Are you struggling to get new clients as a freelancer? Tired of facing rejections whenever you reach out to a prospect?
In this article, you will discover a golden rule that is proven to work.
You will also learn what mistakes to avoid when trying to find clients.
I have been there. And I know it can be difficult.
As of 2018, 56.7 million Americans do freelance work. 84% of them are able to live the lifestyle they want.
Maybe you have chosen to be one of them. Especially, if you feel trapped in your 9-5 and want to earn a side income as a freelancer.
In a 2015 experimental study, working from home showed a 13% performance increase.
So, whether you want to get new clients or you are trying to kickstart a freelance career…
Follow the golden rule.
The Golden Rule To Get New Clients
First, I am going to share with you a story from my younger days.
When I was starting out…
I had a lawn mowing business. And I was struggling to get new clients.
So, I knocked on every door in every neighborhood and said: “Hey, can I mow your lawn?”.
Guess what everyone had to say in response? That’s right. They all said “No”.
One day I saw this lawn and it was full of tall and unkempt grass. It was really messy.
After checking I realized that the owners weren’t home. And I did something dramatic. I mowed the lawn for them.
Then I sat on the porch and waited for the owners to come back. When they came back, they drove by the house. They didn’t even recognize their own house at first.
When they finally did, I heard a lady shout: “What the hell is this?”.
She looked at the lawn and saw me on the porch, and asked me, “Oh, did you do this?”.
“Yes. I saw that the lawn was very unkept. I just did it for you. Thought you were busy.”
I added that I’m just a young kid trying to get started in the business.
She was surprised but was so grateful that she paid me my first $100.
Now, why am I telling you this story?
Well, because the golden rule is hidden in it.
My action that day taught me a very valuable lesson.
I learned the best way to get new clients is to add value first.
“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein
Apply this lesson when you are trying to find clients. The results will amaze you.
The Golden Rule In Action
My mentee, Peter was faced with a similar situation when he started out as a freelancer.
At first, he was struggling to get new clients. So, he got a list of every business owner in Vancouver, from the yellow pages, directories, and Google.
He emailed them, “Hey, I am a copywriter and you’re a business. Do you want my copywriting services?”.
As you can imagine, they said “No”.
Why? Because he didn’t add any value upfront.
For the first 3 months, that’s all he did. So, that strategy does not work.
Asking potential clients to give you work is not the way to go. That’s not how you get new clients.
If you are lucky, maybe you will find a few. But, it’s not a sustainable strategy. Is it?
Eventually, Peter changed his strategy. He started delivering value to clients.
Wondering how he added value? Watch this video to find out:
As you can see delivering value upfront is the best way to get new clients.
If you are a freelance writer like Peter used to be, here’s how you can stand out from the competition.
Just like experience taught me what I should do. It also taught me what I shouldn’t.
The 2 Mistakes You Should Avoid As A Freelancer
The lawn mowing business was just one of my early ventures…
Later on, I was trying to ‘make it’ as a freelance copywriter. And I made mistakes.
Which cost me time. And a lot of money. It wasn’t easy.
I learned the hard way until finally, I hit the 6 figure mark (in my early twenties).
Over the years, I have seen many freelancers make these mistakes too.
And I want to make sure you don’t make similar errors.
Especially, if you are trying to get new clients that also pay you well.
Mistake #1: The Hope & Pray Approach To Get New Clients
More clients mean more money, right? Not really.
I know this one too well.
The urge to chase multiple clients…
You go to every networking event, you can. Put your business card in every hand you shake.
Make cold-calls to businesses. Ask them to take you on for a job.
You take any and every client that comes your way. Then you look for referrals and recommendations from them.
And pray you are hired, again.
This is what I call the Hope & Pray approach to finding clients.
No control over which clients you take on. And no way to qualify them. You just take them on because you have to.
Some might be unreasonable and rude. You bear with all of it because you have to.
You either have too many projects at the same time (just to earn decent money).
Which come with unrealistic expectations and unreasonable deadlines.
You have no clients at all.
One month you make some money and the next month, nothing.
The infamous Feast or Famine Cycle of freelancers.
Mistake #2: The Curse Of Freelance Websites
I see this all the time. Freelancers looking to make a decent living on freelance websites.
I agree these websites are a good way to test the waters. To get a little experience.
They take some business infrastructure and logistics away from you.
But, are they sustainable in the long-term? No way.
These websites turn you into a commodity.
Tell me if I am wrong…
Initially, you are not sure of your worth. Not sure what to charge.
You know clients are looking for the cheapest possible rates. So, you undercharge for your services just to get new clients.
Even then, they try to squeeze you out of every penny possible.
And later, if you try to negotiate higher rates, they drop you – Just Like That!
So, you end up juggling multiple low-paying projects.
Leaving you in no control over how much you charge for your time.
I have even seen freelance writers being screwed over for payments, entirely.
These freelance websites:
- Take a good chunk from your earnings.
- Create a high-competition and low-income marketplace.
- Keep changing their terms and conditions (which most often puts you at a disadvantage)
In some cases, you even pay for the privilege of being able to bid. With no guarantee of getting the client.
I can add a lot more to this list…
But, you get the idea.
This method is not advisable if you want to get new clients that give you a sustainable income.
So is being a freelancer, not a good idea? Quite the opposite.
Because the world is changing. The economy is not what it used to be.
Skill-Based Economy: A Boon For Freelancers
If you are looking to earn a full-time income as a freelancer, there has never been a better time.
In case you haven’t noticed…
There are job cuts and layoffs happening all around you. Maybe you have seen it happen to someone you know.
Moreover, artificial intelligence has already started to replace humans. It has slowly but surely started to take over. Most big-name companies have A.I already implemented at some stage of their process.
Every single day people are coming just a little closer to being redundant in their roles.
You see…We are rapidly moving from a job-based economy to a skill-based economy. And if you are a freelancer, you are already ahead of most people in the world. Click To Tweet
All you have to do is find the right clients that can pay you well.
And in my experience, the best way to get new clients and earn a high income…
Expand and develop your skillset.
Did you know…
95% of freelancers take jobs that need them to improve their skill set. 61% specialize in 2-3 skills.
And one of the best skills that you can add to your skillset: Copywriting.
Earn A Steady Income As A Freelance Copywriter
Copywriting is a great way to generate a parallel revenue stream. And if you are serious you could make a lot of money with it. Just like I did.
Some freelancers think that copywriting is a low-paying and high-demand skill.
If you have provided copywriting services before, you may be shocked to know my answer.
Copywriting is one of the most in-demand and high-income skills in the world.
It’s the highest-paying freelance career, which doesn’t require a degree. It’s always in demand because it generates revenue for businesses.
Can you name one company that doesn’t like to make more money?
Having been a freelance writer myself, I know how hard it can be to get new clients.
Especially the clients that pay well and on-time.
But, it doesn’t have to be hard. If you know what to do.
Do you know that only ONE good client is enough for you to earn a steady income? Or for you to avoid falling for the above 2 traps just to get new clients?
Revenue-based writing is offering some of the best opportunities in the market today.
But, not all opportunities are created equal. There are 4 easy gigs that are in high demand for revenue-based writers these days.
I’ve put together a free on-demand training that goes into much more depth.