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The "Introduction" Lesson is part of the full, Finding Clients as a Freelancer course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul Boag begins the course by sharing some background information about why freelancers and small agencies struggle to find clients and build a business. The goal of the course is to provide tools and techniques for defining a market, getting the attention of an audience, and turning leads into projects.


Transcript from the "Introduction" Lesson

>> Hello, it's great to have you here for hopefully a good day exploring the subject of how to go about finding clients. Whether you're a freelancer, whether you're an agency doesn't really matter. This hopefully will help in both cases. In fact, this course is really good for anybody who might be considering becoming a freelancer at some stage.

Or even somebody that maybe just wants to build an audience and a following so that they can maybe sell a product later down the line or do something else. So it's a pretty flexible course and hopefully, you'll find it helpful and useful. To provide you with a little bit context on this course and why we're doing it and how it works and that kind of thing, I think it's worth saying a little bit about myself.

Mainly because I like talking about myself, obviously like everybody does. So basically, I've been working in digital for my entire career, so 27 years now. I know I don't look that old, but 13 years of which was running an agency. We got up to about 20 people in the agency.

And so the kind of techniques I'm gonna share today is enough to support an agency of that kinda size if you want to. And then after about 13 years, I stepped back from the agency because I'm not really a people person and I'm very bad at managing staff and have the attention span of a small child.

So instead, I decided to go freelance myself and became an independent consultant. And I've been using the same techniques to support myself quite happily for the last six years. So it's a really flexible approach that I'm gonna share with you and can hopefully help in pretty much any circumstance you find yourself in.

I've worked with clients in all kinds of sectors, every conceivable sector you can imagine, from, I don't know, financial services through to charities. And again, what I'm gonna share today is pretty flexible whatever sectors you end up working with. I also work with all kinds of different sizes of organization, and again, this will help with that as well.

So really a very flexible approach based on my personal experience. I'm not saying it's the only way of finding clients, but it's certainly the one that's worked best for me over the years. Also, it's worth saying that I've written a lot of books. I speak a lot on these topics.

And I share almost everything that we cover today in a lot more detail on my blog and via the emails I send out. So I would encourage you at the end of this slide that you'll find a URL, and that URL will give you access to the slides.

And throughout the slides, I kinda linked different articles and things that I've written over the years. So you might wanna check that out as well, because then you can read and get more detail. So what are we gonna cover today? Let's get into looking at the subject matter we're gonna be talking about.

Well, we're gonna look at kind of six different areas over the day. We're gonna start at why you are struggling to find clients. So if you're already a freelancer or already run an agency and you have that deep seated worry about where the next month's salary is gonna come from.

Then we're gonna address that and we're gonna deal with why that is the case, why things are not easier than they are. And if you're ever considering going freelance, this will help you identify the pitfalls before you reach them. Because one of the reasons I love teaching this particular workshop is because it can have such a transformational effect on people.

That when we become freelancers, a lot people become freelancers because they work for a company and they do this job. And they see themselves being charged out with twice the amount that they get paid. And they think, well, why should I be doing it for somebody else? And then they jump in and they become a freelancer thinking that they're gonna have more time and they're gonna be paid more and it's gonna be this idealistic world.

But so often it doesn't work out like that, because there are many parts you're not being told. You might be the best coder in the world. You might be the best data scientist. You might be the best UI designer, whatever it is that you do, but that doesn't mean you can sell your services.

And so a lot of people end up very stressed, very worried about where the next paycheck is gonna come from. So once we kind of establish what doesn't work and why there are problems, we're then gonna look at, well, okay, how are we going to define the market that we wish to target?

Who do you wanna work with, right? Instead of having this attitude of, I'll just take whatever work I could get, wouldn't it be great if you could pick and choose your clients? You could say what sector you wanted to work and what type of work you wanted to do.

So we're gonna look at how to make that happen, how to market to a specific audience, how to identify that audience. And once you've identified them, how do we get their attention? Cuz let's be honest, unless you're a freelancer or an agency that offer marketing services, you're not a marketing and salesperson.

And in my experience, most designers and developers kinda look at marketing and sales and go, that's kinda nasty. Nobody likes the idea of selling yourself. And they certainly don't like the idea of spamming people or cold calling them or anything like that, how horrendous. It'd be soul destroying to start doing that kind of thing.

So how do you get people's attention in a way that's not salesy and not marketingy? Then once we got their attention, how do we get permission to stay in touch with them, to build a relationship with them? Because again, we don't wanna be kind of constantly spamming people or annoying people.

Because we've got a soul and [LAUGH] we don't want to be evil. So we've gotta find a way of making it a mutually beneficial relationship. So how do we get the permission for ongoing contact and how do we maintain and grow our audience over time? And then eventually, when that audience is ready to buy, how do we turn those leads into real projects?

So there's a lot of ground to cover here, but interestingly, and I've looked, there's not much teaching this stuff, right? You just finished a bootcamp. Did it cover anything like this?
>> Not much about finding freelance work. They kind of spoke about contract work and the benefits and things of that, but not how to actually go out.

>> Yeah.
>> Yeah.
>> So a lot of people do turn to contracting simply because they find selling kinda distasteful and horrible, and I can totally understand that. But there is something, there's a huge flexibility that comes with freelancing or running your own agency that's very appealing as well.

But yeah, you need to be able to solve those kinds of sales problems. I mean, you can go online, and you can easily learn the latest Ruby techniques or the latest framework or how to use Figma. There's thousands of courses about that kind of stuff. But about actually winning work, there's not a lot out there.

So that's why I'm doing this is hopefully to bring a bit of peace of mind to people and feel like they're in control of their sales and marketing. So with that in mind, let's look at, well, why are so many of us struggling with this? Why is it such a horrendous thing for many people that causes a lot of stress and a lot of anxiety?

So let's dive in with that.

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