Getting Work

3 Proven Methods to Get Freelance Clients ASAP

Do these every single day.

Neon lights in the shape of a handshake

If you’re reading this post, you might be a new freelancer looking for your first few clients.

Or you might already be freelancing for some time, but you suddenly find yourself with more capacity to take on more work.

Either way, I’m guessing you’re eager to get new clients soon.

Like, by the end of this week. Or even earlier than that, if possible!

After all, no clients = no work = no money.

If that’s the case, you can’t rely on people to refer work to you, as you have no control over when that will happen.

So in this post, I’m going to share with you 3 proven methods (and tips!) you can do today to get freelance clients—fast.

Here they are, in a nutshell. You can also click on the links to jump to the respective sections:

  1. Hit the job boards
  2. Reach out to your network
  3. Send out cold emails

This guide is also available as a free 5-day email course, which includes step-by-step instructions for doing each of these 3 proven methods (plus some bonus material you won’t find in this guide!)

Sign up for the email course here:

Let’s go!

1. Hit the job boards

Of the 3 methods of getting freelance clients covered in this post, hitting the job boards is your best bet of reaching people who need your services.

Because the people who are posting on job boards already need to hire a freelancer.

Otherwise they wouldn’t be posting, right?

Not sure what job boards there are? Here are some options.

Websites

Freelancer.sg homepage

When it comes to websites with freelance jobs, there are websites that offer:

  • Just freelance jobs
  • All kinds of jobs—i.e. full-time, part-time, freelance
  • Just jobs in Singapore
  • Jobs all over the world

As you want to get freelance clients fast, I’d suggest checking every job website you can find from all of the above categories for freelance work.

Such websites include LinkedIn Jobs and JobStreet, and freelance job platforms like Upwork and Freelancer.

One benefit of looking for jobs on international websites is that you and your clients may agree on rates in US dollars.

1 USD generally equals between 1.30 to 1.40+ SGD, so if you offer your services at the same Singapore number but in US currency, you’ll automatically give yourself a raise! 🤑

That said, just bear in mind that you’ll also be competing with freelancers all over the world.

This means that you may lose jobs to overseas freelancers who can do the same project at a much lower rate.

If you want to avoid such overseas competition, check out this post on freelance job websites with jobs in Singapore, and consider focusing on such job boards for the time being!

Facebook groups

Facebook group: Advertising | Production Resource Central - Singapore and Beyond

Instead of posting for freelance help on job boards, some hirers find it a lot more convenient to post in Facebook groups instead.

Here are some Facebook groups dedicated to connecting hirers and workers:

You can also join industry-specific Facebook groups where freelance jobs for your industry may be posted from time to time. For example:

Just note that not all Facebook groups are well-moderated.

In other words, there can be a lot of spam in them, so you’ll need some patience to find gold among a potential sea of trash posts.

WhatsApp and Telegram groups

SG Part Timers #Singapore Jobs 🇸🇬 Telegram group

These messaging platforms aren’t just for chatting with your friends anymore. Nowadays, you can also join group chats dedicated to connecting hirers and job-seekers.

Here are a few group chats you can check out:

What I’ve mentioned above about receiving notifications for spam posts also applies here. Just a couple other things to note:

  • WhatsApp groups are limited to 256 participants. If there are already this many people in the group, you won’t be able to join. (Telegram groups allow up to 200,000 members.)
  • To find more Telegram job groups to join, you can do a search using the search bar:

Searching Telegram for job groups to join

2 tips for increasing your chances of getting hired

1. Reply to job listings ASAP

The sooner you apply to a job listing after it’s been posted, the higher the chances of your application being reviewed—and your chances of getting hired!

Generally, I wouldn’t apply for job listings older than 3 days old.

2. Check how many people have already applied for the same job

Some platforms allow you to see such numbers. The higher the number of people who have applied for the same job, the lower your chances of you being hired.

In such cases you might want to avoid applying for such jobs, unless you are really keen on them.

2. Reach out to your network

Publicising your services to your network

Over the years, you’ll probably have built a network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. (Even a small network is fine!)

Now is the time to work that network, and tell everybody that you’re available for projects.

Because even if they don’t need your services right now, they might know someone who does—and refer you to them.

When reaching out, you can just say something like:

“Hey [name], I hope you’ve been well! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve started offering freelance services in X. If you or anyone you know needs help with this, I’ll be happy to chat about how I could help :)”

If you’ve got a portfolio, feel free to link to it too.

Try your best to keep things casual and NOT scammy.

If you sound as if you’re trying to recruit members for a new MLM scheme, chances are you aren’t going to get many freelance gigs (or replies, for that matter).

Then after reaching out, just sit tight and wait.

