Here’s how to find and work with the right clients

As a freelance creative, you have chosen a profession that is competitive, rewarding, and adventurous all at once.

But often you’re so focused on generating leads, designing, and getting the best result that it’s easy to overlook the bigger picture. Is the work you’re doing allow you to achieve your ultimate creative and professional goals? If not, it’s never too late to make a change. There are simple things you can do right now to make sure you’re on the right track.

These six tips will help you attract the right clients and get the work you want.

  • Tip # 1: Get your portfolio in order
  • Tip #2: Optimize your “About Us” area
  • Tip #3: Update your prices
  • Tip #4: Highlight reviews
  • Tip #5: Meet your ideal customers where they’re
  • Tip #6: Work smarter, not harder

Tip # 1: Get your portfolio in order

Your portfolio is the first impression a potential client will have of the quality of your work, and it provides insight into how you work. When was the last time you looked at your portfolio?

If it’s been more than a year, take a few hours and look at it from the perspective of your ideal client.

  • Are your latest designs uploaded to your portfolio?
  • Do you show the best work on the home page?
  • Are the thumbnails of high quality?
  • Have you filled in the descriptions of each project?

When it comes to your portfolio, quality should come before quantity. No client wants to wade through 20 pages of half-finished drafts. Hide or remove work that no longer fits your style or the industries you want to work in.

Tip #2: Optimize your “About Us” area

Your work is the visual representation of your personality, but in the “About” section you can make it clear in words who you are, what kind of work you are available for, and anything else a potential client needs to know about you.

Treat the “About” section like an introduction. You can talk about your specialization and experience as a creative, reference other work, show your personality, and explicitly state what kind of projects you want to work on. If you want to work with lifestyle brands, you should mention that! If you’re a branding designer who wants to get into typesetting, you can say that too.

Tip #3: Update your prices

Customers who understand your value are the customers you want to attract. Similar to reviewing your portfolio, it might be time to update your pricing if it’s been a while. A few things to consider when updating your pricing are:

  • Your current experience level
  • Prices of other freelancers
  • The cost of the tools/software you use
  • The economic outlook

When you started freelancing, it may have been appropriate to take low-paying assignments to get your foot in the door. Now that you have more experience, it’s time for that to be reflected in your fees!

Tip #4: Highlight reviews

Word of mouth is very important for freelancers, and a good review from a previous client shows potential clients that they can confidently hire you. Whether it’s on LinkedIn, your 99designs profile, or your website, having an area where these positive reviews can be found gives you an extra boost of credibility.

Tip #5: Meet your ideal customers where they’re

“Marketing” is not a dirty word! In fact, most successful designers engage in self-marketing in one way or another. And you do not have to rent a billboard or go live on Facebook to reach your dream clients. It can be as low-key as setting up an Instagram account where you share your work, follow people you want to collaborate with, and keep tabs on the industries you want to get a foothold in.

If possible, try to attend a meeting or conference of the companies you want to connect with. Whether in person or virtually, being present in the areas that your ideal customers use will remind you of what you’re working toward, keep you up to date on industry trends, and make it easier for potential customers to find you in the future.

Tip #6: Work smarter, not harder

It’s simple: if you know you don’t want to design logos for dentists, you shouldn’t spend another second designing them. As a freelancer, it sometimes feels like you have to take on any job that comes along. But if a project has nothing to do with your goals, you shouldn’t feel pressured to take it.

Instead, focus on things that will bring you closer to your dreams. You could use those hours to set goals or enter a design contest that inspires you. You can use AI to create your own practice assignments to gain “experience” in industries you’d like to work in. Take time to research, watch a tutorial, or practice a new style. Or you can also use this time to do one of the tips above.

Your chances of attracting the work you want are greater than you think

This is your sign to take steps toward the future you deserve. We hope these tips will help you achieve your goals. Whether you want to land your dream client, land your dream project, or acquire a completely new skill, you’ve got it!

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