Would you be willing to spend an extra hour each week in return for an endless supply of potential freelance work? Although this may sound like a fanciful question, it can be your reality.
Those who know me, know that I hate wasting time. Sometimes it’s my downfall, but it’s more often my strength. Why? Because it enables me to optimize every part of my business – from how I interact with clients to how I close leads.
And that’s enabled me to develop a process where I land new freelance work on-demand.
More than any of the monetary benefits, having this system down has freed me from the fears of freelancing. For example, I recently lost a client – it happens. But instead of spiraling into anxiety, I just used this system. As a result, I closed a new client within the week for a contract that was 1478.95% larger than the previous client. (That’s not an exaggeration either.)
In today’s article, I’d like to walk you through the basic principles of this system. And, of course, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me in the comments. I’d be happy to help.
Freelance Work Is Never About You
As a freelance writer, I quickly learned that nothing I did online was about me. In fact, it’s rarely about the client either. I should always be working to please my client’s client. That’s who I’m writing to and working to impress.
This is true for most freelancers.
When you understand this, it makes everything easier – especially sales. A lot of freelancers shy away from sales because they’re uncomfortable with the idea of selling themselves. But that’s not what you’re doing.
If you want to land freelance work quick, don’t sell you. Instead, sell the dream; the idea of how much better their life would be with the services you provide.
This idea is the foundation of what you’re doing. Then build on it with the following practical tips.
Find Opportunities to Build Relationships
When I was around 13 years old, I read a quote that stuck with me throughout the years. It’s a Dale Carnegie quote that says:
“You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than in two years of trying to get people interested in you.”
Freelance websites will teach you to build a strong portfolio, cold call local business owners and for referrals. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things can be useful. But it’s not what really matters. What really matters is people.
You need to build real relationships. This happens two main ways:
Relationships by association is simply getting your target audience to associate you with the service you offer. You can accomplish this by:
- Publishing great content on a regular basis.
- Getting involved in online communities.
- Strong branding on your website and social media profiles.
And true association happens through interaction.
- Commenting on social media posts.
- Answering questions on Quora and forums.
- Retweeting, liking and sharing posts.
- Sending a quick email to the prospect.
- Commenting on their blog post.
I call each of these interactions touches. Ideally, you’ll want 7-10 of these touches with a prospect over the course of a week or two. Mix it up – leave a comment on a blog post, like a post on Instagram, respond to their Snapchat story…
This puts you on their radar, and makes the next step much more effective.
Develop Interesting Ways to Add Value
Now you want to find interesting, unique ways to add value. Remember, this is about them – not you. Ideally, you’ll want to identify the overlap between what you do and the information they perceive as valuable.
I like to use email to reach out in this step. However, social media platforms are also a strong option. As a freelance writer, I add value by helping with content ideas.
For example, I’ll see if my prospect has a blog on their website. After reading through a couple of their posts, I’ll find a specific phrase I really like. Then, I’d send an email that looks something like this…
Just wanted to reach out and send you props on your blog. I know you haven’t updated it in a while, but I came across your post – How to Make the Most of Spring Break Without Traveling – and it really gave me some great ideas!
Thanks so much for posting this! While I was reading it, a few more blog topics came to my mind. I thought you could use them if you ever get stuck on what to write.
– [Blog Post Idea]
– [Blog Post Idea]
– [Blog Post Idea]
Hope you have a great day! And thanks again for the hard work you’re doing. 🙂
Graphic designers could spend 5 minutes and put together a quick promotional graphic for one of the prospects recent blog posts. A marketing consultant could identify holes in their current marketing funnel. SEO specialists could create a small report to send.
It’s all about adding the value.
Don’t Underestimate the Follow-Up
The best freelance jobs don’t always close in one shot. So, don’t fall off a person’s radar after you send a bit of value. Follow-up, respond to their inquiries and continue to interact with them on social media over the next several days.
After sending your valuable information, the follow-up could look something like this:
- Comment on Instagram.
- Share their recent article on Twitter.
- Send a quick hello email.
The quick hello email would look something like this:
It’s me again. I’m sure you’re busy and certainly don’t want to be a nuisance. But I just came across this article and it made me think about your business.
Keep up the awesome work!
I’m often able to close leads very fast by using this interaction, value add, follow up formula. But even when I don’t, continuing to make new interactions over time puts me at the top of their list when they are looking to hire.
In fact, there have been times where the value I added was so strong that prospect decided to hire me for freelance work – even though that wasn’t something they were thinking about.
Landing Freelance Work is Never-Ending
I’m not taking on anymore freelance clients at the moment, but I’m still developing relationships using this formula. Because I love it so much, I even have to use time tracking to make sure I’m not spending too much time on it.
This strategy has turned searching for freelance jobs one of the best parts of my day.
It’s amazing how good it feels to consistently add value to the lives of others. You may notice I never had a call-to-action for my services. That’s because when people experience the free value you’re offering, they start asking for the chance to hire you.
What strategies are you currently using to find freelance work? I’d love to hear your formula, and I’m sure other freelancers would appreciate your view as well. Share it in the comments below.
about the author
Chelsei Henderson is a content marketing consultant helping freelancers and entrepreneurs build successful companies in the digital world.