How to Find Work as a Freelancer

Unlike working full-time for an employer, a completed project for a freelancer may mean you’d be out of work until you find another client. Fortunately, opportunities are always available. All you have to do is know where to find them and how you can prepare for them.

How to Find Work as a Freelancer

One of the greatest challenges in freelancing is finding work. One day you’re making a couple hundred bucks, and the next you’re not making anything at all.

Unlike working full-time for an employer, a completed project for a freelancer may mean you’d be out of work until you find another client. Fortunately, opportunities are always available. All you have to do is know where to find them and how you can prepare for them.

Here’s how you can start finding work as a freelancer:

Create a portfolio and prepare case studies

Your portfolio is your proof of your previous works. It’s basically what you show your clients to prove that you can do what you say you can do.

Like your typical resume, a good portfolio is tailored to your clients’ expectations. If you have a previous project that is similar to your target clients’, highlight it in your portfolio and make sure it’s the first thing they see. This encourages them to look deeper into your portfolio and consider your service.

Case studies are also a great way to give your clients a picture of what it’s like to work with you. If you had a similar role or project in the past, explain your work process and how you have achieved results.

Build your personal brand.

It can be tempting to just send out resumes and portfolios to clients that you want to work with. However, in a growing industry, it’s best to make sure you and your business stand out from the crowd.

This is where good branding comes in.

Branding is how you want to present yourself as a business or as a professional. As a solopreneur, remember that you are the face of your own business. Make sure your brand sends a specific message that builds your reputation.

If you’re a freelance accountant or bookkeeper targeting small businesses, for example, identify what makes your service different from others. Why should they consider you over the other freelancers out there? Is it your fast service? Is it your ability to communicate effectively?

How can you build an effective brand as a freelancer?

🔑 Figure out your strengths.

Think about your business and what you have to offer—your mission, vision, and values. How do these align with your ideal clients’ goals?

Once you have established an idea of who you are as a professional or service provider, structure the rest of your business—your processes and your online presence—around this identity you have established.

Your brand identity as the anchor to everything you do, and this will help you reach your ideal clients.

🔑  Tell a story.

Be memorable. A good story about your experience makes you stand out from the rest because it builds an opportunity for connections.

Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic or too long. Instead, you can start by answering these questions:

  • What is your background?
  • How did you get here?
  • Where are you heading (as a professional)?

🔑  Build a good visual identity.

A product may be good, but if not packaged right, a potential customer might fail to recognise it. Your visual identity matters, too.

People are generally visual in nature. We tend to pick out things based on how they look. In the same way, clients choose freelancers based on how trustworthy they appear to be.

You can start creating a good visual identity by taking professional photos of yourself. There are no hard rules for this one, but make sure it captures your personality and your business values.

Take the time to select the right colours and be consistent with it. If you have profiles for your business in social media platforms, keep a consistent template for your graphics.

A consistent visual identity builds trust and makes you easier to recognise.

🔑  Create a professional page or website.

Finally, find a place where your clients or prospects can go so they can reach you. Treat it as your digital (professional) showroom—a tool where you can display your works, services, or personality.

You can hire someone to create a professional website or you can do it yourself. However, if web development is not up your alley, there are easier ways to create a professional business page like using Oode. With this, all you have to do is type in information about yourself and your services and you’d get a beautiful business page that your clients can visit.

The best thing about having a dedicated business page is having people come to you because now you’re easier to find!

Build your network.

Networking is the act of interacting with other people in your industry to build contacts and create professional connections. Many freelancers forget this but networking is your best friend.

🔓 Networking builds credibility.

When you put yourself out there, you are making the effort to be a part of the community. Just by being present and being visible to other contractors or business owners, you become recognisable and you are no longer a stranger in the industry.

🔓 Networking helps you meet new people.

While it may be tempting to just reach out directly to potential clients for work, remember to interact with other freelancers in your industry as well. It’s not all competition.

You can collaborate or exchange knowledge and tips as well. You’d be surprised how you can forge good relationships with other freelancers and industry experts.

The easiest way to connect with other freelancers in your field is to follow them on social media. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, for instance, have groups that you can join.

A lot of times, you’d find opportunities getting passed around in these groups. You don’t want to miss that!

🔓 Networking opens you to more opportunities.

Whether the people you interact with are clients or freelancers, opportunities are definitely better when you network. You can join conferences and meet clients in need of service-providers like you.

When you’re present in online communities or networking events like these, you create an opportunity to be seen and recognised in your industry.

Generate leads and/or search for clients.

When you’re a freelancer, searching for clients can be tough, especially when you’re only starting out!

Here are a few ways you can find clients:

📣 Freelance job boards

This is a pretty straightforward place to look for clients. Freelance job boards like Flexjobs or Upwork post a list of hiring opportunities you can apply for. These places can be quite saturated with other freelancers, but it never hurts to try!

📣 Social media

Do not underestimate social media platforms. You can use social media to advertise your services and wait for clients to message you. You can also engage with other users directly and pitch your services.

📣 Networking

Traditional networking is still a great way to find clients. Don’t forget to start with your family and friends. Join groups in your industry or join (virtual or local) events and prepare your business cards for possible clients and collaborations.

📣 Cold-emailing or Email Marketing

If you want to be more intentional about client hunting, you can also try email marketing. Pitch your services directly to a client or run regular newsletters for a list of emails you have collected.


Do not forget to upskill!

In a fast-growing market, the best way to improve your credibility as a freelancer is to make sure you provide quality service no matter the changes in demands.

Unlike regular employees, you are constantly moving and on the lookout for new projects. When you’re up to date with clients’ demands, you become more marketable or attractive to your prospective clients. Strive to learn more to improve in your craft.

There are many ways to upskill. You can read books, learn from other experts, or enrol in relevant courses.

No matter how long you think you are in your industry, the demands are constantly changing. It is important to prioritise growth as a professional.

Know the cost of scaling.

Finally, know how much it costs to start and scale your freelance business. Freelancing may be more efficient than commuting to work each day, but it can also be costly depending on the tools you need to run your business.

Before setting a budget, understand what tools you need to sell your services.

Do you need a subscription to a website builder for your portfolio? An email marketing tool? An accounting software?

Calculate how much to set aside by identifying these things in advance.

💰 Equipment and tools

Equipment and tools may vary, but list down everything you need from your computer and internet connection to the necessary software and digital tools. These things tend to get expensive, so if you’re working on a tight budget, take the time to revise the list until you come down to just the essentials.

💰 Marketing and Promotion

Getting your business out there and advertising it for faster lead generation requires time and money. If you’re thinking of running ads or getting business cards printed, factor in the expenses for this as well.

💰 Training

Training and professional development can be an additional expense depending on where you look. Cut down costs by looking for free resources and courses online. If you’re looking to join conferences to network, write down the expenses from travel to food and accommodation.

There is no set budget for someone who wants to start their own freelancing journey. It all comes down to how much you’re willing to spend and what your priorities are.

Freelancing can be incredibly rewarding. Opportunities are endless if you’re a freelancer. Not only do you get to choose who to work with, you also get to be in control of your business. It can be tricky, however, to navigate and look for clients. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult when you have all the essentials in place.