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Freelancing is only increasing in popularity, and is now the preferred way to work for highly-skilled talent. To get your first clients as a freelancer, you should: 

  • Identify your niche and how you can bring the most value to it.
  • Clarify your skillset and how you can differentiate yourself.
  • Build and reach out to your professional network to promote yourself and availability.
  • Create valuable content and promote yourself on LinkedIn and your website.
  • Craft an effective portfolio and resume, and make it easily available.
  • Join a talent network like Expert360.
  • Understand the going market rates for your area of expertise.

Ready to step into the world of freelancing, but wondering how do you get your first clients as a freelancer? It's an intimidating process, but one that can be extremely lucrative if done correctly.

Aspiring top-tier freelancers need to understand how to identify their niche, build their professional network, craft effective portfolios and resumes, promote themselves effectively in order to attract potential customers, and negotiate rates and contracts with those customers.

In this guide we will discuss these topics so you can start on your journey towards becoming a sought-after, elite freelancer.

Identifying Your Niche

Researching Your Market:

It is important to research the market you are entering in order to understand the current trends and demands of your target clients. This includes researching competitors, understanding their most pressing problems, and understanding industry standards.

Doing this will help you identify potential opportunities and determine what services or products may be most profitable for your business.

Identifying Your Skillset:

Once you have a better understanding of the market, it’s time to assess your skillset. What unique talents do you possess that can set you apart from other freelancers? Are there any areas where you need additional training or experience?

Identifying these strengths and weaknesses will help ensure that when selecting projects, they align with your skill level and desired career path.

After assessing your skillset, it is important to set goals and objectives for yourself as a freelancer.

These should include both short-term objectives such as securing new clients or completing certain projects by specific deadlines, as well as long-term goals like building an impressive portfolio or increasing rates over time.

Setting achievable milestones along the way will keep you motivated while helping track progress towards success in becoming an elite freelancer.

Once you have identified your niche, the next step is to build your professional network and establish connections with potential clients.

You should also do research on how much you could earn as a freelancer. See how much you could earn with our freelancer rate tool here.

Building Your Professional Network

Building your professional network is essential for success as a freelancer.

Utilising social media platforms can be an effective way to showcase your skills and connect with potential clients. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to start building relationships with other professionals in the industry.

It’s important to create content that is relevant to your niche and engages with others in the community by commenting on posts or joining conversations.

Joining professional organisations or talent networks such as Expert360 can also help you expand your reach within the freelance market. These groups often provide resources such as job postings, networking events, workshops, or webinars which can be beneficial for gaining knowledge about trends in the industry or connecting with like-minded individuals who share similar interests.

Additionally, they may offer discounts on services or products related to freelancing which could save you money when starting out as a freelancer.

Establishing connections with potential clients is key for finding work opportunities as a freelancer. You should make sure that all of your contact information (email address, phone number) is up-to-date so that people can easily get in touch if they have any questions about hiring you for their project needs.

Additionally, it’s important to stay active online by regularly posting updates about projects you’re working on or sharing helpful tips related to freelance work; this will help build trust among potential clients who may consider hiring you down the line.

By building a strong professional network, you can increase your visibility and create valuable connections that will help you find potential clients. Now let's look at how to craft an effective portfolio and resume to showcase your skillset and experience.

Crafting an Effective Portfolio and Resume

When it comes to marketing yourself as a freelancer, crafting an effective portfolio and resume is key. Choose experiences and results that are representative of your skillset and highlight any unique qualities or experiences you have that set you apart from other candidates.

Additionally, make sure to include relevant details such as the project title, client name, and timeline for each project included in your portfolio.

Writing an engaging summary of qualifications can also help you stand out from the competition. This section should be brief yet comprehensive enough to provide readers with a clear understanding of who you are and what services you offer.

Include any certifications or awards that demonstrate your expertise along with references from past employers if available.

Highlighting relevant experience and achievements is another important component when constructing an effective portfolio and resume for freelance work.

Take some time to reflect on previous projects or roles where you excelled in order to showcase how those successes can benefit future clients looking for elite talent like you.

Be sure to list any special skills or software programs used during these assignments as well so recruiters know exactly what they're getting when hiring you for their next project.

Creating a compelling portfolio and resume is essential to making an impression on potential clients. By promoting yourself as a freelancer, you can take the next step in connecting with these prospective customers and turning them into paying clients.

Promoting Yourself as a Freelancer

As a freelancer, you need to be able to effectively promote yourself in order to get your first clients.

Creating an online presence is essential for success as a freelancer. You can do this by blogging or creating content that showcases your skills and expertise. This will help potential clients find you more easily and understand what services you offer.

