Finding new clients is probably one of the most boring and difficult things for any freelancer. This is especially true for freelancers who work remotely.
However, if you know where to look, and how to conduct yourself, finding new clients doesn’t have to be the nightmare task that you currently think it is.
1) Get your portfolio into great shape
This is one of the most frustrating mistakes that I see remote designers make, simply because it’s so easily avoidable!
Your portfolio is there to showcase your best work to prospective clients. If your portfolio does not look good itself, or worse, if you don’t have a portfolio, then you can not expect to find good clients willing to pay you good money.
Creating a logo design portfolio isn’t difficult. You have a few options:
1. Create a PDF containing your best logo and branding projects. Ideally one project per page, with a small blurb about the project on the page and some of the example concepts.
3. Create a portfolio website.
Here are some great examples of logo design portfolios:
4. At the complete WORST case scenario, you could even create a Google Doc with links and images to where your logos are being used around the web and in real life.
When a client asks you for examples, send them your portfolio immediately, and make sure that your portfolio is always up-to-date and looking professional.
2) Stop undervaluing your services
You should first realise that clients and prospects can spot desperation a mile off.
One way to stop charging less, is to simply offer less and negotiate on deliverables where possible. For instance, you may offer a package that includes a logo, business card and letterhead designs, and social media cover designs. Let’s say this package costs $200, then when your client asks you to do it for $100, you can counter-offer that you’d be happy to offer just the logo for $100, but you wouldn’t be able to offer the entire package at that price.
Stay firm on your prices and don’t be afraid to push back. Ultimately, you are the expert – you just need to get the prospect to believe that fact.
Don’t be too fast to reduce your price. Clients who want to pay $5 are not the sort of clients you should be trying to work with. Prove your value through demonstrating your amazing portfolio, and you won’t need to reduce your price by much, if at all.
Seriously. Stop trying to only compete on price. A client who look for the cheapest designer is not a client that you want in your life. Generally they’ll be the most demanding, give you the worst logo design brief, and have the highest expectations.
3) Know how to find clients
This is one of the most important points. If you don’t know where to find clients, then you’re never going to get any!
There are plenty of ways to find clients. Unfortunately they all have one thing in common… you have to be persistent – there is no silver bullet!
Typically freelancing are good to find one off clients, but quite often are aimed at the lower end of the market. If you want to be charging moderate-high amounts for design here, then you’ll need to have both an amazing reputation on the platform itself, as well as an outstanding portfolio and history designing outside of the platform.
Here are some platforms to get registered on to for free:
You should always keep your social media profiles up-to-date. But that doesn’t just mean posting what you’re having for tea that night! You have to engage with communities and post valuable information.
LinkedIn in particular is a great source of leads if you know how to use it right. Get your profile into tip top condition, and make sure to feature some of your portfolio directly within LinkedIn’s platform, as well as linking to your main portfolio too.
Check Meetup for any upcoming small business events and just go along and say hello. It always helps to have a business card on you, but no worries if not. Just get chatting and get a feel for who the local clients are and what business they’re in.
Always make an effort to add everyone you meet on LinkedIn as soon as you can after meeting them.
4) Keep in touch with old clients
Finding clients can be much harder than retaining them. Make sure that you do a great job designing for clients, particularly on your first project for them, and they’ll have reason to come straight back to you next time they need help.
I’d recommend adding them on Skype so that you get some idea of how active your clientele are online, even after you stop working with them. Then, once in a while – perhaps 6 months after a project ends – type a quick ‘hello, how you doing’ sort of message and just touch base with them. Perhaps mention that you’ll have some availability for work in the coming month in case they’re looking for some design.
This not only gives you the opportunity of instantly winning more work from old clients for little effort, it always makes your old clients far more likely to recommend you if you stay fresh in their mind.
Previous clients are a goldmine for winning new work. Say hello 6 months after a project ends to see how they are. If they don’t have any work for you right then, they may be able to recommend you to one of their friends or colleagues.