Freelancers must build their client lists and deliver excellent service. Of course, you can’t deliver excellent service if you have no clients. To get ideas on building my client list, I started attending seminars and reading career advice books (that’s when I discovered Asher).
At a recent EAC seminar, “How to Be a Successful Freelancer,” freelancers were encouraged to think about their ideal clients. Do you want clients who pay on time, who pay premium rates, who are environmentally friendly? Once you decide on your clients’ characteristics, start compiling a list of businesses that fit the bill. (Asher’s advice on researching businesses applies here.) You should also consider who pays your competitors to do your type of work. Add these companies to your list as appropriate.
Asher’s job-hunting advice on identifying raw leads (see the previous post) also applies to freelancers looking for clients. In addition to businesses, include on your list all the people in your networks and all the work-related ideas you have that you can convert into names of individuals — more leads! This list of leads should reach 100, according to Asher, and should be replenished as leads are pursued to their conclusion.
With this list generated, it’s time to go forth and make contact. Make phone calls, but also consider where your potential clients congregate and what they read. Then go where you will meet them, advertise in their publications, and attend their events. Yup, it always comes down to networking.