Well, my dear, they come from many places. If you go to the library known as Freelance Folder, you’ll see people sharing how they find their clients.
When a freelancer and a client meet, they check out each other to ensure they are a fit. It may take some bio and web site reading to get familiar with each other. After making it pass the test phase, they come together and a product or service is born. No storks involved.
But how do freelancers and clients meet in the first place? Believe it or not, Mommy never relies on cold calling. Isn’t she lucky? Imagine how many bad phone calls I’ve had trying to contact strangers through the relay service. Blind dates just don’t work well here.
All of the following ways work because Mommy met at least one client each way.
- Referrals: Mom has clients from everywhere. Only one client has an office in Dallas. Yet, Mom found him through a colleague based out of Seattle. I helped teach a thesis related course for a few years plus created the bibliography guidelines for the school. Professors refer students to me for editing help. I love thesis editing because I learn new things like the impact of gentrification on cities.
- Social network profile: Just last week, someone who found me on LinkedIn sent me a query to do web content for his business.
- Existing clients: It’s important to keep current clients happy. It’s easier and cheaper to keep clients than to find new ones. A current client emailed me a project for another client.
- Plain ol’ reply to ads: A lot of people think this doesn’t work anymore, sweetie. With many people out of jobs, we all think every opening receives hundreds of applications. I replied to a call for writers and landed the gig.
- Twitter: I don’t think Mom has gotten any gigs directly from twitter. But it keeps her name out there as she tries to help others solve problems and link them to valuable and fun resources.
- Networking: Another client got to know me through his site’s forums and a couple of email exchanges. Networking involves many places including twitter, blogs, Facebook.
- Web site: A web site with all of its contents add to a person’s credibility. Well, if it’s done right. Too many business sites have no About page, photos, bios or anything to put a friendly face behind the company. Add a newsletter along with an email subscription box and you start building relationships.
- Existing work: A client liked several articles your mom wrote and contacted her. Another client and I worked for the same web site.
- Interviewees, editors and resources: I can think of at least three people I interviewed for an article or book chapter who eventually hired me.
- Volunteer work: I encourage new freelancers to build their portfolio through volunteer work. Besides that, you do something good. People will notice your work and refer you or hire you.
- Former students: I suppose this could count as existing work. I assisted many professors in NYU’s online graduate program. The students got to know me through online classes.
I’ve bought ads for directories with local non-profit organizations. I knew it was more for helping out the organization than advertising. As you know, I have only one local client and he found me through an online search.
So there you have it, darling. That’s where Mommy’s clients come from. And in not one instance did I rely on protection in the form of advertising or blind dates from cold calling.