIn, participating in Facebook groups, and attending conferences. participating in Facebook groups. Each of these needs further explanation, so I will do that below.

LinkedIn

I don’t claim to be a LinkedIn expert, but it can be a great resource when you are looking for new clients. It can be tempting to rely on job boards when you’re looking for a gig, but those tend to be extremely competitive.

And when you don’t yet have a strong portfolio, competition is even tougher to overcome. Instead, use LinkedIn to your advantage by reaching out to companies directly.

Even within this sub-topic, there are endless possibilities. However, one way to start is by making a list of publications in your industry. Then, go to each company’s LinkedIn page and look for people who could be a good contact. For instance, as a freelance writer, I look for people with titles like “lead editor” or “content director.”

Then, I send them an InMail pitching my services. This is where having LinkedIn Premium can be useful, but many people on LinkedIn have open profiles. This lets you send an InMail even if you don’t have Premium.

The direct outreach strategy can be effective because you aren’t competing with dozens of people for a job posting. Creating an effective pitch is a topic of its own, but for now, I will just say it’s important to explain how you can help the client. Make sure to highlight any work you’ve done that aligns with the client’s needs.

Facebook Groups

There are thousands of Facebook groups out there, and obviously, not all of them are good. However, some are great. These groups are where I’ve connected with other writers who share gigs, talk about their work days, and ask any questions they may have.

In the past, I used Twitter/X for networking, but with the changes there, I don’t really engage with that platform anymore.

Facebook groups still have value, though. I tend to prefer the smaller groups because they are more tight-knit. I’ve connected with writers there who genuinely care about helping one another. This also overlaps with people who attend the same conferences as me, so I’ve met many of them in person as well.

It’s important to understand that you’re not competing with other writers. As I said, these folks¬†love helping one another. Needless to say, you can’t go into it expecting to immediately get a referral. You need to take a genuine interest in the members. It’s about building relationships. That won’t turn into a referral right away, but you will have a much better success rate in the long run.

In case I hadn’t make it clear, the people in my Facebook groups are some of my favorite people. But I wouldn’t be saying that if I went into it with selfish intentions. So, your main goal should be to build relationships and not immediately look for a referral.

Conferences

Attending a conference can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a great way to get clients. I’ve enjoyed attending conference since my first conference, FinCon 18. I didn’t attend FinCon last year, but I’m returning this year. I’m pretty excited about that.

Because I’ve built relationships with other writers, I usually say conferences are 50% hanging out and 50% connecting with potential clients. That’s generally still true today.

The elephant in the room is that attending conferences is expensive. Between the ticket, flights, and staying at a hotel, the cost can easily be over a thousand dollars.

For sure, it’s expensive upfront. But if I land even one new client who gives me work (and pays me) regularly, that easily pays for the cost of the conference. If I end up working with that client long-term, it pays for it many times over.

Again, how to connect with clients at conferences could be a topic of its own, but I will just talk a bit about it for now. Typically, I look at the list of brand attendees in advance and identify the ones I want to work with. Then, I approach those companies at the conference hall and ask them about their content needs. I mention that I’m a freelance writer, hand them my business card, and tell them what kind of writing I do.

I’m not necessarily an expert in this area either, but it helps having a good business card with important details like your name, website, email, and social media accounts. Of course, having a strong portfolio also helps, as the person can look you up later and decide whether they want to work with you.

This section is already getting too long, so I’m going to move on to my next tip for how to get clients.

Make Your Clients Love You

Once you start landing a client or two, the most important thing is to make your clients love you. Why? This will keep your clients happy, and they might even refer other clients to you.

At this point, you are probably wondering how you make your clients love you. Well, you’d be surprised, but it often doesn’t take much. For freelance writing client, it means consistently turning in your work on time.

The other thing is to make your work high-quality and not require too many edits. Spelling and grammar checkers are great for this. If you work in Google Docs, leave a lot of fact-checking comments, especially if the client asks you to do that.

Also, make sure you communicate effectively and professionally with the client. If you are going to miss a deadline, message your editor and ask for a couple extra days. If possible, try not to miss your deadline by more than a week, even if you ask for an extension. Staying close to the deadline shows the client that they are important, and you are prioritizing them.

Another thing you can do is ask for feedback. Believe it or not, clients don’t always speak up when there is something they’d like you to do differently. If you ask for feedback, they will let you know the things they like and don’t like so much about your process. You can then address those concerns, making the client much more likely to keep you long-term.

Bottom Line

Freelancing isn’t always easy, but it’s the best thing I ever did. It’s what allowed me to quit my job and work from anywhere. It’s also what allowed me to travel thousands of miles away to meet the person I ended up marrying (true story)!

While there are things I might have done differently along the way, deciding to go freelance is not one of them. I hope these tips helped you re-think things or learn discover a new strategy. Here’s to finding that next client!

Hey there. My name is Bob Haegele and I'm a personal finance writer who has been freelancing since 2018. Since then, I've built a six-figure career as a freelance writer. My work has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes Advisor, TIME.com, USA Today, and many other outlets. Interested in starting a blog of your own? Check out my post on starting a blog.

Leave a Reply