Everyone has heard of the feast or famine dilemma of freelance work, but that truly does not have to be the case. If you know where to look and what type of relationships to build, you can create a healthy and sustainable pipeline of work for yourself. To get you started, here are the most effective tactics we’ve tested for finding freelance work.
Tap your own network
Your own network is a great place to start when looking for work. Referrals build trust and credibility. Someone is going to be much more interested in a pitch from someone who a friend or colleague referred than one from a total stranger out of the blue.
Put together a short and concise, but friendly email to personalize and send to each of your relevant contacts. Depending on how close you are to the person you’re emailing, there are three types of emails to consider sending:
A generic email explaining that you’re now freelancing full-time, what you’re offering and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of opportunities
An ask for specific introductions to people within their network
An ask to share a few names of people they think could use your services and if they mind you using their name
Make sure to also include:
- A concise, 2-3 sentence pitch of your services
- A link to your portfolio and/or website
- Why someone should hire you (i.e. any specific and relevant results you’ve achieved)
Become active in Industry and freelancer communities
Join communities within your industry and relevant industries (i.e. if you’re a content marketer, it doesn’t hurt to befriend designers, etc.), as well as freelancer communities.
The people in these communities will become your referral network. Get to know them, participate in conversations and add value. If there’s a specific opportunity you’re looking at or client you’d love to look at, put feelers out to these groups. They might just know the person you’re looking to get in front of.
Some places to look for relevant communities for you are:
- Slack: #Startup, #Nomads
- Facebook: Dreamers and Doers, Freelance to Freedom Project, Hire Club
- LinkedIn: The Fetch, Content Marketing Academy
- Reddit: Freelance Writing Jobs, People Hiring
You didn’t think we were going to leave our sister company CloudPeeps out, did you? ;-)
CloudPeeps acts as that friend between clients and freelancers. Customers trust us to vet and refer the best of the best freelance marketing, community and content talent. We’ve designed our profiles to showcase your skills and experience that are most important in a hiring decision. We’re also much more than a platform - we’re a community of freelancers who support each other, sharing best practices, tips, tricks and lessons learned.
Just like our freelancers, the jobs on our platform are also hand-picked and highly vetted. We work with people and companies looking to make change and the world and who know that the right freelancer can help them reach their goals and grow their businesses. We’re here to support you in your journey and always answer any questions you have.
Events and meetups
Meeting in person adds a layer of trust. It’s much harder to say no to a meeting with someone who’s staring into your eyes than it is to a cold email.
Put on your best work-casual outfit, arm yourself with business cards and get out there talking to people. It’s ok to be picky when choosing which events to attend, though. When deciding which to attend, consider:
- Who’s speaking
- Who’s attending
It might take some trial and error determining which events add value and which are going to waste your time. Here’s a list of our favorite community, content and marketing meetups. Or, you can always check out The Fetch for the best business events in your area.
Turn your employer into your client
Just because you’re ready to pursue running your own freelance business, doesn’t mean you don’t want to work with your current company. It could be that the best solution for you both is to consult or work on a contractor basis.
Here’s how to approach the idea with your boss:
- Carry through commitments
- Set up processes and workflows
- Prove your ROI
- Present a timeline and plan
- Be gracious
These resources should be more than plenty to set you off on your freelance journey. Best of luck, and as always, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!