Today I wanted to share how I got my first two clients. I’m sharing both of them because they were two completely different ways, but share some of the same themes. I loved reading how other people got their first clients previous to me ever having any clients, but I always felt like it was so out of reach for my tiny little blog. I basically wasn’t even regularly blogging when I got these first two clients, so I just wanted to show you don’t need a million followers to start working with and helping people online. Let’s see how I got my first client.
I wanted to begin by saying that I had a live blog with a hundred posts on it when I got these two clients. Even though I wasn’t constantly posting like I am now, I still had samples of my writing and information about me out there for people to read. It also showed that I was serious about freelancing, since I had invested time and money into creating a brand and a blog. Even though I didn’t get these two clients directly through my blog, I believe that if I didn’t have a website, I may not have landed these clients.
A year ago, I had started a 9-5 office job that I absolutely hated. I was miserable, so I was literally searching for any way out. I finally just quit and had to scramble over the following months to make sure my bills were paid. I really don’t recommend doing that, because it got me into debt and ended up causing more stress than it was worth, but I did learn a lot from that period in my life. First I signed up for Upwork, a site that connects you with people who need freelancers, and started doing random jobs like editing photos, writing blog posts and sending cold call emails, to name a few that I did.
I really don’t recommend Upwork as a way to make an income for a few reasons, but it’s a good opportunity to get some experience while earning a little bit of money. It can also help you make connections. The problem with Upwork is it’s open all over the world, so many of the freelancers from other countries charge minuscule numbers, like $3 an hour. In order to compete with those offers, you either have to be an amazingly talented, experienced writer/designer/whatever (which….if you are….why are you on Upwork?) or you have to constantly be applying for jobs first and quoting low, low prices.
It sounds harsh towards Upwork, and I mean no hate towards the platform and it’s freelancers. It helped me pay my bills and earn a living for a few months last year, but it just wasn’t sustainable because I was working sixty hours a week making what I make now in just 15 hours. It was exhausting. But, it gave me the experience that I could stick on my resumes and applications. My first actual client actually came from Upwork. He was a marketing guy in Texas looking for an assistant to help him with social media, blogging and website design. I applied, we talked and I did a trial project on Upwork before moving off the platform and becoming a contract employee for him. I worked for him through the summer, until we kind of mutually got busy and our communication diminished. But, I finally had worked with someone outside a freelancing board and had gotten some real-world experience.
There’s a saying that goes, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know.” It could not be more true for freelancing. Making connections, talking to people and pitching yourself when a need or job arises is literally one of the best and easiest ways to find clients and jobs. It’s something I fully intend on working harder at this year because I really have not been working as hard as I could be.
My second client and someone I’m still working with was in a Facebook group that I was in. I posted that I was from Idaho and was looking for other people to connect with in the area. A few people posted that they, too, were from Idaho, and I added them as friends and went on with my day. A few weeks later, one of those people, Holly, posted on her personal facebook that she was looking for someone to help her out with some writing and if anyone had any recommendations for people to send them her way.
I took a chance, sent her an email with my resume and blog links and waited to hear back. She liked my writing, so we did some test projects before she brought me onto her team. After a few months of just writing blog posts for her, she had an opening for some other work at an hourly rate. This included stuff like photo editing, making graphics and social media writing/scheduling. I said yes, and we’ve now worked together for a few months! I love working for Holly because it’s doing things that I’m 1) really good at and 2) really like doing. Plus, the extra money outside of my hostess job doesn’t hurt.
Thanks for reading!