How to Get Clients: Five Effective Ways to Grow Your Business (Part 2)

Building off of How to Get Clients (Part 1), Part 2 of this article series is written by Freelance Copywriter and Content Creator, Maddie McElhenny. She shares her five most effective strategies to landing client opportunities.
Written by
Maddie McElhenny
Published on
March 28, 2024

The road to financial freedom as a solopreneur, independent contractor, and small business owner can be long and winding. Especially when starting out, there are so many things to do all at once. Finding and securing clients — the foundation of your business — is a top priority. Our article, How to Get Clients (Part 1), lays out the necessary foundation to set yourself up to get clients, including creating a basic online presence and tapping into existing networks. Now it's time to build on that foundation and elevate your business to new heights. Here are five effective strategies to land you excellent client opportunities.

Note: As a Freelance Copywriter and Content Creator, I primarily share many of the resources that have been most valuable to me, which are specific to the Creative industry. However, if that's different from your industry, the good news is that there are tons of other ones out there specific to yours.

1. Build Connections through Industry-Specific Communities

It may feel lonely to be out on your own, but there are many other people in similar positions willing and ready to support you. There is an abundance of industry-specific communities waiting to be explored. Not only do they offer solidarity in this journey, but they're also full of knowledge, insights, and job opportunities. 

Do research and ask around to get a sense of what's out there. Many are free to join, and others may require a nominal fee to either access or, more commonly, upgrade to a more advanced version. Depending on your industry or niche, there is a good chance you'll find too many resources, which can become overwhelming and prompt you to be strategic about where you lean in. 

Lean into Facebook and LinkedIn groups

These platforms are goldmines of valuable insights, job opportunities, and networking prospects. Staying plugged into these channels will allow you to position yourself at the forefront of industry developments and gain access to a pool of potential clients.

 LinkedIn is full of freelance and industry-specific groups, such as Freelance Professional(.NET, MVC, Java, Python,PHP, WordPress,Oracle, Android, iOS, Web Developer) or Freelance Graphic Designers, with thousands of like-minded professionals.

Freelance Professional Network Group Join Page
Freelance Graphic Designs Group Join

Basecamp Outdoor Jobs and More Group Join Page

Facebook also has useful professional groups that you can join. For example, Basecamp Outdoors is an active community of over 65,000 professionals in the outdoors industry where you can market your skills, see job openings, and learn about opportunities to boost your skills. If the outdoors industry is not your jam, plenty of others exist! A simple search can get you in the right place. 

Can't find a group you want to join on LinkedIn or Facebook? Create it!

Follow like-minded thought leaders in your field

Find the people shaping the future of your industry. Check out Medium, Substack, and LinkedIn. Podcasts and YouTube channels are also relevant and may be worthwhile. Learn from their insights, experiences, and perspectives. Engage with them by liking and commenting on their posts.

Attend Local Events

There is a wealth of in-person and virtual networking events, summits, conferences, and other opportunities for countless industries and interests. Meeting face-to-face at in-person events can foster stronger personal connections that may result in more significant opportunities. Virtual opportunities can also offer convenience, ease, and sometimes, greater reach. Like everything, cast a wide net when searching for opportunities and determine which makes the most sense for you to pursue.

The monthly Creative Morning events in 238 cities across 69 countries burst with creative professionals ready to connect. Many cities and countries also host a Startup Week, like this one in Boston and the Twin Cities. Check out what's happening in your location, or if you're visiting a new place, see which events are taking place during your travel dates to leverage a new market. Market yourself as you participate as an attendee, or better, sign up to host a workshop or facilitate a panel for added visibility.

Creative Morning event in Minneapolis MN
Creative Morning event in Minneapolis, MN in January 2024. Photo by TravisJohansen.com.

Broaden your existing network

Outside of events, you can tap into the next outer layer of your circle through your existing contacts. Find 2nd and 3rd connections on LinkedIn from whom you can learn about their experience, insights, and opportunities. Asking to connect with them through someone you know will give you the best chance of forming a genuine connection. To make it easier for that person to do you a favor, draft the message for them to turn around and use to introduce you. 

Here is a sample script for inspiration:

“I'm actively seeking opportunities in [industry/field], and I noticed [Name] is one of your connections on LinkedIn. Their insights and perspective would be incredibly valuable as I explore potential opportunities. Would you be willing to introduce me? Your time is valuable. If helpful, I'd be happy to draft a quick message that you could use to introduce us. Thank you so much for your consolidation - I appreciate it!”

If you don't have a mutual contact, try to connect by sending in-mails on LinkedIn or take a chance by cold calling.

2. Tune into Niche Job Boards

Escape the overwhelming sea of mass applications flooding traditional job search engines like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Monster, and instead explore niche job boards tailored to your skills and interests. Find the most relevant ones and let the opportunities come directly to your inbox. MotherUntitled or Freelancing Females is an excellent resource for flexible jobs across various industries. MediaBistro highlights opportunities for media and content professionals. If you're a writer or journalist, check out Sonia Weiser's Opportunities of the Week, Peak Freelance, and Writer's Weekly

Or, find Facebook or LinkedIn groups that provide access to those opportunities, like DigitalNomad. If you’re a web developer, Jobs for Front-End Developers and Remote Jobs and Projects for Developers are for you.

Staffing agencies are also a great place to look for opportunities, as they constantly post contract and part-time opportunities to help corporations fill gaps. Insight Global, Robert Half, and 24 Seven staff a wide range of on-site and remote positions across various industries in the US. For marketing creatives, check out Artisan Talent or Creative Circle

While staffing agencies take a percentage of your earnings, it can be a reliable avenue to get your foot in the door, gain experience, and build connections for future work. Typically, the process begins when you search for open positions you're interested in and submit your resume. Then, a recruiter will connect with you and learn more about you, your skillset, and your career goals. The recruiter becomes an advocate for you, helping you get an interview, which can be the most challenging part of securing a new client! The rest is up to you to shine and land the position.

