Identifying Potential Clients

The most important part of any freelance business is your clients, without them you can’t make any money. A lot of my energy (perhaps most of it) goes into finding new clients and trying to get my work in front of them. Finding clients is easier said than done, there’s no website (if there is please let me know!) where you can type in the kind of work you do and get a list of companies that might hire you. No, discovering potential clients will take some sleuthing!

Scope Out Your Competition

Your fist step should be to look at people who are doing the same type of work as you want to be doing and see who hires them. Between blogs and people’s portfolio sites you should be able to get a pretty good idea of the kind of companies that might hire you.

Your Client’s Competitors

Chances are if one company requires your services then their competitors will as well. Search keywords regarding the products they offer and see what other companies come up. Check business listings and see the top companies in their field.

Follow the Crowd

Look for places where companies and people who need your services gather. Professional associations, trade shows, and trade organizations are great places to find less prominent companies you might not find so easily. One of my favorite places to look is award winners – not only do you get a list of similar businesses but you also know they are great at what they do and push the boundaries.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Get used to always be on the look out for potential clients. It might be a magazine you come across in a lobby or someone you meet at a party that will fit your target market. Get the company name and a contact if possible, I’m constantly snapping phone pics of magazine mastheads.

Do you have a unique way for identifying potential clients? Please share it in the comments.

Illustration by  HikingArtist, photo by karindalziel