How do you find clients for your freelance business?

How do you find clients for your creative business?

It’s that age-old problem that people in any industry ask, “How the hell do I find clients?”.

But for creatives, it feels a little bit more convoluted, complex and possibly a little bit more daunting!

You don’t need to find all of the clients at once!

This is a really important thing- if you want to find clients and if you’re starting out in your business, you just need to find one client. YES – just one, that’s all you need!

You don’t need to find a hundred clients at once. You need to find one, and then from one builds to two to four to five and so on. That’s how it works!  That’s how I built my business six years ago when I started Bespoke Backdrops and Branding.

I had one client from a referral. I asked someone about whether my business model of doing backdrops was a good idea. So I asked the one person who was already in that space doing videos. I asked them and they said, “I think it’s a great idea, Emma, in fact, I have a potential client for you.”

I had one client and then a month later, I had a second client! And I think I had one client a month for the first six months. That was all I needed to start my business. 

So I’ve got five points for you to find clients.

FIRST: Start where you’re at

You need only one client! You don’t need a hundred clients nor need the clients over there. I promise you there are clients close by to you. So think about your network. Think about where you are and who you know already. Are there any low-hanging fruits? Such as people you forgot to follow up with, past clients who might be interested in your new offerings, friends with communities who might need your expertise….you’ll be surprised how many potential clients or customers you have hidden in plain sight!

second: belief systems

Go back to the beginning – you have to believe that you can find clients. You have to reprogram your mind against those stories and old belief patterns that you’ve told yourself or influenced by others.

For example:

     🤷 “It’s really hard to find clients.”

     🤷 “You can’t sell your art – there’s no money in that.”

     🤷 “You need a really big slice of the market to be a viable business.”

You need to identify those falsehoods and then write them down. Once you expose them, notice them and truly think logically, you’ll realize how ridiculous they are because people do make money from art. People do find clients and make a good living out of their art and creativity – and I’m one of these people!

third: know your niche

Define what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to.

You can’t be all things to all people. You can’t be all things to all people. If you’re just starting out, find that one client. Sell to whomever comes your way.

It might turn out that that one client is not your ideal client going forwards, but at least you’ve had that one client. From that experience, and the other clients who come your way, no matter how few or how many, you can start finding patterns and commonalities. Your niche will start to reveal itself. And don’t forget, for visual artists, your aesthetic style will automatically help you find your niche.

fourth: stop working for free

Stop thinking that free is going to lead to paid work. Many creatives are tempted by people saying, “If you could do this for me for free it will lead to paid work” or “You’ll have eyeballs on your business and you’ll definitely get some clients.”

I would say 98% of the time that that doesn’t happen unless you’re really strategic about it. But generally, free work does not guarantee you to lead to paid work. So be careful! I have another blog that addresses this exact topic.

fifth: the long game

Don’t forget that finding clients is a long game. Yes, we need to put food on the table and pay our bills now, so find the clients that are near you. The low hanging fruit.

But it is a long game. You don’t reap the harvest from the seeds you sow today. You have to sow the seeds. Then they blossom and grow. They will eventually turn into clients.

So just carry on doing your promoting, networking, being visible, showing your artwork, products and services. Because you never know who’s watching.

With this whole age of social media, you might think that the only people watching are the ones that like to comment, engage, and share. We are told to believe that that’s the only way to be successful on social media.

But I promise you – there are people watching you right now, who aren’t ready to be clients just yet. They’re watching you. They’re seeing your stuff and then down the line, they will contact you and they will buy from you. They might not be commenting, engaging or liking posts….but they are watching and paying attention.

I’ve had so many clients whom I’ve never heard of before becoming clients. They’ve never liked a post, they’ve never signed up to an email. And then all of a sudden, they show up!

They book in with me and within 24 hours they’ve paid because they have been watching. I sowed the seeds… years ago… months ago. And then my efforts bore fruit and they were ready to become my clients.

So, I hope that’s given you some useful insights and ideas about where to find clients, and how to keep motivated when things seem a bit slow. Grab my free resource below: 3 Things Every Creative Business Needs and start improving your business today.