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 online using these effective marketing strategies. It doesn’t matter if you are a freelance web developer, freelance web designer, or freelance SEO. These tips can work for anyone looking to get new freelance work online.

It is frustrating sometimes for talented freelancers to find new work through job bidding sites.

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

I am not against job-bidding sites in any way. It is, no doubt, a great way to find freelance work online. In fact, you can establish your freelance business working there.

Thousands of freelancers are making a crazy amount of money through freelancing 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 Upwork? Or perhaps you have already tested job bidding websites and are still not able to find a decent client. Don’t worry; you are not alone.

Due to immense competition and higher commission rates, most freelancers ditch these websites sooner or later.

I am sure you must have excellent skills, but you might be unaware of how to promote your freelance business.

That’s the problem with many freelance businesses. They are horrible marketers. Most freelancers don’t know how to promote their business online as they should.

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

If you leave your day job to become a full-time freelancer, then at least ensure you can find clients on your own instead of relying on some service to make that happen for you magically.

I have read many scary freelancer stories in which job bidding sites banned their accounts without giving a justified response. You can search for 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, my friend, you are still not freelancing! You are an employee of those sites.

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

How to Find Freelance Work Online?

First, let me tell you that freelancing is not a magical way to make you quickly rich. It won’t make you rich, and it is not easy. It is just as tricky as your day job or running an offline business.

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, create one 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 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 website. It probably won’t be perfect (unless you’re a web developer), but it will tell your clients that you’re serious about your work.

Optimize your website to load faster. Add as much information about your business, previous clients’ testimonials, case studies, sample works, contact forms, and, most importantly, a blog. With a blog, you can promote your freelance business.

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, 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 essential 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. A 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 the numbers of the nearest businesses that 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.

You decide which strategies work 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 many 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, and customer stories or use your blog to inspire people in your field.

You can do many different things on a blog to promote your freelance business. However, always remember that you can bring potential clients with blogging. You have to know your client’s pain points, and you should write about them on your blog.

After that, learn basic SEO and do proper keyword research. Find keywords your potential clients search for and start writing on those topics.

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

5. Guest Posting on Industry Related Blogs

Your competition is your best friend to help you get a lead or two 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 pitch on a 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

You should join your industry-related forums, blogs, and groups in whichever field you choose to become an expert in. 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, and make connections.

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

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

7. Get Freelance Work using Online Job Boards & Classifieds

There are local classified job boards in every major city and country. You can post your services and 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 try 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

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

You can join any 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 your professional network. Please stay connected with them through social events, meetups, and 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 many 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 setting up an Ads campaign, there are a couple of guides and articles you should get through to understand 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 activated your social profiles, please do them now.

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

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

  • Mention on your social profiles in the about section that you are a freelancer.
  • Regularly create new content on all your social media accounts.
  • Engage with prospects in groups and find them through relevant hashtags.
  • Show them your expertise by sharing success stories from your past experiences.

There are many ways that one can use to improve a freelance business.

Whichever of these above mediums works for you. Please consistently deliver your best work to clients and build relationships with them. Your clients are your customers; making them happy will bring more work and referrals.

This article can benefit many other businesses that rely heavily on building connections. So, if you think you and your friend’s business can use some of these techniques to promote online businesses, please don’t forget to share this article.

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

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