3. Position yourself as an expert

Imposter syndrome is common when you're venturing out on your own. But no matter where you are in your career journey, you have more expertise than you know. Showcase your unique value by creating high-quality, engaging content. Share thoughts, perspectives, knowledge, experiences, and ideas in the format of your choice. If you like writing, platforms like Medium or Substack are common subscription forums for publishing articles and blog posts of any length. If you're better with video, launch a YouTube channel. Once you find something you like, stick with it. Consistency — simply showing up — is the key to establishing yourself as a credible authority in your field. You never know who or what your voice may inspire.

Need help with content ideas? Start by introducing yourself so others can get to know the human side of your business. You can then brainstorm article ideas, including the stories and moments that stick out. What are your biggest successes and lessons learned? Are you attending an industry-specific event/conference? Post about it and connect with others who are also attending. Afterward, follow up with a post about what you learned.

Creating content can be time-consuming, so staying organized and streamlining whenever possible is essential. Use a basic Google sheet or a project management tool like Trello or Asana to help track your ideas, publish date, and status. As you go, you'll get a sense of what kind of posts engage others and adjust and adapt as necessary. It all starts with your first post. 

4. Be bold and proactive about needs you can fill

Client opportunities don't typically fall into your lap; they require you to be curious, observant, and proactive. Keep your eyes and ears open for needs within the marketplace that align with your skills and expertise. Did you see that a former colleague was planning for their parental leave? Their employer could use temporary support during their absence. Did you hear about an upcoming program launch at a current client? They may not have had the time to think about how to cover all of their needs yet. Put yourself out there by gently inquiring about that need and proposing that you fill it. Or, are you interested in a particular company or organization and have always wanted to work for them? Let them know and ask if they have any freelancing opportunities.

Here are a few sample prompts for these types of inquiries:

  • “I noticed your team is gearing up for an upcoming program launch. As someone with experience in [relevant skill/expertise], I'm eager to support and contribute to its success. Is there an opportunity for me to assist with this initiative?”
  • “I heard about your colleague's upcoming parental leave and wanted to reach out to offer my assistance during their absence. With my background in [relevant skill/expertise], I can provide valuable support to your team. Would you be open to discussing potential opportunities?”
  • “I've been keeping an eye on industry developments and noticed a need for [specific skill/expertise] within your organization. My background and experience make me well-suited to fill this gap and support your team's objectives. Could we discuss potential opportunities for collaboration?”

The worst they can say is no. Even if this particular opportunity doesn’t pan out, it can be the start of a new relationship that can lead to a future one.

5. Team up with other freelancers

Partnering can offer the ability to find new and different opportunities and increase the value you give clients. Look for others with complementary expertise and pitch your value. For example, if you're a copywriter and find a web designer, you can partner to provide clients with more integrated and holistic services. Or, find someone who has more experience and a more extensive client base, and offer to sub-contract with them to help take things off their plate and give you work and experience.

By leveraging the strengths of your fellow freelancers and pooling your resources, you can expand your client base, enhance the quality of your services, and pave the way for long-term success in the freelancing world.

Freelancing marketers coming together to work on a web redesign project for a client
Freelance marketers coming together to work on a web redesign project for a client. Specialities include Marketing Strategy + Project Management, SEO + Digital Ads, Copywriting, UX Strategy, Web & Graphic Design, and Web Development + Maintenance. 

The Building Blocks for Success

These five strategies are crucial steps to finding and securing greater client opportunities. Your time and resources are valuable, so prioritize based on what makes most sense for you. It's also important to recognize that many of these efforts don't pay off right away—they take time. Staying persistent and focused can pave the way for long-term growth and success.

We'd love to hear what has worked and not worked with you! We're in this together, and your experience and insights may make a huge difference for someone else in unexpected ways.

About Maddie McElhenny

Maddie McElhenny is a Freelance Copywriter and Communications Consultant elevating small- and medium-sized brands through the right messaging and materials. She brings 15 years of global marketing and communications experience across various industries and sectors to help brands not only reach their target audience(s), but authentically connect with them. She loves the daily challenge, flexibility, and freedom of working for herself and appreciates leveraging emerging tech to balance being a mom, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors.

Related Articles

How to Get Clients as a Freelancer: Part 1

How to Price Your Services and Charge What You're Worth

Consulting Best Practices: Do's and Dont's

The Eight Twenty Newsletter
No spam. Just the latest releases and tips, interesting articles, and exclusive interviews in your inbox every week.
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

DISCLAIMER: Information on this site is for educational purposes only. LeHerring LLC does not provide, legal, accounting, tax or investment advice. Although care has been taken in preparing the information provided to you, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions, and we accept no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage you may incur. Always seek financial and/or legal counsel relating to your specific circumstances as needed for any and all questions and concerns you now have or may have in the future.

We cannot guarantee your success, nor are we responsible for any of your actions. Our role is to support and assist you in reaching your own goals, but your success depends primarily on your own effort, motivation, commitment, and follow-through. We cannot predict, and we do not guarantee, that you will attain a particular result.

AFFILIATES: From time to time, we may promote, affiliate with, or partner with other individuals or businesses whose programs, products, and services align with ours. In the spirit of transparency, we want you to be aware that there may be instances when we promote, market, share or sell programs, products, or services for other partners. In exchange, we may receive financial compensation or other rewards.