Written by Mat Casner

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Ep. 24. 3 Simple Strategies for Finding Freelance Clients


Freelance CEO Mat Casner
The Freelance CEO Podcast with Mat Casner
Ep. 24. 3 Simple Strategies for Finding Freelance Clients

Finding customers is the goal of any business. I’m a freelancer, and finding clients is super important. Truthfully, though, many people struggle finding consistent customers that bring much needed cash flow into their businesses. I’m going to give you three simple tips for finding tons of customers that are just waiting to meet you.

The times that I talk with freelancers, the topic of finding customers is always coming up. Whether it’s a young freelancer who is just trying to get started, or even a seasoned freelancer, it seems like there’s this struggle to find quality consistent clients. I can tell you personally, as I was starting off as a freelancer, I struggled with this as well.

I would wonder where the next call was going come from, and I would finish up a project and if I didn’t have another project lined up, all sorts of nervous feelings started to come up. And if you’ve feast or famine mode before you know exactly what I’m talking about. But let’s just face it…this is really a key to our business.

It’s a key to any business businesses who do not have customers do not survive. So I feel like this is something that you either need to really get a good handle on, or it’s just you’re not gonna be in the game for very long, or you’re gonna end up finding clients that aren’t good fits and you’re not going to make the kind of income that you need to support yourself.

And I tell freelancers all the time that yes, we are independent. Yes, we work for ourselves, but we have to approach our reality as a business owner. We’re the CEO of one, and we have to make business decisions just like any other business would. And a business has expenses, a business has to pay their employees.

A business has to market and advertise to sell their products, and they have to take care of their customers. So we have all of those positions that are wrapped up into us as individuals. So finding clients and customers is really a big deal. The problem is a lot of freelancers don’t know where to start, and they think that putting up a portfolio or putting up a social page and sharing a few examples of work is going to make the connection.

And many are surprised that they do that work. And people don’t knock on their door. There’s not a a line waiting for them to serve a group of people. I think there are some misconceptions about what finding clients is, and once you get your head wrapped around the concept, it starts to point you in a new direction. So today what I wanna do is I wanna share with you three simple things that you can do as a freelancer.

Whether you’re brand new getting started or a seasoned pro, or maybe you’re someone who is finding themselves working at home now because of the pandemic. And you’re asking yourself, I wonder if I can make this go full-time. I wonder if I could start a business. So what I do as a professional is I work with freelancers. I work with them on a monthly, daily basis and help them grow their own businesses. So what I wanna share with you today are these three simple steps that I think will help you find more customers. Number one, you need to know what problems you solve. So many freelancers that I talk to never frame their skills, experiences, and talents within the context of a business problem.

My Portfolio Needed Some Help Showing How I was Helping

When I was a young person going through design school and I was putting together my portfolio, it was more like an art gallery. It was more like, Hey, this is what I can do and this is what my stuff looks like. But to be honest with you, when it comes to a business looking for talent, they don’t specifically want to know how good you are with Photoshop. Now, that’s important. You need to know your skills, and you need to know your craft first and foremost. Without those, you really don’t have a shot.

So get good at your craft and know what you’re doing. But when you’re going out and putting yourself out there to people, think of it this way. You don’t wanna show people an art gallery. You want to show ’em an auto shop or an emergency room. You want to show them what you can do to help them when they come in with something that’s not working, something’s broken, or something that needs to be fixed or improved.

We go to the doctor because something is wrong with us, right? And we go in and we tell the doctor what’s wrong and they prescribe and they give us a solution that makes us feel better, right? So as freelancers, we are that doctor and we need to know what our specialty is.

If I have a knee that’s hurting me, I’m not gonna go to an ear, nose and throat doctor to diagnose my hurting knee. Why? Well, the doctor that I’m gonna go see does not have a specialty in dealing with joints. And you know, knees specifically, he’s used to dealing with upper respiratory, the ear, nose, and throat stuff. And so it just doesn’t make sense for someone who has a, a specific problem to go to someone who doesn’t have the cure or the answer.

What Business Problems Can You Solve?

So the first thing as a freelancer, what you need to learn is you need to learn what skills you have and what business problems you can solve with those skills.

So I want you to get a sheet of paper and I want you to write down the things that you can do. What are the things that you can do as a freelancer? What, what skills do you have? What talents do you have? What can you create? What are the things that you can build as a freelancer? And then on the second column,

I want you to write down what are the business problems that that can solve? What solution does your skills and services provide to a business that my friend is where you’re gonna start to get a clue as to how you fit into this whole customer discovery game. Alright? So first thing you have to know is you have to know what problems your skills solve.

Who Are the People that Need Your Expertise?

Now the second thing you need to know is you need to know who are the people that have that specific problem. You can solve a problem and you can do it really, really well. You need to find the people that have that problem so you can put yourself out in front of them and offer your solution. So let’s just take the example of a knee doctor.

An orthopedic specialist. Someone who’s looking to help someone with their orthopedic skills is probably going to go not to a a kindergarten classroom where there’s a classroom full of kids. They’re probably gonna go somewhere where there are a lot of people who may have joint injuries. Let’s say a an athletic team, all right? Those people are hard on their bodies.

They tend to have injuries that affect their joints. That would be a potential target market for them. Or maybe the elderly. Maybe as we get older, our joints start to deteriorate and there starts to be problems, you know, with the way our joints work together. So that doctor would then find that crowd that he could put his message out in front of and start to relieve some of the pain and some of the problem that those customers are facing with their needs.

So think of yourself that way. You’re the doctor, you have a certain set of skills you can serve a certain set of problems. Who are the people that need to have your services? Who needs your help? Who has a problem that you can solve?

Where Are Your People Hanging Out?

Now, number three is you need to go find where these people are living and go hang out in their general area,

Whether that’s online, whether that’s in person, but with the internet, you can virtually go be a part of any group on the planet, right from your laptop or from your cell phone. So find out where those people are that have the common problems that you can solve and go put yourself in the middle of them and say…

“Hey, I’ve got the answer to your problem… Let’s talk.”

Trust me, when you do that, you will start to find people coming out of the woodwork to work with you because they have problems that you have an answer to.

So let me just recap. Know what problem you can solve. That’s number one. Know what skills you have and what problems they can solve in the business world. Number two, find out who the people are that have that problem. Know who they are. Number three, find out where those people hang out and go hang out with them. Do those three things, and that’s gonna help you find new customers that are right for you.

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