Freelancing can be great, but one of its big downsides compared to employment is that there’s no organisation or boss supplying you with a never-ending stream of work that results in a pay packet.
This means that if you want your freelancing career to be long-lasting and earn enough to pay the bills, you need to devote some of your time to ensuring there are more gigs in the pipeline when you’ve finished your current projects, and the ones after that.
Here are some strategies to ensure you can still afford to eat three months down the line!
Seek out regular gigs
They may not always be the best payers (although they can be!), but regular gigs don’t need to be. Whether it’s a column you write every month for a local publication or maintenance and updates on a website, regular gigs give you a guaranteed income; a scaffold you can use to support you as you build and maintain your freelance business.
Try pitching to existing or previous clients for regular work. This proposition can be attractive to them because it removes the need for sourcing new freelancers, who may not prove as reliable and talented as you. Clients love to work with freelancers who they can trust to deliver quality work on time.
Keep in touch with clients
Always follow up a completed project soon after with an email commenting on how good it was to work with the client. After that, add the client to your previous clients list and ensure you touch base with all of them every so often, informing them of any successes or awards and any new qualifications you have or new services you offer. Can you offer an additional service or improvement to augment the work you did for them before?
If you can’t run to paid advertising in print or online, at least make sure you have an attractive, search-optimised, easy-to-navigate website that’s kept up to date, together with active social media accounts and posts that use the right tags to attract potential hirers. It’s also useful to join forums, groups and business networks linked to your industry, location or both, whether they’re physical or online.
Whether its family or friends with potential opportunities or contacts, or ‘cold calling’ people in your industry, remember to reach out regularly to anyone who may need your services. An email is usually better than a phone call, as it doesn’t put people on the spot and can be read and dealt with by the recipient when they have time to do so. Calling them just before a crucial meeting is less likely to get a considered or positive response!
Sell yourself short (and sweet)
You never know where you might meet a potential client, so always have business cards to hand and develop a succinct, professional summary of what you offer and why you’re great at it. Learn it and practise saying it until it rolls off your tongue easily every time you’re asked, “So what exactly is it that you do?”
Visit job boards and freelance marketplaces
Job boards like are often free to search, but freelance marketplaces usually incur fees—either for membership, asking questions about projects, pitching for projects, earning money or all four! So read the small print and be aware of exactly what you’re spending and how much of any potential earnings will end up in your pocket. Many do offer the chance to advertise your services, though, as well as the chance to pitch for advertised work.
Here are just a few of the many online job boards and freelance marketplaces available:
To make sure the work keeps coming, take an hour this week to try one of two of these strategies—and let us know what works best for you.