Landing your first freelancer gig in four steps


The decision to start your own freelancing career could have multiple reasons. Wanting to be your own boss, getting to decide what to do with your time, making the money you think you deserve and many, many more. One of the biggest mistakes anyone starting out as a freelancer could make is presuming that job offers are going to be easy to get.

They won’t be, not most of the time anyway. Starting out as a freelancer can be very tough and even nerve wracking at times and there are various reason why you´re not getting a freelance gig. After securing your first client, it suddenly becomes much easier to find and secure opportunities. We, at are very aware of how hard it can be to find that first job. That’s why we decided to put down some tips divided into four main steps, which will help you get that vitally important first freelancer gig.

1. Build up and use your personal network
First and foremost, building up a network of people you know is one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a client. Business consists of people and people are likely to pick someone with whom they have some connection. If you have worked at a firm previously, make sure they know where you are and what you’re working on at the moment – your colleagues can be invaluable. The same goes for your friends, relatives and school acquaintances. Secondly, meeting new people at random can surprisingly lead to a contract as well. On an airplane, at the bar, sitting at the café around the corner, clients are everywhere, you just have to look for them actively. It’s not about sales pitching, just mention what you do and slip the person a business card, there’s a chance he or she remembers the friendly face from last week and gives you a call.

2. Establish an online presence
Although the personal approach can be very efficient, establishing an online presence gives you the possibility to reach more people than you would ever get to talk to. So make sure you don’t forget to pitch your business online as well – this can include making a personal freelance website, blogging regularly, getting into the social networks and more. Just make sure your online presence makes sense and shows what you do and proves you can do it well. Blogging about your everyday activities can be entertaining to some, but is unlikely to get you that job you’re after.

3. Consider working gratis
Building up your portfolio can be difficult, especially if you have little experience. Experience never hurts and working for free can be a great way to put your name out there. Not getting paid sounds very annoying, but if doing something for your relatives, friends or a business that wouldn’t be able to afford your skills otherwise gets you a couple of benefits. One, you have an example of your work you can refer to. Secondly, if they are pleased with your work they will be more than willing to give you a few testimonials you can use for your marketing. Finally, you show them you can get things done, making it likely they will contact you for a paid job if the need arises.

4. Cold Calls
Calling out of the blue is an untraditional, but surprisingly effective approach for getting work. If you’re a web designer, for example, and you stumble across a site that could use some improvements, which you’re capable of providing, try contacting the firm. Describe what you can do for them and offer your services. While it might come off as a bit strange at first, some companies would be more than happy that you’ve pointed out a weakness they have, and are willing to tackle it.

Following these steps should make the road to the first freelancing job a little easier. Remember, don’t give up on freelancing just because you’re finding it difficult to land the first gig – as with everything in life it gets easier once you get the hang of it.

Pic: © alphaspirit -
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