How to find clients as a creative: 4 amazing step-by-step tips.
The challenge with being a freelance creator is that you don’t always have a steady flow of clients, but you have a lot of power to find clients and create relationships for yourself! It’s not easy but it’s very rewarding.
1. Peruse the gig communities.
With the popularity of remote, freelance, part time, contract opportunities, the world of communities that help connect workers has also increased. Whatever your field is, you can perform a google search to see whether any popular Slack channels pop up or any other web communities. Another great place, is Facebook groups. Perform a simple search to see whether any groups bubble to the top for freelancers.
My favorite communities to find gigs and jobs in photography, website design, social media are :
- Dreamers // Doers: Jobs + Gigs
- Ladies Get Paid Slack Channel, jobs_gigs_collabs section
- Power To Fly
- Tech Ladies
- Creative Mornings Job Board
Note that while you can find companies from these national orgs, you might need to seek out small corners in your own city. Speak to bloggers/ influencers / creatives in your area about those tiny pockets that you might not be able to find with Google.
2. Search and email
Google is the most powerful search engine but it's not always easy to understand how to find specific communities you may be looking for. There are a couple ways you can effecitvely and efficiently reach out to people. Some ideas here:
- Find hubs of small businesses that could be interested in working with you. Say you are a product photographer. Find WeWork equivalent places in your city that list their tenants and can offer you a list of clients to reach out to. For example, in Philly, The Bok Building lists the people who took up offices in the building. With a quick Google search, you can get in touch with them to pitch your services. Find the hub, and then find the 'tenants'.
- Pick a busy, trendy street in your city via Google Maps and reach out to every commercial space. If you'd like to do social media, or collaborate with boutiques in your city, you first have to know where to find the boutiques. After you find a couple streets, you can begin to build your outreach list. You can search for "boutique" on the Google Maps or simply peruse a really busy area to see which businesses have shops there. This may not be the end, but a starting point.
- Find businesses on Instagram through the drop-down option. This doesn't work always, but when it works, it works. First, find a small business, and then click the little down arrow next to the "Follow" button for Insta to recommend you more similar users. Now you can also quickly access their emails to .reach out and disucss opporutnties.
3. Instagram direct message
Similarly to search and email, Instagram is a fantastic place to send out dozens of job requests, especially to jobs that may not exist yet. Through the Instagram app, when you direct message a user, you can utilize their "Quick Replies" feature to create a short message that can be sent out to dozens of companies, fast. I say dozens because Instagram blocks you from "spamming" people and puts you into a little time out. So if you can find the email of the company, choose that, or understand that you might not be able to send more than 15 messages for every ~2-3 hours. When I send a message, especially about something visual like product photography, I always send some photo examples. (This is on every platform, including email, FB, etc.)
I definately try to A/B test this. I send a handful of messages one day where I list my price, and the next day I list a different price. Then I send some messages to "collaborate", or some messages saying I'd like to help with social media strategy. It's really just making sure you have a supply of businesses you can access and DM. And after you send a bunch of messages like this, Instagram will block your butt. 🤷🏻♀️ Don't freak out, this only lasts up to 24hours. And then you're ready to keep on sending more messages.
4. Go old school
Print flyers and add them to your local coffee shops, speak to people in your networking circles about what you do, connect with local shop owners through walk-ins, etc. Don't forget the power of simply stopping by a store and showcasing your character to them, even before your work. This one is an oldie but a goodie, because it connect you to your community which is often times, filled with some of your biggest future supporters.