How Do I Get Clients? 9 Tips For Finding Freelance Writing Clients

How do I get clients? Readers who ask me this advice are either at the very beginning of setting up their freelance writing business, or are mid-career freelance writers who need an income boost.

The following list is my personal go-to for getting more clients--these are the exact things that I do when I need to fill out my freelance writing work time. 

Now, you can start with some of these suggestions and links, but as you go forward in your career, be sure to take note of what works best for you, and adjust your processes accordingly. Not all these tips will work for all freelancers, and not all freelancers will have the same level of success.

Check the Freelance Writing Job Lists

How to get more clients.
How to get more clients for your freelance writing business. erhui1979 / Getty Images

Although the writing job boards are packed with so-so jobs and hundred of applicants, they are still a decent place to go to gauge what's in demand, what services are needed, and who is hiring. Although some experts avoid the job boards (or, simply don't need to go looking for work that much anyway), others have developed their own set of go-to places- especially when it comes to niches.Sure, Craigslist might be a place to avoid (unless you're very new in your career and can write a very convincing cover letter), but I've found some incredible clients via boards that are in my niche, have a very smaller contingent of users and are run by professional organizations.

More resources on getting clients via job boards:


Ask for Referrals from Past Clients

Since the question of "How do I get clients?" often comes from freelancers who are not brand new, but just a little new, I know they've got past clients. One of the smart things to do after you finish up with a customer is to ask for a referral. I often have this line item as one of my common follow-up questions on my "debrief" document (my client questionnaire, which you can access here).

Develop a Niche

Developing a niche was one of the smartest things I've ever done. In the beginnings of my career, I did debate the whole niche thing. But developing a niche doesn't necessarily preclude you from taking other work on. In addition, like I said above regarding job lists, it certainly narrows the pool somewhat.

More resources on developing a niche:

Consider Bid Sites

Uh oh! A controversial one! I like to nip this controversy entirely by telling people that my third or fourth client was from a job bid site, and they ended up paying me around $80/hour for a series of projects. There are ways to make these sites work for you.

Go Local! Or, GO International!

Have you thought beyond your typical clientele? Think about finding new clients locally, or working for international customers.

Should You Consider Content Production Work?

Depends on what you mean. I used to work with as a freelance blogger for a university site, and this kind of content production pays quite well. However, when we say content work, we may also be referring to content mill work. And the answer (follow the link) is sometimes, but not always "don't bother." Along these same lines is the prospect of producing work just for residual writing income. Think about these carefully.

Think Creatively

This work doesn't necessarily have to be all business and no creativity. There are plenty of (paid) creative markets out there. All you have to do is find them! Perhaps a switch to the more creative side is just the boost your career (and your prose) needs. 

Active Marketing

Of course, sensible, vigorous, and well-planned marketing will more often than not win the day.We break marketing down into two categories: the kind where you go to the client (active), and the kind where the client comes to you (passive). Here is some info on some of the best ways to actively market:


Passive Marketing

The number one thing I think of when I talk about passive marketing is your writer website. You're marketing, but it's not, well, YOU. It talks about you, shows off your best work, and might even have a picture or two of you- but the whole time this is happening, you're doing other things and making a buck. Good.

Of course, in addition to the website, the same goes for your social media presence and profiles, which serve the same purpose.