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How to Find Your First 3 Clients:

A Freelancer’s Guide

By AntonioPublished 2 years ago 7 min read

Reread the title…

Why does it say, “how to find your first three clients.”

Why it’s not saying “how to find your first client.”

Why 3?

If you can convince three different people to pay you real money for your services, it means you’re good at selling, and your service is valuable.

Anyone can convince ONE person — but you need three paying clients to start a successful freelance career.

It’s been six years since I first stepped foot in freelancing. And one of the most common questions that hit a newbie’s mind is: “Where do I find my clients?”

It’s tough to get clients in this crowded marketplace.


In this article, you’ll find seven different methods to find your first three clients. I’ve used these techniques and got some good results. I hope these will work for you!

Let’s dive in…

1. Start With Your Friends and Colleagues

Natalia Real got her first client through a coworker of her mother’s.

Alison Monday’s first client was her friend who needed a website.

The point?

Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends. When you’re starting your career, your close and immediate connections are the first ones to look :)

Start with your family, friends, and office colleagues. And let them know you’re starting a freelance business in a particular niche. Ask them if they know someone who needs your service and introduces you to them.

They would love to help you in building your portfolio. They act as your most powerful agents.

You can send them a short and specific email. Something like this:

Hey [Name],


As you may know, I just started a freelance [content writing/website design] business. Check out my portfolio here: [Your Portfolio Web Page]

I’m looking to get some clients and build my portfolio strong. Do you know someone that might need a [content writer/web designer]? Perhaps a friend or colleague who started up a new business?

If so, I’d love if you could put me in touch with them.


[Your Name]

BONUS TIP: You can offer them a “reward fee” if their lead makes you a gig.

2. Start For Free

So before I “officially” started my freelance career. I got a message from a businesswoman. She checked out some of my recent posts and wanted me to write a piece of content for her.

I wrote the content, and she liked it. She appreciated my work and writing style. And then she asked me the price of that piece of content.

I said, “I won’t charge you for this. Your appreciation is my fee. I’m glad that my work could help you. But if you know someone in your network who needs content creation services, you can refer me to them.”

After some days, she came up with some good projects and referred me to two more clients.

The debate is endless on “doing work for free, or you must charge for your work.” As Joker says, “If you’re good at something, never do it for Free.”

But if you’re starting out and you still have a day job, you can do one-two small projects for free on the side.

Ask the client if they’re pleased with your work, you’re more than happy to work with them again (tell them your standard rate). You can also ask for a testimonial and place it on your webpage.

3. Reach Out to Local Businesses

Now it’s time to step outside and look at businesses in your city. You have a lot of opportunities out there, including restaurants, coffee shops, dentists, schools, interior designers, coaching institutes, lawyers, accountants, and small IT businesses.

Two years back, one of my friends took me to a reputed coaching institute in the city. He wanted to join that coaching and prepare for higher studies. So we went there, and he started asking questions about the course, etc.

Once he was done, some questions clicked in my mind, and I started asking the head of the institute. I asked questions like, “How’s your admission growth?” “Have you experienced any struggled with content or Google marketing?” “How many new admissions do your website or social media get you each month?”

I listened and discovered their challenges. Finally, the coaching head was open to share and asked me to suggest something.

And I proposed a few solutions to him related to content, SEO, and social media. And then we left (The head asked my number before we left).

And after two days, I got a call from him, and he asked me to handle their website, content, and social media.

The point?

There are so many small vendors who are eager for more business. Go to these vendors, buy something, and start a conversation with them. Ask questions about their business and products/services.

And let them know who you are and how you can help them achieve a specific goal.

4. Remote Opportunities

We live in the digital world. And you can connect to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. No matter if you’re living in a small town or you’re a neighbor of SRK. :D

Are you done with local businesses?

What about the other side of the world?

Endless opportunities are waiting for you out there.

“Pawan, but there’s a crazy competition, and what if somebody willing to do the same work cheaper than me?”

You’re right!

But don’t let these things discourage you. It’s always worth trying.

Research and find some small/medium businesses in other countries. Go through their website, blog, social media, and app. Talk to them and propose some solutions based on your expertise.

And one day, you’ll sign a client in the global market. :)

5. Use the Power of LinkedIn

“Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and, when done correctly, can yield great results for years to come.” — Diane Helbig

LinkedIn has changed the definition of Networking. Now you can connect with the right people and clients while you’re sitting on your sofa.

My LinkedIn profile has been the single biggest contributor to my success. LinkedIn helped me become an average full-time worker to a known voice in the digital marketing field.

LinkedIn helped me get high-paying work opportunities, and I met amazing people here.

Connect with business owners, entrepreneurs, fellow freelancers, etc.

But you have to focus on two MAIN things:

Build a client-focused profile.

And be active on LinkedIn (Every day!)

No shortcuts! Sorry.

Bottom line: If you’re not using the power of LinkedIn to find clients, you’re leaving money on the table!

6. Attend Conferences and Meetups

The best thing about networking is.

You can start it RIGHT NOW!

Find a local event or meetup in your area, register, and go there. Meet people.

When I attended my first conference, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have any business cards or anything to talk about (I didn’t even wear a suit).

I just went there, listened to the speakers, and observed the people (and had some snacks!)

And I started attending at least two or three events/meetups in a month. And I figured out how to make the most of these conferences.

When I attend an event, I walk away with at least one client!

If you’re a professional writer, attend a local content marketing or writing meetup. Networking with professionals in your industry and building connections with them.

How to get started?

Go to and search for an event in your city. allows you to see the attendees who’re going to the event. Do a little search about the attendees — Who are they, and what do they do?

Find out who’s hosting the meetup and check their profile.

Go to the event and talk to business owners. Ask questions and listen. And then figure out how your skills can help them. Offer some value.

And if you don’t find any client in your first or second attempts. Don’t think that events are a waste of time.

Networking helps you build an audience base and a community of people who know you and your work. And soon you’ll see the results!

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