How to Find Freelance Clients Consistently & Profitably

I’m a firm believer that your primary goal as a freelancer should be one thing.

And that is, to position yourself in a way that lets you secure new, high-paying clients easily.

That position is a place I like to call, “the land of milk and honey”. Good things happen in the land of milk and honey. The sun shines. The food is delicious. The milk is delivered promptly and with Long Island iced teas on the side.

It’s a pleasant place to spend your time.

If you can’t secure high-paying clients easily and quickly to produce a steady flow of work as and when you need it, what’s the point of being a freelancer in the first place? Why have all that locational and chronological freedom if you constantly worry about where your next paycheck’s coming from?

Until you gain entry to the aforementioned hallowed grounds of glorious abundance, getting there should be your primary goal. But how?

Glad you asked.

This article covers what I believe are five of the most important foundation stones to give you the confidence you can generate income whenever you need it, quickly and without fear of getting snowed under with bills or rent or whatever.

What do you want? Milk and honey. When do you want it? Whenever you dang well need it.

Here’s the how-to.

1. Mindset

I know, I know…Boring!

Look, I don’t want to turn this into some pseudoscientific lifestyle philosophy post, but your mindset is important.

If you take every action with an underlying narrative of “I’m not good enough to do this, why would people hire me?” Or, “how can I compete with all that outsourced work going to cheaper countries?” you’ll never achieve the kind of super solid positioning you want.

Action step a)

If you lack confidence in your ability, hit the books! Better learn your trade. Gain the confidence to charge more.

Become the expert you must, if confidence in your work, you are to have.

I remember watching the late business philosopher and public speaker, Jim Rohn, on stage waxing charismatic lyrical to a bunch of high-level IBM executives. He said:

“You get paid in direct proportion to the value you bring to the market.”

That quote stuck with me when I took up freelancing I studied my trade diligently. Doing so gave me the confidence to know I was worth the high rates I began to request.

Furthermore, it gave me the ability to produce the kind of work that gets me the stellar testimonials I have today (more on how to secure your own Jedi-grade testimonials shortly).

You know what? Doubts niggle away at me before just about every role I take on. What do I do then? I hit the books. Again.

Action step b)

Stop telling yourself that “oooh well, it’s such a busy market, oh so competitive”.

Excuse my language, but f*ck the market. You’re here to help entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business people who will benefit from your expertise. They’re the people you care about. What anyone else does is not your concern. Nor are you “competing” with anyone.

You’re certainly not competing with freelancers working for a dollar an hour. They’re not competition. We all get what we pay for, and big businesses are not interested in hiring people who’ll work for $1/hr.

Work on that mindset. You’ve got to be good at what you do and you have to know the value you bring to the market.

And don’t just get good at your trade…

2. Specialise

Or, if you’re from the US, you could “specialize” instead. On that note, I love the expression “the riches are in the niches”.

It only really works if you’re from the States because they say “niches” the same way people from the UK say “riches”. But, you get the point…

Avoid choosing an arbitrary niche. Pick one that plays to your strengths, that you’re good at, that you know well and/or that you enjoy.

To drop in another quote, here’s one I really like from the Buddha:

“Do your work with mastery.”

Remember that when you’re following these action steps.

Action step a)

Take time to consider your strengths. Well done, you’ve found your niche. Every hour you spend working on something that’s not your specialisation dilutes your portfolio and your expertise. You’re diluting your client base, your testimonials and your time.

When you’re an expert in a particular niche that someone’s paying you to know well, your expertise has value. And that value builds over time. You become the go-to gal or guy.

There is no “market”. There’s a specialist standing out from the crowd with the kind of warm, inviting glow that only someone who frequents the land of milk and honey can exude.

Action step b)

Get your brand straight. Your branding, your “clients include/previous clients” logos shown off on the front page of your freelance website, the testimonials you showcase should all be from the same niche.

Show your potential clients that you’re the expert in that niche and then apply to clients that specifically operate within that niche.

Specialise and watch your proposal acceptance rates increase significantly. Show off your expertise and reap the testimonials and other…

3. Social proof

To gain access to the lauded gates of the land of milk and honey, you must aim to build a list of testimonials that are so unbelievably good, people won’t have any choice but to hire you. Who else has testimonials like that? The “market” certainly doesn’t, that’s for sure.

Action step a)

Commit to always going the extra mile. Forget about your hourly rate (to some extent, at least) to ensure that work exceeds people’s expectations. Tie in Action Step 1A above before you start each new job, studying to ensure you get those five-star reviews that pay dividends later on.

Don’t just do the job to get paid; nail the job to get the amazing testimonial.

Action step b)

Gather all social proof, put testimonials you get from verifiable sources (such as LinkedIn or Elance) in pride of place on your website. If you’re big on social media, ensure you’ve got your Likes, Tweets & Shares somewhere on display, too.

Do everything you can to get good reviews and then showcase them. Shout them from the rooftops (in a humble fashion, if at all possible) and even drop them into the occasional proposal if you feel it’s relevant. Speaking of which, make sure you…

4. Tighten up your proposals

The Freedomlancers course gives multiple breakdowns of successful proposal writing and there’s another good example in the first portion of this article where we look at how to focus on results to justify higher prices.

But, for the sake of ease, let’s have a quick recap.

Action step a)

Read these bullet points.

