24 Ways to Land Your First Freelance Gig

This list should give you the start you've been looking for.
24 Ways to Land Your First Freelance Gig
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Calling all newcomers to the freelancing game! Below are more than a handful of resources to find your first customer.  As our economy continues to evolve, there has never been a better time to find freelancing opportunities.  The list below should give you the start you’ve been looking for.

1. Reddit

Redditthe front-page of the internet, as it’s said, is an ultra-valuable tool and one of the most visited sites in the world. Take personal finance for example, right now, there are almost 11,000,000 subscribers to its thread.

There are few places with that much of a following. That being said, Reddit seems to be good at self-policing. Unsolicited marketing is frowned upon and can ultimately lead to punishment. Become a part of the community and the community will repay you over time.

2. Fiverr

Set up your Fiverr account and get paid digitally for your work. They find the customers, you create an appealing portfolio for the work you’re advertising. Upselling is also an option. The base price for things is marketed to be $5, but if you want good stuff, there are a bevy of package deals.

3. Aquent

Aquent is one of the largest staffing companies in the world related to marketing. While centered on the creative, they may be able to help you land that first gig.

4. College Recruiter

Here's a great tool for recent grads. In my corporate experience, I’ve had more than a few unpleasant encounters with recruiters. College Recruiter strives to create a positive experience in pairing you with the work you’re meant to do.

5. Croogster

Though not related, Croogster is a lesser known version of Fiverr. While the latter has already been toted in this article, why limit yourself to one platform? You never know where you’ll find the right opportunity.

6. Craigslist

Believe it or not, many first paid writing jobs come from Craigslist. An effective way to leverage the site is to use IFTTT.com, a website that helps you create notification triggers. For example, if you are looking for a writing job, you can set up email notifications for any threads that may be looking for writers.

7. Guru

With a global network of 1.5 million profiles, Guru provides a place where freelancers can let prospective clients review their profile, as well as their past work. Guru allows for a bit more vetting of talent, which provides a level of credibility.

8. Krop

Krop is geared toward the creative, design and technology industries. With all experience levels represented, there is a good chance you’ll find work on this job board and portfolio hosting website.

9. Twitter

It may not be the trendiest social media today but we can’t deny it still has a market. While SnapChat and Instagram Stories may be garnering the attention of most, Twitter is still a place where relationships can be made.

Get out there and follow/like those who can be of great help to you. Remember to be charitable. The more you give, the more you receive.

10. Facebook Groups

The same principles used above for the Twitter platform can be employed for Facebook Groups. Don’t be overzealous on the premise of self-promotion. Comment on others posts and answer their questions.

11. Your Facebook Feed

Your Facebook Feed is not normally on the “where to find work” list but you’d be surprised. I’ve gained more than a couple clients this way.  While other sites are riddled with those promoting themselves, your feed is less likely to do so.

12. Instagram

Instagram has one of the highest conversion rates in all of social media at the moment. For those who don’t know, conversion equals payments and payments equal cash. Post with related hashtags and follow, follow, follow others!

13. Local papers

Though it may be a thing of the past, all you need is that first client to get you going. Stay humble and don’t overlook obvious opportunities. At least make the call and hear out the ad. All leads are considered valid!

14. CRM software

Using a CRM to track contacts may be a valuable tool for your needs. 

CRM software can keep everything you need to close a deal in one central location. That name or detail you forgot about throughout the course of the day may be the equivalent of leaving money on the table.

15. Cold calling

Contrary to popular belief, cold calling didn’t die with Gordon Gecco. While some old technologies may be obsolete, old sales techniques are alive and well.

Some of your competition is “too good” to cold call, so you may just beat them to the punch by playin' it old school.

16. PeoplePerHour and Upwork 

Yet another couple of job boards to choose from. Then again, why just choose one when you can use all of them. 

PeoplePerHour will allow prospective clients to find you through filtering by location, type of work, etc.

As noted on their website, find the level of service that works for you at Upwork.

17. Grassroots networking

Join your local Rotary Club to meet business leaders in the area.  Better yet, dig deep into your networks and create a homegrown networking group.

Years after graduating college, many have mutually beneficial relationships with people whom they shared a childhood court or field with.

18. MeetUp.com

Join a MeetUp group of entrepreneurs or business people. Since it’s open to the public, these type of groups will require you to weed out the dreamers who aren’t there to take action.

19. Local hangouts

Ask questions at your local hangouts.  Ask them how business is, what they need and follow up with regular visits. This will open up opportunities to talk to people about what you do.

When you’re getting your morning coffee tomorrow, try it out.

20. Social clubs

Gyms, Crossfit and other social environments where people come together for a common purpose are great networking opportunities. For instance, I’ve gained thousands in sales from my peers at my local Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy.

I’m not there to solicit them but they know what I do just from my being around for almost seven years now. Someone is bound to use your services in such an amount of time.

21. Create a community workshop 

Free workshops or training almost always give instant credibility. Use that credibility to land your first client by advertising what you did during the event.

22. Brainstorming

Sunday night brainstorms can be an incredibly powerful experience. It can be a time of preparation, almost like the calm before the storm. Take out a notebook and write down your goals for the week. Don’t stop there, write down how you will accomplish them too. 

Sometimes weekly goals can turn into monthly, yearly and lifetime ideas.

23. Active

Find activities and events where you can connect with people similar to you. One of the most effective ways to pitch your services is in a non-threatening environment where mutual interests are present. Active.com provides this type of opportunity for you if you’re into biking, running or a slew of other sports and training.

24. Kupple

This may sound like a dating app, but it’s not, it’s a way to get like-minded couples to interact and hang out with other couples. Get your spouse and meet people. Every friend knows dozens of people who may need your service. Kupple can compound your networking by adding your spouse or loved ones to these types of activities.

(By Eric Estevez)


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