Freelancers have it made, right?
You get to be your own boss.
Work when you want. Where you want.
The only thing standing between you and financial freedom is your own work ethic.
That’s the dream at least, and many freelancers really do find the freedom they couldn’t find in a day job by selling their own services online. But just because it’s achievable doesn’t mean it’s quick or easy.
The number one issue faced by most entrepreneurs looking to fire their boss or create a healthy side hustle is how to find consistent freelance work. They have the skills, they have the gumption, but they just don’t have the clients.
Especially when they are just getting started.
So in this post, we want to share with you some simple, actionable steps for how to find consistent freelance work. Whether you’ve just created your first freelance service or you’ve been struggling for months to get off the ground, these tips should provide clear direction to help you find good work for good pay—consistently.
This really shouldn’t need saying, but unfortunately it does. Your success at finding consistent freelance work is going to be directly correlated with your ability to provide a valuable service to customers again and again.
Too many freelancers are looking for easy money. They seem to think that the freedom of freelancing also means freedom from working. But if you aren’t doing good work for your clients, then why would they continue to pay you?
Think of it this way: your real goal is repeat service. Most services are going to be required by clients on a regular basis. Whether you provide graphic design, copywriting, link building, voice overs, or anything else—odds are that there are plenty of clients in your niche that need your services on a monthly or even weekly basis.
So, the better you can do good work, the more clients will come back to you for more.
But how do you ensure that you are doing good work? Here are a few simple steps to take.
Wherever you decide to offer your services (we’ll get to that later), scope out the competition and find out what you can offer that they aren’t. You’ve got to get creative with this depending on your niche, but typically adding value comes down to doing the job more effectively or more efficiently.
If the fastest turnaround time for services like yours is 7 days, for example, find a way to do it in 3. Now you’ve captured the attention of a whole section of the market that isn’t being met: customers in a hurry.
Another way to add value is by including bonuses that are of actual value to the customer. For example, maybe you could make your link building services stand out by including a free ebook about On Page SEO Secrets to Get the Best Out of Your Backlinks.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to adding value, but there is also no end to the options available to you. A great place to get started is by sitting down with a blank sheet of paper, putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal client, and writing down all the needs of that customer.
In no time, you should have a long list of ways to add value in your market.
And speaking of standing in the shoes of customers, if you really want to know how to find consistent freelance work, you can’t neglect customer service.
Just because you are on the track to be your own boss doesn’t mean you can forget the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. As a freelancer, maintaining a good relationship with customers is a surefire way to win repeat business and earn those coveted referrals.
Good customer service isn’t rocket science. Just be a good person, communicate well, and try your best to remain patient in the face of dissatisfied customers (they will arise eventually, even for the best of freelancers).
If you’ve never had the “joy” of working in a customer service position before, though, here are a few tried and true strategies that freelancers can use to create satisfied clients:
Communicate Early and Often. As soon as you get a new order, it’s good to touch base with the client just to confirm that you’re starting and that you understand the instructions. Keep in touch if they send you questions or if there is any reason you won’t be able to deliver on time.
Add Personality. Don’t be a robot in your communications. Business is about building trust, and clients will trust you more if your communication shows that you’re a real human being. One easy way to add personality is to just include a quick message with your order delivery about why you enjoyed working on a particular task.
Manage Expectations. If anything is unclear about what your client is requesting, it’s best to ask questions sooner rather than later. Imagine waiting two weeks for an order only to find out that it isn’t what you were expecting. You’d be an unhappy customer. So do everything you can to manage your clients’ expectations so that you are delivering exactly what they ordered.
Learn to Apologize. Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes they don’t go wrong, but the client insists that they have. Whether it’s your fault or not, customer service 101 involves apologizing to clients from time to time—even if you’re just saying sorry that they’re disappointed (without taking any of the blame yourself).
Once you’ve gotten a few clients, more will follow if you are truly doing good work. The growth may be slow at first, but just like any business, it will snowball over time as more customers refer others.
The solution to the problem of how to find consistent freelance work is building repeat business. Whatever your niche is, odds are that many clients will require your service on a monthly or weekly basis. Doing good work ensures that they will come back again and again.