Additionally, leveraging referrals from existing clients or colleagues can be a great way to expand your network and reach new prospects. Finally, it’s important to develop an engaging elevator pitch for prospective clients so they know why they should hire you over someone else.

Your elevator pitch should include the value that you bring to the table and how it sets you apart from other freelancers in the same field. By taking these steps, you’ll be well on your way towards becoming a successful freelance professional.

Joining a professional talent network like Expert360 is one of the most effective ways to find new clients and projects. More and more clients are now trusting talent networks with rigorous vetting and up-to-date data on freelancers so that they can quickly hire talent with confidence. 

Creating an online presence, leveraging referrals, and developing an engaging elevator pitch are all key steps to successfully promoting yourself as a freelancer. Now let's move on to negotiating rates and contracts with clients.

Negotiating Rates and Contracts with Clients

Negotiating rates and contracts with clients is an important part of freelancing. It is essential to understand the value of your services, determine appropriate rates for different projects, and draft contracts that protect both parties’ interests.

Understanding the Value of Your Services:

Before negotiating a rate with a client, it is important to assess the value you bring to their project. Consider how much time and effort will be required for completion as well as any specialised skills or knowledge you possess that could add additional value. Once you have determined your worth, set a rate that reflects this assessment.

Determining Appropriate Rates for Different Projects: When setting rates for different types of projects, consider factors such as complexity, timeline requirements, and potential risks involved in order to accurately reflect the amount of work necessary. Additionally, research industry standards so you can ensure your fees are competitive yet still profitable enough to sustain yourself financially over time.

Drafting contracts helps protect both parties from misunderstandings or disputes down the line by clearly outlining expectations regarding payment terms, deliverables timelines, scope changes etc. before beginning work on a project together. It is important to ensure all agreements are documented in writing prior to starting any collaboration so that there are no surprises along the way.


How do freelancers find clients?

Freelancers can find clients through a variety of methods. Networking is one of the most effective ways to get started. Connect with other professionals in your field, attend industry events and join professional organisations to build relationships that could lead to potential opportunities.

Additionally, online talent networks like Expert360 are a great way for freelancers to find work as they offer access to a wide range of jobs from employers all over the world, and bring work to you rather than you needing to personally seek out new clients and projects.

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter can also be used by freelancers to showcase their skills and services while connecting with potential clients.

Finally, building an impressive portfolio website or blog will help you stand out from the competition and attract more attention from hiring managers or C-suite executives looking for elite talent.

Is it hard to get clients as a freelancer?

It can be difficult to get clients as a freelancer, but top-tier talent is always in high demand. Plus, more and more companies are now choosing to reallocate more of their budgets towards the contingent workforce. Building relationships with potential clients and establishing yourself as an expert in your field are key components of success.

Networking, having a strong portfolio or resume, and creating content that demonstrates your skillset are all great ways to increase visibility and attract new clients. Additionally, leveraging social media platforms such as LinkedIn can help you connect with the right people who may need your services. With the right strategy and hard work, getting clients as a freelancer is achievable.

How can I get first work on freelancer?

To get your first work on freelancer, you need to create a profile that stands out. Start by writing an impressive bio and include relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments. Next, showcase your portfolio with examples of past projects or work samples.

Finally, be proactive in reaching out to potential clients and building relationships through networking opportunities such as online forums or professional groups. With these steps taken care of, you will be well-positioned to land your first freelance job.

How do I land my first client?

The key to landing your first client is networking. Reach out to people in your industry and let them know you're looking for work. Attend conferences, join professional organisations, and participate in online forums related to your field. Additionally, create a portfolio of past projects or accomplishments that demonstrate the value you can bring to potential clients. Finally, make sure you have a strong online presence with an up-to-date website and active social media accounts so potential clients can easily find information about you and contact you if they are interested in hiring you.


As a freelancer, you have the potential to become a top-tier professional and make an excellent living. However, it takes hard work and dedication to get your first clients as a freelancer. By identifying your niche, building your professional network, joining a talent network, crafting an effective portfolio and resume, promoting yourself as a freelancer, and negotiating rates and contracts with clients you can set yourself up for success in this competitive field.

With the right approach and attitude towards networking and self-promotion you will be able to find great opportunities that will help you build your career as a successful freelance worker.

Are you a freelancer looking for your first client? Don't let the uncertainty of starting out stop you from taking the leap into freelancing.

Take advantage of the Expert360 network to find top-tier clients and maximise your visibility so that potential customers can see what makes you an expert in your field. Learn more about Expert360 and see how much you could earn as an Expert in our network.

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