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How to Land Your First Client as a Freelancer

Uncategorized Apr 22, 2020


Australia’s workforce is continually changing and with the advent of a global pandemic, the growth of technology, and right now more and more businesses are turning to freelancers to fulfill roles.

A study by Upwork found that 4.1 million Aussies — or one-third of the workforce — are now freelancers. Another 746,000 are freelancing on the side whilst earning a salary.

But the freelance economy isn’t just booming here. Internationally, it’s taking off too.

In fact, the Freelancing in America report found that by 2027 the majority of workers in the U.S. will be freelancers, and although income predictability is a common challenge, 63 percent freelance by choice.

People are gravitating towards freelancing because it gives them flexibility and autonomy over their work. In fact, freelancers serve positives for business owners and founders of start-ups too.

Choosing to hire freelancers over full-time or part-time staff allows owners to collaborate with a variety of workers with unique skillsets on different projects while keeping their business lean.

Better yet, they can avoid paying staff entitlements such as annual leave and superannuation.

So the demand is definitely there and growing. And with a little leg work and use of the right online tools, you can set yourself up for success with landing your first client.


Explore Gig-Based Websites

While many gig-based websites have a reputation for low-quality job opportunities, it’s certainly not the situation in every case.

Sites like Upwork, Freelancer, Expert360, People per hour and Air tasker can help you launch your freelance career if you’re intentional about how you use them.

It takes time to understand how the platforms work, and what you can do to maximize your chances of finding great clients that pay well.

Take the time to complete your profile with as much detail as possible and include any samples of your previous work in the portfolio section.

Make sure that you highlight your skills and experience, and what makes you stand out from the competition — this part is extremely important.

There is a lot of competition on these sites, with many freelancers willing to do the same work for less. Your bids will constantly be undercut — and in a lot of situations, the client is after the lowest price.

But it’s not all bad news. There are lots of clients seeking skilled and experienced professionals with a proven track record of success – and they are willing to pay expert level compensation to the right person.

Submit proposals to a few lower-paying opportunities to build your portfolio and establish your reputation. Gaining this experience along with positive reviews from clients will help you become a top-rated candidate that gets the right attention from the very start.

Another great way to have success on these platforms is to work with clients that are seeking a long-term working relationship. A great opportunity to take on large projects and work with a client on multiple projects.


Start a Blog

In order to establish your reputation, build an audience, and ready yourself for new opportunities you need an online presence where you can showcase your best ideas.

A great way to establish yourself as an industry-specific thought leader is by constantly creating and producing useful content.

Writing a blog is a powerful way to extend your reach and influence — even if you don’t consider yourself experienced enough to fall into this category.

There is something that you know how to do, and how to do it well, and it’s your job to share that with the world. If no areas of expertise immediately come to mind, consider documenting your own experience as a marketer or graduate, with observations and learnings that will deliver value to your readers.


Expand your Reach

Most of the best freelancers get referrals from current and past clients.

What makes a client want to give praise?

  1. They’ve received something of value (that is, the project(s) someone has done from them).
  2. They thought someone did a solid job, both in what was delivered and how someone engaged with them.
  3. They’re OK with risking their reputation by referring someone to others.

The main thing to focus on here is that the client has received something of value.

This is exactly why we want to build an audience and continuously and constantly push value their way!

Your referrals may be severely limited — or non-existent - when you are just starting out in freelancing. A way to combat this is to approach a business that may be lacking in your area of expertise. Present a Marketing strategy and an offer to implement the strategy in exchange for a glowing review and testimonial to add to your portfolio.


The best kind of references

Customer testimonials take many forms, but the two most common are written testimonials and video testimonials. Video testimonials add an extra element of persuasiveness and personality, making video the way to go when you need to convince your audience to take action.

The key to a video testimonial is authenticity. You want to prioritize sharing a customer’s story in his or her own words to maximize the impact (and believability) of the story.


Package your Services

Creating bundles is about simplifying the process for your clients. You don’t want them to look at something like “I have years of experience in fields X, Y, and Z, call me”. Instead, you should be specific with your packages.

A general but more specific package would be: “I`ll build you a website, host it and take care of any issues for X months” – now that’s a package they can click with!

Anchoring is a way to create different options that give varying reference points and make a certain option more appealing to the client. It sounds tricky, but it’s quite simple.

Here’s an example: You offer three packages – the basic one is for 100 dollars, advanced for 200 dollars and premium for 500 dollars. People will tend to go for the middle one (especially if you highlight it as the recommended one).


The world is your oyster

There are myriads of free ways you can get the word out there about your services – your social media profiles, your blog, freelancing sites, and correspondence with your network via email and direct messaging.

Word of warning if you’re using that last one though – if you haven’t had contact with someone for a while, don’t re-ignite the relationship by promoting your services, you’ll need to build the relationship and demonstrate some legitimate value and connection first.  

But as you do that you are opening yourself up to endless possibilities with a strategy that sees you building a profile on LinkedIn, registering with gig-based websites, writing a blog, gathering references and packaging attractive services.

Working with your dream client may be closer than you think — and the road to self-employment is just around the corner.

Starting out and want to get ahead quicker? 

Grab a copy of my ebook Getting Started as a Marketing Freelancer.
This powerful guide will show give you hacks and how-to's for how you can: - Standout in a crowded marketplace - Command higher rates and more enjoyable work - Attract the best clients and work with them more often!



About the Author 

Nina Christian is a passionate marketer and mentor to young marketers and entrepreneurs around the globe. 

Her marketing agency Braveda, founded in 2000, is a boutique marketing agency (est. 2000) that specialises in building brands through thought leadership and content creation, and was named Best Marketing Agency at the 2018 Australian Marketing Excellence Awards and Nina was named 2018 Certified Practicing Marketer of the Year (Victoria).

Nina believes every marketer deserves the chance to build a career that inspires and is helping young marketers become the marketers the world wants and needs through Launch Your Marketing Career

She is also an entrepreneur with several start-ups under her belt, including a successful exit in 2008 of a pioneering ecommerce brand she co-founded in 2001.

She is a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute, and Chair of the AMI State Committee in VIC.

Nina is a regular speaker on the subjects of Marketing and Entrepreneurship and believes there has never been a more exciting time to be a marketer.

Outside of work (which she loves!) Nina enjoys the outdoors, is an active CrossFitter, and after 3pm most days is off-duty having fun with her five young children and doing mum stuff.

Interested in some of the "behind the scenes" goings-on?

Facebook: @ninachristianHQ Instagram: @NinaChristianHQ LinkedIn: Nina Christian



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