Clients aren't easy to find.
And a lot of freelancers see job boards as a quick and easy solution.
Although I've occasionally found good opportunities on job boards, they're far too competitive.
Because the truth is, you're often competing against hundreds of other candidates.
How I've earned clients
And I'm proud to say that I've learned how to go beyond the job boards.
Today I'm going to share how you can also go beyond the harsh competition of job boards, and get new clients that will happily pay you what you're worth.
1) Find out where your clients hang out (offline)
When I first started freelancing, I only used Meetup groups for finding writing groups and meeting other writers.
And I was definitely missing out on something extremely valuable.
This past year, I faced my anxieties and fears about in-person networking.
It's not that I hadn't tried that before.
The only actual problem is that in-person networking didn't accomplish much in terms of overall results.
Then I had a breakthrough when I found Meetup groups in an environment I felt comfortable in:
Small groups of people with like-minded values.
And that actually worked!
In fact, that got me new clients just through engaging with people that resembled my ideal client.
And all I had to do is focus on telling people what I do while addressing their questions about how content marketing and social media actually works.
2) Prioritize online platforms where people actually click on your links
Have you checked your website's SEO stats lately?
If so then you'll notice patterns, in terms of what people are clicking on.
Do any of those patterns tie into social media campaigns?
If so then that's a sign that you've uncovered where your clients hang out.
For instance, the Bit.Ly links that show up on my LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook profiles are one of my most crucial sources of traffic.
And you know what ranks even higher? My Facebook group and Facebook page engagements.
I engage on a regular basis with Facebook groups, and post weekly promo campaigns to all my social media profiles, via CoSchedule.
So this is basically a sign that this is what gets people's attention.
3) Offer complimentary advice & insight
Before your clients commit to actually paying for your services, give them a free sneak peek of what you have to offer.
Popular, and also effective ways of doing this include:
- Blog posts that provide a relevant "how-to" guide
- YouTube Videos
- Helpful, Facebook group-based advice
For instance, you likely haven't bought everything from lunch to apps without getting a recommendation from others or deciding that you like a company's take on things.
And your clients likely will behave in the exact same way!
4) Be available
I'm not saying you have to be available all the time because I realize how unrealistic that is.
What I'm really saying is this:
If you want to attract new clients you have to make time for them, first and foremost.
And I know that sounds like common sense, but really it isn't.
It's surprising how much something as simple as making time for new clients can be overlooked.
When I had one of my worst slow periods ever this was one of the most valuable lessons I learned.
Instead of sitting on my ass, and waiting for people to come to me I worked on improving my client interaction process.
I set time aside on my calendar that I called "my office hours" where I'd make myself available to clients, answer emails, work towards reaching deadlines and top up my Buffer queue.
Then I made a welcome package so that those expectations would be 100% clear.
And then I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't do any work or answer emails after those hours.
But how is that relevant?
It lead to clients treating me less like a freelancer and more like business.
And that's exactly what I wanted, because I knew that what I was offering wasn't content mill style content.
And this lead to more referrals and more opportunities that happened because I eagerly made time for coffee meetings, consultations, etc.
5) Impress & Go Above and Beyond
You know what's awesome?
When doing the work and meeting deadlines turns clients into enthusiastic fans of your work.
You know what's even more awesome?
When people go tell everyone they know how much they loved working with you, and you get a new client out of it.
If you want that to happen, don't promise more than you can realistically accomplish.
And then, promise yourself that you'll be more than just whatever creative entrepreneur box you've placed yourself in.
Be the amazing consultant that not only does their work, but goes that additional, extra mile to make sure that the client continues to get awesome results, over and over again.
I did something very similar the other day:
I had half an hour to spare at the end of my day, when a client was struggling with uploading the article I wrote for them.
So, I offered them a complimentary call so that they could get extra help over the phone, and get their social media and uploading questions answered.
And they loved it!
In fact, at the end of the call they told me all about what an amazing experience working with me has been, from start to finish.
If you get those kinds of results and impressions, both from clients you're working with, and casual readers of your work, than you'll have to spend a lot less time pitching and a lot more time creating.
Tell me in the comments below...
What other methods have you used to get clients that don't involve job boards? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!