Transitioning from relying solely on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to starting to build a client base of your own is a common goal for many freelancers. While these platforms can be a great way to start out and find initial clients, the commission fees they charge can eat into your profits and limit your potential earnings. Here are some strategies you can use to branch out and work directly with clients.
Build Your Online Presence
- Create a professional website
This is your digital storefront, showcasing your portfolio, services, and testimonials. Ensure it’s clear, navigable, and optimized for search engines.
- Be active on social media
Join relevant groups and communities, share valuable content, and engage with potential clients.
- Publish blog posts and articles
Establish yourself as an expert is a key factor to build a client base. Share your knowledge and insights on industry-related topics.
- Develop a professional email list
Encourage website visitors and social media followers to subscribe for updates and special offers.
- Attend industry events
Make connections with potential clients and collaborators in person.
- Join online communities and forums
Participate in discussions, offer help, and build relationships with fellow professionals.
- Collaborate with other freelancers
Offer complementary services or partner on projects to reach a wider audience.
Leverage existing client relationships
- Deliver exceptional service
Encourage satisfied clients to recommend you to their network or offer repeat business. Referrals are often a valuable and low cost way to build a client base.
- Offer referral bonuses
Incentivize positive testimonials and client referrals.
- Reach out to past clients with new service offerings
Keep them informed about your evolving skills and expertise.
Side tip: Start a newsletter to keep current and past clients up to date on impressive projects.
Use paid advertising strategically
- Run targeted ads on social media or search engines
Reach potential clients specifically looking for your services.
- Consider sponsoring relevant industry events or webinars
Gain visibility and credibility within your niche.
Offer competitive rates and packages
- Research market rates for your services
Ensure your pricing is competitive but reflects your value and expertise.
- Offer packages or bundles
Entice repeat business or new clients with additional value and incentives to work directly with you.
The effort to build a client base takes time and effort. Be patient, consistent, and focused on delivering exceptional value to your clients. As your reputation grows and connections solidify, you’ll gradually decrease your reliance on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, ultimately maximizing your earning potential.
- Track your results
Monitor which strategies are most effective in attracting direct clients and adjust your approach accordingly.
- Seek out mentors or join coaching programs
Get guidance from experienced freelancers who have transitioned successfully.
- Never stop learning and growing
Stay ahead of industry trends and develop new skills to remain competitive.
By implementing these strategies and demonstrating your expertise and professionalism, you can successfully transition from platforms to direct client work and build a thriving freelance business on your own terms.