How to Find New Freelance Work Online?

10 Proven Ways to Find Freelance Work Online Using Your Portfolio

Are you tired of looking for freelance work online? You shouldn’t be! You can find new freelance work using these effective marketing methods. It doesn’t matter if you are a freelance web developer, freelance web designer or a freelance SEO, these tips can work for anyone who is looking to get new freelance work online.

It is quite frustrating to see so many talented freelancers struggle to find work through job bidding sites.

Bidding sites work well for some freelancers. However, for most freelancers, it is a nightmare to get work online.

I am not against job bidding sites in any way. It is no doubt, a great way to find freelance work online. You can grow your freelance business working on those websites.

In fact, there are thousands of freelancers who are making a crazy amount of money through these platforms.

According To Wikipedia:

Upwork has twelve million registered freelancers and five million registered clients. Three million jobs are posted annually, worth a total of $1 billion USD, making it the world’s largest freelancer marketplace.

Maybe, you are not supposed to be working on these sites? Or if you have already tried these job bidding websites and still not finding a client, then don’t worry, you are not alone.

Due to huge competition, most freelancers ditch these websites sooner or later.

I am sure that you must have great skills, but you are unaware of how to promote your freelance business.

That’s the problem with many freelance businesses. They are terrible when it comes to marketing. Most freelancers don’t know how to promote business online as they should.

Do you rely on freelance job websites to get new work?

If you are leaving your (more secure) office job to become a full-time freelancer, then at least make sure you get clients on your own instead of relying on some service to magically make that happen for you.

There are many terrifying stories on the Internet where freelance bidding sites banned people without giving a justified response. You can search those stories with a quick Google search. I am not here to complain about those specific websites.

If you depend on job networks to get work, then you are still not freelancing my friend! You are working for those sites.

Treat Your freelance business as an independent business, not a 9–5 Job.

How to find freelance Work Online?

Here is a step by step process to get more freelance work online:

1. Create a Professional Portfolio Website

If you haven’t set up your online portfolio, then create one right now. That is the best investment you can make. A portfolio will help you get more freelance work online.

I would advise you to hire a professional web developer to create a website. A well made professional portfolio website will give a great first impression to your potential client.

However, if you cannot afford to hire a web developer (like me), then you can create your own website.

Optimize your website speed so it will load faster and add as much information about your business, previous clients testimonials, case studies, sample works, contact forms, and most importantly a blog.

Also, make sure to optimize your website for mobile devices.

2. Find Freelance Work with Cold Email Outreach

No, please don’t send thousands of spam emails to strangers. You will only waste your time.

If someone is going to spend his money, then he most likely doesn’t want to lose that money on a stranger who has sent him an impersonalized spam email.

You should send targeted emails to a very focused group of people. Make all those emails personalized to each prospect.

Promote your freelance business online

Keep these key points in mind when creating an email outreach campaign:

  1. Create concise email messages.
  2. Each message should be specific to each potential client.
  3. Ask a question at the end of your email.
  4. Great personalized Subject line matters a lot.
  5. Don’t include your portfolio links in the email message. Instead, use a signature at the end of the email with your portfolio and contact information.

3. Get Freelance Work with Cold Calling

Cold calling is quite an old marketing method, which has a lot of benefits. You can pick up a phone and start dialing numbers of nearest businesses which can benefit from your services.

Illustration by H. Stratton

I personally never tried cold calling yet, but it worked for some freelancers I know. It can work for you too, but it will take a lot of time to learn how to convince strangers to listen to you.

It is you who decide, which of these strategies works best for you according to your skills and capabilities.

To get a better perspective on this topic, read this, this, & this article.

Before you take that route, get ready for a lot of rejections my friend!

4. Use Blogging to Find Freelance Work Online

Create a blog on your portfolio website. On a blog, you can share your services, case studies, artwork, customer’s stories, or use your blog to inspire people in your field.

You can do a lot of different things on a blog to promote your freelance business.

Research your business industry and find out topics which your competition is writing on their blogs.

After that, learn basic SEO and do proper keyword research. Find keywords that people are searching and start writing on them.

It is a slow process to get the word out but if you keep making new connections with people, and keep promoting your content, then you will start getting emails from clients that you actually want to work with.

5. Guest Posting on Industry Related Blogs

Your competition is your best friend to help you get a lead or 2 for your business. Build connections with influential bloggers in your industry. You can follow them on social networks. Get in touch with them and ask questions about your industry-relevant topics.

After that, you can send an article idea on the specific topic. They will most likely say yes if you have a credible business blog of your own and a portfolio to back up your claims.

Please make sure to leave a link to your website in the author bio of the blog. So people can read more about your business and your other blog posts.

6. Group & Forum Postings

In whichever field you chose to become an expert, you should join your industry related forums, blogs, and groups. You can also join groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and subreddits.

There must be countless forums in your industry where you can collaborate with like-minded people, help people, make friends and connections.

Freelancing is more about building connections rather than building a portfolio.

A portfolio would help, but connections can take your freelance business to a whole new level.

7. Get Freelance Work using Online Job Boards & Classifieds

There are local classified and job boards almost in every major city and country. You can post your services, reply to the job posting on these job boards and classified websites.

I haven’t personally tested this method, but here’s a good Reddit thread on this topic on /r/freelance. Please give it a read and test it. Let me know in the comments below if you get a good response with this method. I will update the post.

8. Local Networking to Find Freelance Work

If you are a people person, you will do great in connecting with people in local networking events. There are a lot of networking events going on in different parts of the world.

You can join any of those events you like, and make business connections with people in your industry and other like-minded people.

You have to run with the pack (Internet Archive)

These connections will help you build even more connections. Stay connected with them using social events, meetups and through social networks.

Please check out these articles on local networking. These may help you get a good start at networking:

  1. An Introvert’s Guide to Networking
  2. Meet the Right People

9. Use Google Ads to Get More Freelance Work

This is not personally tested but yet again lots of web design and marketing agencies use this approach to get projects. It is probably not a good idea if Internet marketing is not your strong suit but if you have money to spend on growing your business then Google ads are worth a try.

Before jumping into setting up Ads campaign, there are a couple of guides and articles you should get through to have a fair understanding of how it works.

  1. Google Ads Guide
  2. Free Google Ads Certification course

10. Social Networking to Find Online Jobs

Freelance businesses rely on building new connections. So, if you haven’t already set up and activate all your social profiles then please do them right now.

Join relevant to your business groups on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

Connect with like-minded people, help other people learn a thing or two. Show them who you are, what you are good at.

There a lot of other ways which one can use to improve a freelance business.

Whichever of these above mediums work for you. Please make sure to always deliver your best work to clients and build relationships with them. Your clients are your customers and if you make them happy, they will bring more work and referrals.

This article can be beneficial for a lot of other businesses who rely heavily on building connections. So, if you think you and your friends business can use some of these techniques to promote their online businesses, please don’t forget to share with them.

If you’re a Pakistani freelancer then also check out my post on how to receive online payments in Pakistan.

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