  • Always start with a rapport-building opener that shares common ground
  • Never start a testimonial with “I”
  • Never copy and paste generic proposals
  • Always use “you”, “your”, and “you’re” more than “I”, “me” or “my”
  • Make proposals short and snappy, pointing to your portfolio and social proof so the client can do their own investigations and draw their own conclusions
  • Do Action Step 4B

Action step b)

Commit to semi-regular consumption of relevant blogs such as Copyblogger and the awesome Bidsketch blog. Once you’ve done that, it’s time you…

5. Leverage the law of averages

But, let’s have a quick recap first.

So far, you’ve got your game face on, mindset ready. You’ve decided your strengths and you’re gonna stick with them by specialising in a niche you’re good at. You’ve built up your social proof with your awesomely happy clients and your proposal writing is niftier than ever.

The final ingredient is mathemati Boring!

Okay, the final ingredient is leveraging the law of averages. Better? Excellent. What do I mean?

Well, let’s say your minimum proposal success rate is 10% and the average value of a job is $150. If you know that, then applying to an average of 2 jobs per day, will make around $900 per month in a worst-case scenario.

If you’re living on a tropical island in Thailand, that’s approximately double the living costs. Yes, that’s why you travel. Oh, and this too, of course.

Action step a)

Set up a process (spreadsheet, notepad, whatever suits you) to measure the value of your average job and your minimum success rate for proposals over a month. It’s worth keeping track thereafter because Action Step 4B above will help improve application success rates.

Action step b)

Once you’ve figure out your minimum required applications per day, apply math the law of averages to figure out how many new roles you need to apply for daily to secure the minimum required results to generate your necessary income.

Continue working on all the above actions steps and, over time, the gates to the land of milk and honey will open for you. Do you honestly think it’s possible to do diligently take action on all of the above points and to still find yourself struggling for a paycheck?

Not a chance.

It will become quicker and easier to secure higher rates and more roles than ever before. You too shall enjoy Long Island iced teas on the tropical beaches of the world.

Happy freedomlancing,

Mark

The course? Oh right. All the links on the blog give you 50% off. You’re most welcome.

2 thoughts on “How to Find Freelance Clients Consistently & Profitably”

  1. Hello Mark,
    that is overall well done, i’d say. really isnt rocket science, is it, most things i mean- more of a case of sitting down and putting down necessary steps and bits into process, that monkey mind can follow as a routine, until we reach true mastery. then, it’s more of a blastoff which follows no rules and needs none- business is coming in and we know how to be with it.

    not claiming mastery, but i do claim to have understanding, and want this to reach out to you in appreciation.

    one thing to address. if anyone truly can (!) : there is the case of freelancing certain unsexy products or desired engagements, which do not generally leverage much monetarily, as opposed to the usual corporate software products or sales programs, etc. which are sit-down computer-geeky nonphysical wealth builders.

    next, let me adjunct this phenom with the freelancer who wants to assist those who have very little resources in this world- and works on one-to-one basis, and not thru the red tape of aid agencies.

    let me give an example: what i live in, is engaging with Earth, and helping others to realize same, to find once again, a utility of the hands, and parcticality in the life. work. old fashioned farming and hoisting a hammer. now, this is fabulous perhaps as an executive getaway resort technique or way to offer sanity in hectic business life- but as a rule this world does not want to WORK! in this fashion. there are exceptions of course but i have found, all my life, that you get individuals one at a time, not usually wealthy to speak of, who don’t put big money down on a course of any kind, but who warrant assistance nevertheless, as they have dreams of helping their homelands.

    i am curious to see how you might address these cases for the freedomlancers of the world- lots of this going on, out there.

    cheers for your consideration,
    im
    imlightcell@gmail.com

    1. Hey Im,

      Hope you had a good weekend.

      Thanks for your comment, it was very interesting. If I understand you correctly, I think there are a few points to consider here.

      The first is the issue of how to find more success in industries which don’t necessarily pay as well as some others. I think the issue here is, if you want to make a certain amount of income, but you work in an industry that doesn’t tend to pay very well, you’re potentially up against a glass ceiling. Doing something that makes a difference to the world and making a lot of money is, of course, a notoriously tricky conundrum.

      For example, if you want to make $100,000+ right out of university and have a potential annual earning power in the millions, go for investment banking. But if you want to help people with practical work in a way that engages the earth (which I agree, is super, super important, especially these days) then naturally, it doesn’t provide the same upside potential.

      It’s the same with this blog. This blog and the course won’t make me a millionaire. But, breaking away from the daily grind and helping people in general are both things I feel passionately about, so I get a lot from of it.

      That said, all of the principles I discuss on the blog and in the course still apply to you. Social proof is still important to win clients, aiming for clients is important and getting better at your trade is important, too. If you build those testimonials and deliver truly life-changing experiences to people, they will give you the kind of amazing testimonials that can justify higher prices later.

      That said, I happen to know that there are a lot of investment bankers out there with a lot of money who are looking for something away from the corporate ubergrind those guys go through. I was reading how many of them are starting organic smoothy companies and the likes. Maybe you could target people like that?

      And, after all, how can you really put a price on teaching someone how to better engage with our planet? That’s super valuable.

      One final thing to say is the idea of scaling. If you want to help people and make more money, you could take on some staff and set up a company with improved potential outreach, invest in marketing and networking so you can help more people and, ultimately, make more money. So, scaling into some kind of business instead of being a solo freelancer is also a viable option to find more success in your particular situation.

      I hope I understood your question correctly and you find the answer helpful in some way.

      Mark

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *