How To Find Freelance Clients


In this episode Wes and Scott talk about how to find freelance clients — tangible things you can do to position yourself and set yourself up for success.

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Show Notes

1:27 - Question from Andreas Trattner: I am a backend developer with 4+ years experience working on large systems in Europe and am considering moving toward freelancing/contracting. However, I find it difficult to discover quality opportunities. Any tips you can share on how to strategically get projects?

  • There isn’t a secret trove of work, and there’s no one way to do it.

4:50 - Relationships

  • Trust and relationships rule all. The best paying gigs are never advertised.
  • Who should you know?
    • Other developers
      • How? Meetups, Conferences, Twitter, Slack rooms, Friends
      • Tip: Volunteering is a great way to get in to conferences, plus you often get to know people
      • Tip: If you are friends of a friend who gets a lot of work, as for a introduction
    • Designers and marketers
      • You usually work together
      • How? Twitter, Email, Dribbble, Instagram
    • Project managers
      • How? Cold emails, tweets
    • Office managers
      • Life blood of the office - they know everyone
      • Often move into other roles
      • How? Meetups, previous employees
    • Entrepreneurs
      • Lots of connections, often switching gears
      • How? Demo camps, Facebook marketing groups
    • Venture capitalists
      • Have dozens of companies and tons of connections
      • How? Demo camps, introductions, cold email

19:08 - Display of expertise

  • It certainly is an option to just be really freaking good at what you do
  • Speaking at conferences and local meetups
  • Working on open source
    • Helping in chat rooms
    • Posting guides
    • Maintaining docs
  • Offering reviews / Make things public
  • Start a podcast
  • Blogging
  • Volunteering

9:22 - Visibility

  • You need to let everyone know what you do. Your mom’s uncle’s friend’s cousin on Facebook might casually ask for recommendations.
  • Instagram / Photos. Showing people what you are doing and what you are working on will make a mental note in their head that you do that type of work.
  • Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
  • Blogging
    • This makes the “vetting” process much easier
  • Tweeting
  • YouTube videos
  • Slack channels you are involved in

38:02 - Other tactics

  • SEO - Locality (Toronto designer), specific technologies (Redux contractor)
  • Craigslist
    • This one sucks, but it can lead to decent work occasionally
    • You need to be more vigilant in screening, most clients will suck
  • Cold asks - Just ask people what works well
    • “Hey, I’m looking to book a few contracts starting June 2019. I love working with ______ and you can see my work here”
  • Put a phone number on your website. Seriously.
  • UpWork
    • Won’t make as much money here because of competition
  • Local business listings
    • Find online and offline biz listings
    • Old fashioned — putting your card on bulletin boards

47:29 - Maintaining Relationships

  • Check in every few months with non-biz related contact
    • But also just straight up ask for work
  • Christmas / Thank-you gifts
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