How to get more freelance projects?

over 6 years ago from , UI / UX Designer

What are the best ways to get more freelance projects, or find people that are looking for designers?


  • Anton StenAnton Sten, over 6 years ago

    Hey Kubilay,

    I just wrote the chapter on this for my upcoming book, Mastering Freelance so let me give you the quick version while I still have it fresh in my mind ;)

    • Use your network - If you can get your network to vet for you (through word-of-mouth, LinkedIn, a testimonial on your site or through introductions) this is the most beneficial thing you can get.
    • Join networks where your potential clients hang and provide value - Try to offer free advice and position yourself as someone they can find valuable. That way they’ll reach out to you and you’ve positioned yourself far better.
    • Pay extra attention to recurring clients - The easiest way of not having to get new clients all the time is to keep the ones you’ve already got. Your best clients are the ones you currently have.
    • Play the long game - Things don’t always take off straight away so don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t happen straight away. It's a cliché but hey, it really is a marathon.
    • Sometimes you have to swallow your pride - When you provide true value to clients you’ll be rewarded. Sometimes you’ll just have to start a bit lower down the food chain to be able to show them your true value.
    • Hope that helps - happy to see what others think are important!

    14 points
    • Shina Memud, over 6 years ago

      "Sometimes you have to swallow your pride - When you provide true value to clients you’ll be rewarded. Sometimes you’ll just have to start a bit lower down the food chain to be able to show them your true value."

      I have used and keep using this strategy for many years ... works 100% for me

      2 points
      • Anton StenAnton Sten, over 6 years ago

        Completely agree - my by far biggest client long-term, I was initially hired to just do a couple of buttons for a website. Three years later, I'm doing ongoing product design and strategy work. You never know where projects will take you until you throw yourself out there (and projects that never will take you anywhere, you can quite easily distinguish after a short while.)

        1 point
  • Joe ShoopJoe Shoop, over 6 years ago

    Its all about your network. Maintain friendly relationships with people you work with, and maintain an image of yourself as available for freelance work.

    Even if you don't have time to work on projects yourself - you can always refer them to another freelancer you know. You want people to think of you as a resource they can reach out to when they have a project, and you want them think of you when they are asked "Do you know any freelancers?"

    I haven't bothered with the freelance gig sites or anything where you are bidding relatively anonymously - they all treat design like a commodity, and focus too much on price, which you want to avoid. People (and therefore businesses) would rather work with someone who is expensive but reliable, than work with someone new who is unproven.

    3 points
  • Murat MutluMurat Mutlu, over 6 years ago

    This might help, i've used a couple of these myself


    3 points
  • Femke vsFemke vs, over 6 years ago

    Agree with the other points mentioned, but also think it might be worth considering how you can attract clients, as opposed to chase/find them. My friend and I run a Design Podcast and chat about topics like this all the time. This one might be relevant for your situation: http://designlife.fm/episode13/

    2 points
  • Pino CeniccolaPino Ceniccola, over 6 years ago

    1) Word of mouth is the most powerful way to win clients. When someone says "I know a guy that..." and that guy is you, you win, there's no competition.

    2) You do really great work to those clients and some of them will tell "I know a guy that..." to someone else.

    3) Repeat.

    Now, this is how you get more freelance projects. At some point you will ask, "How do I get better clients?". But that's another question.

    2 points
  • Mike MulveyMike Mulvey, over 6 years ago

    It's a bit of a catch-22 but I've gotten most of my freelance projects through other freelance clients, aka word-of-mouth. I've been working as a web designer for over 16 years and I still have clients from when I started or I've been referred to other people from those original clients.

    If you love what you do and are enthusiastic, people can see that and it might sound silly but you can gain visibility from other people that way.

    Also try as hard as you can to work in place with other enthusiastic people who do what you do. I've been it many situations where my co-workers get offered freelance projects they pass on and they'll offer them to me.

    Now that I'm further along in my career I have less time for freelance projects, so I do the same.

    Hope that helps.

    2 points
  • Andu PotoracAndu Potorac, over 6 years ago

    Join Slack communities for designers.

    1 point
    • Taulant SulkoTaulant Sulko, over 6 years ago

      Can you list any? Asking for a friend.

      0 points
      • Andu PotoracAndu Potorac, over 6 years ago

        I can list all of the ones that you should bother about. In no particular order:

        1. specnetwork.slack.com
        2. startupfoundation.slack.com
        3. techlondon.slack.com
        4. designtalks.slack.com
        5. designdk.slack.com

        He should subscribe to the job / talent / whatever the name is for getting work and mute the others. I recommend he browses all channels as most do share interesting content / knowledge.

        There's a lot of work out there. Only 15% of the design work positions get filled up if I have my numbers right.

        1 point
  • Anton StenAnton Sten, over 6 years ago

    Just wanted to circle back to this topic and say that the book is out now https://antonsten.com/books/masteringfreelance/ and if you scroll to the end of the page there's a free chapter on this precise topic :)

    0 points
  • Michael Ortali, over 6 years ago

    Couple months ago, I launched a platform named CreativeList (www.creativelist.io). It aims to do exactly what you've been asking as it's a search engine specialized for creative professionals (includes designers, and many others). It facilitates how clients find creative talent.

    It's short, but I finally wrote an introduction on Medium: https://medium.com/creativelist/introducing-creativelist-7bcf00fbe337#.9lwojas67 to explain this a bit more.

    0 points
  • Jesse HaffJesse Haff, over 6 years ago

    Networks are everything. In addition to building your own, you can plug into existing ones. For example, if you learn how the NationBuilder platform works (it's pretty straight forward - HTML + CSS), they will basically plug you into their network of customers. http://nationbuilder.com/certified_partners

    0 points