(Don’t completely sit around twiddling your thumbs though! Continue looking for clients through the other methods described in this post)

If you’re lucky, someone might say “Your timing is perfect! I was just looking for someone…” immediately.

Or, it might be a couple weeks later that someone starts asking about your services.

Or, you might not get any jobs from your first outreach at all. It really depends on your luck.

How often should you promote your services to your network?

Reach out to your network to advertise your services only occasionally. Pester them every week and you can expect to lose friends very quickly.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t promote your services at all, though. A simple way of doing so is by sharing what you’ve been up to on social media.

For example, show off the latest project that you’ve been working on for a client, or something that you’ve just added to your portfolio.

This will help remind people who follow you of your services, but in a non-annoying way.

For more info on how this works, check out how talking about her work online has helped freelance copywriter Tabitha Tan get referral work for 9 years (and counting):

Following up with previous clients

If you’ve already worked with some clients before but it’s been a while since your last project with them, now is a good time to check in on them to ask if they need help.

This might take some courage on your part, especially if you’re afraid of “bothering” your old clients or coming off as desperate for work.

But don’t let such fear hold you back from earning the sweet moolah. Get started by:

  • Making a list of your old clients
  • Emailing them to check if they need help with a project or two
  • Waiting for replies (and continue searching for clients through other ways)

If you want tips on building a system to help you consistently follow up with clients, check out this article:

3. Send out cold emails

Sending out cold emails—this is like cold-calling, but using email—has probably the lowest conversion rate of the 3 methods, in terms of helping you get freelance work fast.

That’s because you’ll be emailing complete strangers and asking them for work. And you can bet you won’t be the only one trying their luck—these people may already be receiving plenty of similar pitches every day.

So, it’s all too easy for them to miss out on your email, or delete your email without even reading it. Manage your expectations accordingly!

Who to cold-email?

You could:

  1. Email companies which you think may need your services
  2. Email agencies which you think may need your services to help service their own clients (especially the companies mentioned in the previous point).

Between these two options, you might have more luck getting work from agencies instead of companies.

That’s because agencies service many clients, and they may find themselves with way more work than they can handle on their own…

So they may just gladly send work your way if you appear in their inbox at the right time!

When emailing, try to find specific people to email, instead of a generic contact email address you might find on the company or agency’s website.

For example, you could email the CEO or the marketing director.

Tip: To find people’s email addresses (even if they don’t seem listed anywhere on the website), use the Hunter tool.

Also, it’s my personal preference to avoid using website contact forms.

As they were set up to help people get in touch, you’d think that such forms will definitely help you reach a real person, right?

That’s usually the case—but the contact form might also not be working, and you would have no way of knowing.

So I prefer to play it safer and find email addresses to email.

What to write in your cold emails

Keep things simple:

  • Address the email recipient by name if possible
  • Introduce yourself and your services
  • Offer to help with projects
  • Link to your portfolio if you have one
  • Thank them for their time
  • Sign off

If you don’t hear back within 3 business days or so, it’s a good idea to follow up once or twice. As mentioned, the recipient might have been too busy and missed your email.

But if you still don’t get a response after that, take it as a rejection and move on. There’s plenty of other fish in the sea!

Go get those freelance clients!

So in this post, I’ve covered 3 proven methods of getting freelance clients fast:

  1. Hitting the job boards
  2. Reaching out to your network
  3. Sending out cold emails

You can choose one method to focus on, but I suggest doing a combination of all 3.

And also, you’ll need to do them every day until you get the clients you’re looking for.

Some luck will be involved for sure, but ultimately it’s a numbers game:

The more you reach out, the more likely you are to get clients.

It’s as simple as that.

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t immediately see results, and don’t take things personally. Have faith, and keep at it!

To help you stay on track, though, I’ve made this guide into a free 5-day email course.

This course includes step-by-step instructions for doing each of these 3 proven methods—plus some bonus material you won’t find in this guide!

Sign up for the email course here:

Once you’ve started getting clients, it’s a matter of doing an awesome job for them so they’ll hopefully continue working with you (especially on a retainer basis).

That’s because acquiring new clients takes time—as you’ll probably learn from doing the methods listed in this post.

If you keep doing one-off projects for clients, you’ll constantly need to get new clients for your freelance business.

Not only can that be tiring, it can also make running a sustainable freelance business more difficult.

On that note: If building a sustainable freelance business is something that you’re keen on, join our lancerX Facebook community! In this group, you’ll be able to connect with like-minded freelancers in Singapore and get help for challenges you’re facing with your business.

Freelance job opportunities are posted there from time to time too 😉

Tan Siew Ann
I’m a freelance writer for some of the most amazing software businesses in the world. On this blog, I share tips on how you, too, can run a sustainable and meaningful freelance business. Let’s forge your freedom. 💪

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