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One of the most exciting things about getting into the freelance world is the prospect of a new client, your first client. The excitement you feel at the thought of steering your own ship and owning your work and paycheck never gets old.
Getting a new client is not rocket science but it isn’t magic either.

The traditional method of joining all Facebook groups and sending cold emails more often than not leaves you chasing your tail, with no real responses from clients that leave you feeling frustrated.
Sounds familiar?
Let’s double back and see how you can go from being a social media spammer to being taken seriously and ideally a sought-after freelancer.

1. First things first, no shortcuts

Freelancer Headshot
Freelancer Headshot

Create a professional profile of yourself either a Facebook page or a website with a portfolio if you are a designer or a blog if you are a writer. Add key points about what you can do for the client, your competencies, skills, availability (in hours), your rates and previous work samples if any. Have a professional headshot photo as it’s the first thing potential clients are inclined to look at. A good headshot should be in high resolution, taken chest-up, in good lighting, with a plain background.

2. Create a client profile

Highlight your ideal client, their niche, customer drivers and characteristics. Getting to know your client using these key points will provide a bird’s eye view of their business, therefore positioning you to add more value. When you are posting on your Facebook page and / or website ensure that it talks to your ideal customer so when they research you the copy converts them into contacting you.

3. Create a targeted networking system

Freelancers networking
Freelancers networking

Find industry-relevant social media platforms, where both clients and freelancers frequent and be part of the community. A good place to start is Quora, a centralized platform that you can ask and answer industry-relevant questions as a form of sharing knowledge and connecting with industry stakeholders. Others include specialised Facebook groups, local face to face networking groups, and follow/like people’s social media pages who you would like to learn from.

4. Market Yourself

Put up a helpful post that addresses some of the problems your target clients face and provide solutions but do not try to sell you need to build rapport. This is a good way to get noticed and strike up meaningful conversations. Learn to communicate professionally with clients. Most freelancers miss out on great opportunities because they fail to understand instructions or when a job opportunity is posted they reply “interested” instead of filling out the application form if one is provided, following the instructions or researching the posters business and referencing it in your reply.

5. Update your Job profiles

Dormant profiles only set you up for failure because most industry professionals look for skills and expertise by sifting through profiles especially on LinkedIn.
Make a habit of updating your profile and portfolio on a regular basis to stay ahead of your competition.

6. Co-working

Freelancers Co-Working Space
Freelancers co-working space

Working online can be lonely but joining a co-work space exposes you directly to clients. If you are worried about costs, virtual co-working spaces are now a thing, a good one to join is myworkhive which exposes you to fellow remote workers and clients alike and you get to share ideas with other freelancers as well. Who knew, virtual coworking is a thing!

7. Sharpen your skills

The online world is growing and so is the competition from other remote workers. A study by Statista shows a steady increase in the number of freelancers in the U.S. and it is estimated that 86.5 million people will be freelancing in the United States by 2027. This is up from 57.3 million in 2017. This may bring lesser opportunities to freelancers in developing countries although you can see they are hot on the heels of the USA.

That said, constant reinvention and skills-building through working with clients, taking online courses regularly, participating in workshops and webinars are vital to stay ahead of the curve and become an expert in your particular field.

What are you going to implement from this list to be a highly sought after freelancer?

Here are five top freelancing platforms that client use and where you can also attract clients.