You’ve done the work to learn web design, and you’re excited about launching a freelance business. Most freelance web designers are drawn to the work because they’re creative and possess hard skills. What many freelancers find, however, is that expertise and enthusiasm are only half the effort. A major component of your freelance business is finding and maintaining a client base.
Experienced freelancers have numerous methods for finding clients. As a web developer, you can try some or all of these strategies to identify and build your client base for short- and long-term success. Ultimately, diversifying your methods is crucial for finding freelance work.
Develop Your Pitch
With the rise of remote work and freelancing platforms, it’s more important than ever to think about marketing strategies. The first step is to develop a solid message as to what makes your services stand out. It probably goes without saying that developing your own website will speak volumes to your skills, capabilities, and professionalism.
Depending on the project, a client may not be familiar with web design and development, so positioning yourself as a relatable expert will go a long way. Avoid using confusing jargon in your initial sales pitches. Instead focus on the following:
- What elements of web design are most important to you?
- Do you have target clients? Why are you passionate about assisting them specifically?
- Why is your approach meaningful?
- What is your work style?
Answering all of these points meaningfully in branding and pitches can build a client base faster. Dot Lung, the “Mother of Social Media Dragons,” notes that whether you’re a freelancer or a CEO, “A personal brand, regardless of your business model, is one of the greatest lead generation tools in existence. When people build relationships with you and trust you, they trust your company.”
Call on Connections
As a new freelance web developer, you don’t need to chase brand new clients right away. You may find that building a client base will come easier when starting with your own network. Although it requires some vulnerability, ask friends, family, and former or current colleagues via social media, LinkedIn, and in personal pitches to launch your freelance work.
The goal here is to build a portfolio of recent work, a trusted reference or two, and potentially land referrals through existing connections. In exchange for low price or even free services, ask friends or colleagues for a testimonial to publish on your website.
Network Like Never Before
Fostering connections and networking is central to any freelance business. Creating relationships with people and groups, whether or not they’re direct clients, builds your reputation and can lead to projects down the line.
Join social media groups to find clients in your niche or target base. For example, if you want to build websites for local businesses, join a group with local business owners. If you’re seeking individuals who are building personal or professional websites, join a young professional circle and introduce your freelance work.
You don’t just have to network to get clients. Fostering supportive connections with other freelance web designers can help you land referrals. Reach out to other freelancers for informational interviews to learn about industry trends, freelance business strategies, and get feedback about your approach.
Curate Online Content
Chasing projects and work can be exhausting, which is why every freelancer wants clients to approach them first. One way to bring clients into your orbit is to create an online presence for your freelancing business. Develop social media platforms (such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) with web design and development tips. Create a free email newsletter with updates on your portfolio, services, and helpful advice. Write guest posts on freelancing blogs or in local business journals.
These strategies will give people an idea, even indirectly, of the services you can offer to them. It also builds your reputation as an expert freelance web designer. Where possible, always include a bio and link to your website. Publishing your name in diverse places through digital marketing and efforts will boost your online presence and lead potential clients to your website and work.