Where do you find new clients?

Whether you’re a blossoming entrepreneur or have been in the freelance game for a decade, the hunt for clients is neverending.

While it does become easier with time — especially if you live up to and exceed your existing clients’ expectations — coming up with novel ways to find new clients should always be on your to-do list.

If you’re looking for a little bit of inspiration, though, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to find new clients:

1. Participate in Online Communities

The internet is, undoubtedly, the most important marketing tool at your disposal. Thanks to this handy innovation, many freelancers don’t even need to leave their home to make a living!

But, with that said, most self-starters fail to use the internet to its full potential. Especially when it comes to connecting with prospective clients.

You see, the internet is full of tight-knit communities for anything you can imagine. From selling on Etsy to tarantula-keeping, there’s a community out there for it.

So, how does this help your search for clients?

By finding and participating in online communities that are relevant to your services, you can connect to countless potential clients in one of the most genuine ways possible.

However, don’t turn your participation into a full-force advertising campaign. Instead, share funny content, offer troubleshooting help, or just participate in friendly banter.

With time and some luck, the work will come to you.

2. Send Follow-Ups

Rejection is hard in any context. But when it comes in the form of turning down your services, maybe freelancers completely write off a lead.

Doing this can often be self-sabotage, though.

While it’s hard not to take a dead lead personally, there are numerous outside factors that go into whether a prospective client decides to hire you or not.

With time, however, one or more of these outside factors can change. Don’t hesitate to follow-up with past prospects that fell through to let them know about promotions, new services, or just to check in on their changing needs.

You never know when a dead lead could resurrect.

3. Invest in Internet Ads

We’re inundated with online advertising every single time we use the internet. Still, most entrepreneurs fail to see the benefit of using ads for their own gain.

The beauty of online advertising is that, at least on most platforms, you can target specific users. This means you can ensure your ads are only seen by those most likely to have an interest in your services.

While advertising services like Google Ads can get your information seen across the web, don’t underestimate the power of smaller ad campaigns.

Depending on your target audience, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all great platforms to consider advertising on.

4. Create Free Content

Do you know what every client enjoys? Free information that benefits them and their business.

You probably see the word “free” and balk at the idea of essentially working without getting paid.

And, yes, distributing free content that helps your target audience in some way, such as a newsletter on the changing market conditions of their industry or an article on how to use SEO to maximize their website visitors, might seem like giving away the milk without selling the cow.

But there’s an art to this form of advertising.

Producing and publishing valuable content in the form of an online course, ebook, blog, videos, or newsletter:

  1. Gets your name in front of prospective clients
  2. Shows that you have the skills and knowledge they need
  3. Educates on how your services can help them
  4. Encourages people to share your content with peers or colleagues

And once you create such a piece of content, it can advertise your services for years to come with little upkeep or work on your part.

5. Referrals, Referrals, Referrals

When you have one lead in your grasp, there’s a pretty good chance you’re just a step away from dozens more.

How do you access these invisible leads, though? You ask your current clients for referrals.

Unfortunately, many otherwise successful entrepreneurs don’t take advantage of these opportunities. If you’re one of them, it’s time to change your strategies.

Here’s the thing:

In an ideal world, client referrals would happen naturally. But most of the time, existing clients need a little push to promote your services.

Instead of patiently waiting for your past or current clients to tell their peers about your services, directly ask them to share your information to anyone they think would be interested.

6. Market Your Portfolio

Every freelancer knows how important a strong portfolio is to a successful business. Although, is your portfolio really reaching the audience it deserves?

Aside from hosting your portfolio on a static website, consider how else you can get your body of work in front of prospective clients.

Do you have any portfolio pieces that are conducive to being shared on Instagram, Twitter, or Reddit?

Or, have you looked into portfolio sharing websites like Behance or Dribble?

Even if these efforts bring in just one new client, they’re almost guaranteed to be worth your time.

7. Answer Questions

Along with casually participating in online discussions surrounding your field, consider positioning yourself as a helpful authority within your niche.

Platforms like Quora, Reddit, or even Twitter are rife with users looking for easy-to-understand answers to their technical questions.

You might be thinking, “If I answer these questions for free, though, why would they hire me?”

And, yes, the person whose question you directly answer probably won’t turn into a client. But consider how many other people will stumble across your answer in the coming weeks, months, or even years.

Quora, in particular, is extremely SEO-optimized. Search for a question, and chances are a Quora answer will be one of the top results.

So, why not get your name out there and cash in on some of your professional knowledge?

8. Be a Guest Speaker or Interviewee

In the same vein, make yourself available to news agencies, bloggers, YouTube channels, and other publications that are looking for an expert in your field.

Sitting down to answer a few simple industry questions for the nightly news or a college website will only take a few hours of your time. Plus, you can then link to this publication in your portfolio or social media profile.

9. Partner Up

Freelancing, by its nature, generally means working alone. However, this can mean missing out on opportunities to collaborate with peers.

If you’re looking for creative ways to showcase your skills and connect with new clients, take the time to research other entrepreneurs who offer complementary services to your own.

Maybe they have a client who’s looking for exactly what you have to offer, but it’s outside of their scope of work. Chances are, you might be able to return the favor, too.

While building such relationships might not lead to instant leads, you might be surprised by how lucrative this type of collaboration can be over the course of a few years.

10. Find New Clients in Old Ones

Some work is one-and-done. But that doesn’t mean you should write-off an existing client as soon as your contract comes to a close.

In fact, priming an old client for repeat business starts before they even transition from being a current client in the first place.

Follow these techniques to transform old clients into brand new leads:

  • Provide top-notch service from beginning to end
  • Send recent clients a “thank you” follow-up and invite them to reach out as needed
  • Provide ongoing support for past client projects
  • Offer free resources to past clients like newsletters and e-courses
  • Refer personal and professional contacts to past clients whenever possible
  • Contact past clients whenever you offer a new service or product

By maintaining a strong business relationship with clients and keeping the lines of communication open, you can ensure they come to you first whenever they need additional work.

Leaving good impressions behind isn’t just about the quality of your work (though it’s clearly the most important factor).

If you want to encourage repeat business from past clients, you need to provide a secure, professional, and streamlined process from start to finish. This means investing in high-quality estimates, easy-to-understand invoices, and making paying you as simple as possible.

But if you think all this will cost an arm and a leg or take hours of your time, think again.

Innovative software like invoicely lets you create and manage all of your invoicing and expense tracking needs in one place. Plus, your clients will love how clear and streamlined everything is on their end.

Learn more about what freelancers and clients think about invoicely and how its features can help take your freelancing business to the next level.