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abigailhester in a_graphicdesign

Ways to get more freelance work!

Word of mouth is the go

  • Enlist your family and friends to spread the word about your services
  • Send out an email to everyone in your address book, announcing what you do, where you are and what you can offer
  • Ask your satisfied clients for referrals
  • Offer free consultations to new referrals
  • Consider a referral or finders fee

Love those clients

  • Get in touch with past and current clients when you have a new service to offer them
  • Get in touch with past and current clients when you have completed a flagship project
  • Start a newsletter
  • Take advantage of every outgoing email by using your email signature as a marketing tool
    • Send promotions for services with your invoices
    • Ask your clients to place a credit on your work in web, video or print
    • Make a calendar featuring your work for clients to put up in their offices to serve as a constant reminder
    • Make a poster for your client to hang up on their office wall
    Talk the talk
    • Go to industry events - conferences, association meetings, seminars
    • Go to events in your client’s industry
    • Sponsor a client event
    • Join your local Chamber of Commerce and get involved
    • Socialize and always have your card ready
    • Do some pro-bono work for a charitable organization with industry links
    • Get involved in social groups you’re connected to (church, school, university)
    • Join an industry organization and get listed
    • Contact people you used to work with and ask them to send you any run-off work they might have
    • Offer to give a seminar to a local business group
    • Practice an elevator speech about what you do and have it ready to go wherever you are
    • Participate on online forums (using the forum signature line)
    • Comment on blogs to draw people back to your freelance site


    Promote Yourself

    • Get car signage
    • Get t-shirts made with your URL
    • Try location based Google Adwords
    • Advertise in a niche magazine or trade publication e.g. a magazine just for cafes
    • List yourself in business directories or the Yellow Pages
    • Research sites your clients are visiting and buy advertising there
    • Advertise in online directories
    • Take out an ad out in a local newspaper
    • Participate in a trade show
    • Holidays are your friend! Send a clever holiday greeting to clients showing your work
    • Promote a free first consulation service
    • Have a gimmick that makes you stand out
    • Give something away for free
    • Place an advert in an industry newsletter
    • Offer branded pens and paper at industry events

    Be an industry expert

    • Pitch an article to an industry publication
    • Pitch a story to a blog or resource website
    • Offer to speak at industry and networking events
    • Start a blog and publicize it
    • Submit tutorials or how-to’s to websites
    • Get on the radio
    • Write an eBook or Report for your target market and promote it online
    • Enter your work into competitions and awards… and win :)

    Use the media

    • Issue a press release about a story related to your services and try and get it into a local newspaper or magazine
    • Pull a publicity friendly stunt (think Richard Branson)
    • Run a contest which ties into your services

    Job Boards


    Brrr – it’s cold in here!

    • Find out how you could improve a companies business and profits and cold call them with your pitch
    • Mail promo postcards to potential clients
    • Mail fun promotional items to potential clients (calendars, toys, posters etc)

    Help leads find you

    Get in bed with local business

    • Contact your local internet service provider or printing house and offer them a commission if they refer work
    • Establish contacts in larger agencies that can refer their run-off work
    • Keep in touch with freelancers that will offer clients a complementary service to yours and throw each other work
    • Create a local business directory and use it to get to know other business owners who might later need your services
    • Cross promote with other businesses
    • Ask if you can put your business cards or brochure in local stores
    • Rent officespace shared with other businesses or freelancers

    Industry Specific Ideas

    And here are some ideas that are tailored to certain industries…


    • Enter your work into a gallery or run an exhibition
    • Submit some work to stock agencies to attract attention
    • Do a new series of work so you have a reason to show your portfolio to an old contact
    • Send in your photography work to industry magazines to make a name for yourself
    • Start an online photojournal
    • Photograph an event or series and pitch it to a newspaper or magazine
    • Get an Agent

    Programmers & Developers

    • Pitch your self as a developer who understands web designers, because most of them need a developer
    • Write a small web app like ta-da list or jobpile and get some recognition
    • Answer tech questions on forums and use a signature that says you offer freelance coding services
    • Enter a programming contest like RailsDay
    • Contribute to open source efforts and get known


    • Start a comic strip blog - e.g. gapingvoid.com
    • Make characters and create merchandise based on them - figurines, badges, tshirts etc
    • Enter some competitons to get your illustrations in some famous places - snowboards, posters
    • Create an awesome animation that wins you fame like Laith Bahrani
    • Do stock illustrations for a site like istockphoto and have a portfolio site offering custom ones
    • Write to big blogs and offer to do a cartoon strip (k10k)
    • Send in your illustration work to magazines like computerarts.co.uk
    • Create a promo Reel of animations or illlustrations and send it around/get it publicised
    • Send your illustrations to gift card publishers

    Writers, Bloggers, Journalists

    • Pitch yourself at ad, design and web design agencies as a copywriter
    • Find some photos on iStockPhoto and write some great ad headlines for each and make a mailer out of it
    • Submit articles to article banks for sale
    • Write opinionated, witty pieces and get them publicised on Digg with a blurb at the bottom about your services
    • Pitch article ideas to editors, online and off
    • Write a book and publish it with lulu.com


    • Submit work to design compilation books and magazines
    • Get your portfolio/profile listed on a site like Coroflot
    • Design a great website and submit it to design galleries like CSSMania.com
    • Build a great portfolio and submit it to design portals like DesignIsKinky.com
    • Start a magazine, design portal or blog

    So there you have it, lots of ideas! Do you know of any more? Add them in the comments and i'll add them to the list…


September 2008

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