Freelancing can be both a difficult and rewarding trade. On the whole, once the work is steady, you can work the hours you choose and pick your clients…Great! However in quieter periods you will probably most likely be sitting at your desk wondering where the next pay cheque is going to come from. It can be really stressful.
As an experienced freelance web designer, I’ve decided to share some of my knowledge to help you find work:
1. Use social networking websites
Social networking websites aren’t just about updating everyone with what you are doing right *that* second. It can also be used as a tool for connecting with your local industries and generating work. Regularly update your profiles with useful information which business owners may find useful. For example you might post a blog post which explains ‘the cheapest way to get a new website.’ Potential customers are bound to love this kind of information, and it may result in a few leads.
2. Get in touch with your current clients
A polite email will never be frowned upon by anyone. I try hard to keep in touch with my client base, even if its just to strike up some non-work related chat. Keep yourself in the forefront of their mind, so that if they need any work doing you will be the first person to contact. Become as many client’s go-to-guy as possible. This is one of the most likely ways you will generate work as a freelancer so make sure you look after everyone you work for!
3. Contact local web agencies
A method I have already seen positive results with. Contact local web agencies that get the work you need and see if they can outsource to you. Set up meetings and get face-to-face with them rather than exchanging emails. Create a solid relationship with them and show them how you can be useful. Work may not come in straight away, but at least you will be on their books when they need to outsource.
4. Market yourself
Don’t forget that if you are struggling for work there is always the option of spending some of your money to advertise. Local papers and magazines are a perfect way to get a relatively low-cost advert out to your local audience and can bring in enough business so that they pay for themselves. There are many different ways you can go about this so it really is about experimentation. Just remember to be clear with what you are offering in your advert. Maybe even offer a discount to make it look more appealing.
5. Job boards
Avoid these as much as you can as you will rarely get the money you are worth. However, as a very last resort, its always worth browsing the freelance job board websites now and again. You never know what might come up. I know some freelance designers that found regular custom for doing a one decent low paid job for a client. Maybe sometimes is worth taking the sacrifice on pay to get a good relationship going with someone.
There is no sure-fire way of finding work, it is up to you to explore new and different methods to find what works best, however the ideas listed above are a decent starting point for anyone that is struggling for leads and inspiration.
Good luck fellow freelancers! Times can be hard when you don’t have regular work, but these are the times when you need to be the most creative.