5 Places to Find Freelance Clients (And Which Produce the Best Results)

5 Places to Find Freelance Clients (And Which Produce the Best Results)

So you’ve come up with a brilliant freelance idea and are ready to get to work. Now comes the hard part: finding clients.

I’m not going to lie – it takes some work to build up your initial clientele. However, if you go about client building it in the right way you can fill up your client roster faster than you think.

When I first started freelancing I tried ALL of the methods. I spent far too much time on useless strategies and made all the mistakes. This is why I feel pretty confident in telling you which avenues to explore and which to skip altogether.

Here are five ways to find freelance clients in order of least effective to most effective.

#5 – UpWork

UpWork - not the best place to find freelance jobs.

UpWork (formerly ODesk) was one of the very first places I tried to find freelance work years ago. I created a profile, bid on gigs, and landed nothing.

If you’re not familiar, UpWork is a site in which business owners can post jobs and hire freelancers. Freelancers have the ability to bid prices on these job postings and the job poster will then browse through the bids and select a freelancer to hire.

As convenient as Upwork seems there’s one huge downfall: it’s usually a race to the bottom. This means the lowest bidder often wins. (And I’m guessing that you’re not into this freelance idea to earn less than minimum wage.)

While there are a few freelancer’s earning good money with UpWork it seems they’re the exception rather than the rule. (<–Name that movie.)

There are much better ways to find good paying, long term freelance clients which is why UpWork is at the bottom of the list!

#4 –Craigslist

Finding freelance jobs on Craigslist.

It might sound funny adding Craigslist to the job search but the truth is you CAN find jobs on Craigslist as long as you’re willing to use common sense and some basic research skills.

One of my first jobs came from Craigslist. It was for an SEO agency. I had the pleasure of writing the same 200 word description of a business in as many ways as humanly possible so that it could be posted in directories.

It wasn’t glamorous work but it was a job that I was happy to take. Maybe you’re in the same boat?

If so, the key to finding Craigslist work is to look under major cities – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, etc.

You also need to be wary of scams – because trust me, there are plenty. (And yes, I know this from experience!)

  • If the job listing sounds too good to be true, then it is.
  • If the job listing looks spammy, it’s spammy.
  • If the job says there’s a trial period DO NOT APPLY – they’re going to take your trial period work for free and never pay you.
  • Use common sense and research skills to make sure the opportunity you’re applying to is legit.

When you apply for the job make sure you read the ad thoroughly and follow the instructions. If you don’t your email will be deleted.

#3 – Job Boards

If you’re new to the freelancing scene I’ve got good and bad news when it comes to job boards. Let’s start with the good news: there are job boards for almost every freelance skill one could think of. The bad? Competition on job boards is fierce.

Even though job board competition is high I don’t think you need to rule these tools out altogether. In fact, if you have your targeting down (meaning you know who is most likely to hire you) getting jobs from these boards is a good possibility.

Here are some job boards you can check out:

ProBlogger Job Board (Writing/Marketing) – This job board features a lot of writing and social media management jobs. This is by far my favorite job board.

Freelance Writing Gigs (All Types of Writing) – As it sounds this site is dedicated to writing jobs of all types. On this site they scour the web and compose a list of the day’s writing jobs broken down into categories such as blogging, copywriting, editing, etc.

Krop (Graphic Design)– This has site has many graphic design job postings although not all are freelance so you’ll have to weed through them.

Working Nomads (Just About Everything) – This is a curation site with freelance jobs in almost every area you can think of – writing, marketing, web development, design, etc.

WP Hired (Everything WordPress) – This includes a lot of WordPress development with some odds and ends thrown in.

When it comes to actually getting hired from job boards the key is to 1) only apply to jobs in which you are a good fit and are qualified for and 2) follow the instructions on the job posting.

Many job postings will ask that you put a certain phrase in the subject line of your email so they know you thoroughly read the posting.

I recommend you find a couple job boards that suit your skillset and spend ten minutes a day looking at them to see if there are any new jobs that suit you.

#2 – Referrals From People You Already Know

Getting a referral is one of THE BEST ways to land a freelance job. Business owners want to hire people they can trust to get the job done. When someone is vouching for you it goes a long way.

Let friends and family know what kind of work you’re doing. They may know someone who is looking for exactly the type of service you’re offering. It’s also possible that they may not. Either way, the more you get your name out the faster you’ll find clients.

Ready to build up your client list? Here are five places to find freelance clients in order of effectiveness. Build up the clientele you want in two months or less using these strategies.

#1 -Cold Pitching

We’re finally down the most effective method: cold pitching!

Cold pitching involves looking for business owners you think would be a good fit for your service and emailing them to introduce yourself.

If you’ve done a good job at narrowing down the type of business that could most benefit from your service then cold pitching is really, really effective.

Here’s an example of an email I might send out:

Hello {Insert Name},

I hope you’re doing well!

I saw that you have multiple writers on your blog and I wanted to introduce myself in case you’re ever in need of another writer.

I have been blogging for 5+ years and freelance writing for small business websites and blogs for over 3 years. You can check out some of the places I’ve been featured here https://singlemomsincome.com/hire-me/

 If there’s ever anything I can do for you just let me know.

Have a wonderful week!



(I’d also add relevant experience to this email. For example, if I was pitching an insurance company I’d let them know that I was a licensed insurance agent. If I was pitching a personal finance company or blog I’d mention some of the more popular blogs in that niche I’ve written for. You need to mention any relevant experience to whomever you’re pitching.)

So then comes the question of how to find the business owners to send the emails to. There are a few different strategies and it depends on what type of service you’re offering. One of my main methods is a Google search.  (Fancy, I know.)

If you have your targeting down it’s not hard to find companies to cold pitch. And while this method might feel awkward at first I promise you, it is hands down, the most effective way to find freelance jobs.

(If you’re not getting any responses then you need to rethink your targeting. Also, important to note that you’ll likely get really good at this method with practice.)

Combine a Couple Strategies for Maximum Effectiveness

I highly recommend that you center your freelance search on cold pitching. Make a goal to send out 10 emails per day until you have your clientele built up to where you want it to be. Spend an additional 15 minutes per day browsing Craigslist and job boards.

If you do this faithfully you should be able to build up a solid client base in two months or less.

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