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Finding Your First Paying Clients Starting Out as a Freelancer in a New Industry

How to Get Clients When You Have No Experience

You have a skill that you enjoy and want to start making money off of it either full-time or as a side hustle to your current job.

Depending on the skill you may be wanting to monetize (blogging, photography, social media, video production, etc.), you may need to have a portfolio or some previous work to show potential clients what you're capable of. Check out my post on Becoming a Freelancer (coming soon).

When you have some work to show potential clients, how do you find paying clients? Here's where to start your search.

Friends and Family

Every article on the Internet says to start here but hear me out. I said the same thing you are probably thinking. "I don't have any friends or family who need (insert your skill here) photos or video work."

As someone who wants to be a video editor and photographer full-time I thought it was worth a shot and let people I know know that I do videography and photography. It turned out that the president of Communication Studies Club in college wanted a videographer for her radio show's interviews to put on her YouTube. One of the artists she was going to interview asked about compensation for the video which leads to my first paying client and $20!!

This lead to me doing more videography work with my friends who are trying to get their start on YouTube.

Social Media

I believe social media is one of the biggest contributors to me getting clients starting as a freelancer. I've come to the conclusion that you never know what someone needs until you put out what you're offering. By that, I mean that just like letting your close friends and family know that you offer freelancing services, let your social networks know as well. I created a simple picture on SnapChat saying I'm back in business. I then shared it on Instagram and Facebook.

This got me a booked gig for an old classmate's YouTube channel and an offer to work in the future with a fitness YouTube channel.

Start a Facebook Page and post your work on there as well as wherever it seems fit (Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc.). Sharing on multiple channels keeps you available everywhere.

Join Facebook groups related to what you want to do. Some people post about jobs and paying gigs in all types of groups.


Tell everyone you meet what you do and what you aspire to do. It may sound dumb to tell the mailman that you want to be a full-time blogger, but try it this way. If they ask how are you doing or if you have any plans for the weekend, say you're writing for your blog or editing photos. You don't have to tell your mailman specifically but anyone who you may think could have connections or a need for your service; it wouldn't hurt to slide that info in the conversation if it seems fit. This can also help with talking about yourself and work at networking events. As someone with social anxiety, having to talk to someone about myself is weird but having to talk to people face-to-face at my day job made it easier to talk about my goals and aspirations during small talk.

Job Boards

This method I haven't fully tried yet, but this may be the best way to get freelance work that pays. Search Google or job boards like Upwork, We Work Remotely, and LinkedIn for jobs related to what you want to do. Some companies hire freelancers for contract work. This method provides you with work for a few months or longer.

A few companies who hire freelancers to work for different companies are the Creative Group and Creative Circle. Send your resume and/or portfolio to the recruiter posting the job listing. The good thing about recruiters is even if you don't get the gig or are just looking for options, your recruiter will let you know of other jobs based on your resume and your interest.

Doing these methods individually will get you started as a freelancer. Combining these four ways are surefire ways to get you on the road to Freelance Freedom!

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