If you offer a service for $30 and can manage to pick up just three monthly clients every month for a year, you’ve just added more than a thousand bucks to your monthly revenue. While that might not be enough to retire on, it’s a great start for a beginning freelancer, and the growth will likely be exponential from there.
Once you’ve committed to adding value and providing top notch customer service, eventually you’ve got to decide where and how you are going to offer your services.
Some freelancers will build their own website to show off their portfolio and provide a means for clients to order and stay in touch. While your own website can certainly be a great way to get clients, it can be difficult for beginners who are trying to learn how to find consistent freelance work because a new website will get no traffic without significant marketing.
Another strategy preferred by millions of freelancers around the world is to post their services on an existing platform like Legiit. This is a great way to get started because these platforms already have existing traffic that is looking to employ the services of freelancers like you.
Choosing one platform over the other isn’t always easy, and many freelancers decide to list their services on multiple sites and see where they can find success. While we’ve obviously got our bias, we think Legiit is a great platform to get started on.
Not only was it launched by a very successful freelancer who once went through all the same hurdles as you, but it’s also relatively new in the landscape of marketplaces out there. That means the competition isn’t quite as high as it might be on sites like Fiverr or Upwork. Now is the perfect time to claim your space as an authority in the services you offer.
In this last section, we want to offer some strategies for helping you get that first sale—and many beyond. While you could just post your services on platforms around the web and play the waiting game, fortune favors the bold.
Marketing yourself or finding methods to attract buyers is the only way to guarantee consistent freelance work.
It can be really hard for a buyer to choose your brand new service when you are listed right next to the well established guy sitting on top of 200 five star reviews. Why would a buyer take the risk?
One way to overcome this trust hurdle in new customers is by minimizing the financial risk to clients. If the other guys are selling the same service for $20, consider pricing yourself at $5 when you are getting started, for example.
Now buyers have a reason to choose you over the competition.
Just remember that competing on price is rarely a good long term strategy—especially for a solopreneur. Use low pricing as a way to get your foot in the door, earn some reviews, get to know your workflow, and build repeat clients. Once business is picking up, you know it’s time to raise your prices to what you are worth.
Without a strong reputation in your industry, you’ll struggle in your hunt for how to find consistent freelance work. Always be on the lookout for ways to market yourself as a professional in your industry.
One way to do this is by staying active in forums, Facebook groups, and other channels where potential clients are discussing your industry. And by “staying active” we don’t mean spamming them with links to your services (that’s a one way ticket to ban street). We mean adding value to discussions and becoming a leader in the niche.
For example, imagine you are trying to establish yourself as a video design specialist for small local businesses.
You could frequent discussion boards and similar groups for plumbers, lawyers, landscapers, and other business owners who are looking for ways to better market their services. By answering questions, explaining your experiences, and otherwise adding value in a non-salesy way, people will naturally begin to trust your input—and eventually buy your services.
As more clients pour in, you’ve got to strategize for the long term. How are you going to stay in touch with these clients, tell them about new services, and announce special deals?
The answer is to create a following of subscribers.
Whether that’s a mailing list using a tool like Mailchimp, a Facebook group dedicated to your industry, or something else—what you need is a means for clients to subscribe to your list so that you can keep in touch with them on the regular.
A list is perfect for turning one time customers into repeats. Imagine this…
You can also incentivize subscriptions by running flash sales or offering a lead magnet (such as an eBook) if it’s suited to your industry. But, for the most part, plenty of clients will be happy to subscribe if they are pleased with your work.
Once you’ve got your list established and growing at a regular rate, use it to both add value and sell yourself. Offer clients plenty of free information so that you don’t become another monotonous sales voice in the sea of spam. And from time to time, don’t be shy about promoting a new service, announcing a deal, or just re-advertising your best selling service.
Your quest for consistent freelance work doesn’t end with reading this post. If being your own boss or paying your mortgage with a reliable side hustle was easy, everyone would be doing it.
You chose the path of an entrepreneur because you wanted to carve out your own little space of financial freedom through hard work and dedication. But you’ve got to treat freelancing like a real business with real customers who need real services.
Anything else is bound to be unsustainable.
So do good work, find a reliable platform, and never stop marketing yourself. Consistent freelance work (and the money that comes with it) will follow.
And, of course, remember to keep it Legiit.