I think a freelancer’s life is all about nickles and dimes.
Here and there, a multitude of small projects adds up to a larger payday—and that cycle keeps going month after month. But more importantly, it’s not just the need for constant income that makes freelancing a challenge, it’s the need for consistent clients!
Just like collecting small payments, you also need to collect clients of all sizes to help stay busy. Of course, the occasional lead from someone new is always nice, but for the most part, a good chunk of your freelance work can come from people you already know.
Especially during the midst of a pandemic like COVID-19, tapping into your personal network to boost your freelance success can make your job easier—let me show you what I mean:
Start with People You Know
While you’re waiting for customers to purchase your gigs on Fiverr or waiting to hear back about other bids you’ve pitched, the best thing you can do to secure new clients is to start with people you know.
And when I say people you know, I mean everyone! For example, my mother-in-law is a CBO of a private bank in California. One day, she was stressed out because their team’s graphic designer couldn’t make them a brochure in time for a big conference where she was pitching a new software expansion to clients. She had the ideas all mapped out, but for whatever reason, their contact couldn’t deliver.
I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a coffee, and with my laptop already open, I told her to show me what she had in mind and maybe I could help. Within minutes, she had laid out her sketches, and using my freelance skills for graphic design, I was able to put together the entire brochure in under an hour—simple. Needless to say, she was impressed, and now, I’m an independent contractor for the bank, earning about 2-3 well-paying assignments a month.
A similar instance came up when I was having coffee at a local cafe in my town. The editor for the local newspaper—whom I met once before at a convention—rushed into the cafe and sat down in a whirlwind. She was visibly flustered. I was seated at a table across from her and I said hello, and immediately, she apologized for how upset she was. Apparently, another writer of hers was supposed to interview a local restaurant and send her a draft by that morning. However, the writer went MIA and she was left scrambling to cover the page space.
I had nothing to do that day, so I asked her what restaurant it was, who the contact was, and when she needed it by (at the latest). She gave me the rundown and I told her that I would go interview the place and write the piece up for her in no time. Within 3 hours, I sent her a draft and she was incredibly grateful. To make a long story short, I now write a monthly column for her about local restaurants in town.
Now, I can understand that these situations sort of fell into my lap (right place at the right time sort of thing), but the point is that these are people who already know me. They know my work ethic and they understand the type of skills and flexibility I have as a freelancer. More importantly, I didn’t have to waste time proving to them the merit of my ability, which is more or less the case for securing new clients. In your personal network (peers, family, friends), you’ve already proved your worth, and now you can focus on delivering value to those in need of assistance.
What You Can Do to Land Gigs
So with a newfound appreciation for your personal contacts, the best thing you can do to land more gigs with them is to let everyone know that you’re available!
On Facebook or Instagram, don’t be afraid to make posts about your freelance skills and how you can offer assistance to your family and friends. If you’re on the phone with an aunt or uncle, and they need help to design a birthday card or launch a new website for their at-home startup, go ahead and give them a discount! Just the other day, a buddy of mine wanted to start his own podcast, and knowing that I’ve already launched my own, he asked if I could help. Now, I edit his episodes and write the captions for this show.
You just never know what kinds of opportunities are waiting there right under your nose. And like I said, these may not be lucrative gigs, but it’s the small consistencies that make freelancing stable and ever-changing. A job here, a job there, a quick edit here, a large infographic there—they all add up to a hefty payday in the end. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing that you’re providing a service to clients you care about.
If you have anyone in your personal network that wants to scope out your experience, you can always direct them to your Fiverr page, too! Are you not using Fiverr yet to promote yourself? Click here to become a seller!