Most of my freelance work comes through referrals from freelancers or clients. It’s the cheapest form of advertising and you usually get a better quality of client. For this to work for you however you must return the favour! There is a ‘pay it forward’ side to this concept. If someone refers you either refer them for another job you cannot do or simply do it for another freelancer. Either way you will become known as someone who shares work and someone who is reliable to cover someone else when they are unavailable.
A second rule is never and I mean never take that client away from the person who referred you. Politely ask if they have already asked the person who referred you next time they offer you work. This creates a reputation of trust between those that refer work to you. If you take a client from someone who has referred you for a job, you will make a bit more money in the short term but you will find that all the referral work stops! In the longterm this will kill you, so don’t be tempted by the quick buck! Freelance industries are a complex web of relationships between freelancers and suppliers. If you are good and you share work your reputation will spread like wildfire. If you are bad and steal work, the same will happen!
In my experience of freelancing over the last 15 years I have found that the fastest way to get work is from friends and current clients in the industry referring me. It’s free and usually fast. When you are on a project ask your client if there’s anything else coming up that you can help with. Stay ‘Top of mind’ with your client. When they think about someone to hire for a project they are more likely to hire someone they have seen recently or someone who is already on a project.
Most freelance workers wait for the phone to ring. Most of the time it won’t and when it rings it’s usually last minute jobs that tend to be the nightmare projects for low pay and crazy deadlines. get ahead by trying to fill your diary a month in advance. You are the salesperson for you! Nobody else will sell for you until you get a stream of loyal fans of you to sell on your behalf. When you get a handful of clients that like you they will sell your skills and it tends to be good work as well. Referral marketing is by far the best way to get work. You probably won’t need a C.V. either because your referee has already endorsed you, it doesn’t get better than that!
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This blog is designed to share ideas for freelancers to find work. It doesn’t really matter what industry you are in really, the rules tend to be the same. I have been freelancing now for 15 years and have learn’t a lot about finding freelance work and would like to share some of those ideas here. Getting that phone to ring and filling up that diary can be the hardest challenge for freelance people. Then there’s the rate negotiation and then once you’ve done hard work, how to get paid!