As a developer, it's important to constantly keep learning. Based on my own experiences, I dare to say that freelancing is a great way to do that - you get to meet new people, see other industries but also get to decide which architectural and technological solutions to use. Basically, you're the salesman, project manager, architect and developer all at the same time.
One of the hardest parts about freelancing is finding clients. Because of that, I'd like to share with you the 5 tricks I use/follow to find freelance projects.
1. Have a portfolio
I guess it's obvious but really crucial. If you want to find real clients, it's important to have some kind of portfolio site where you can explain who you are and demonstrate your skills.
Your page should at least contain some info about yourself, projects you've built before(whether for clients or for yourself) and a contact form.
2. Spread the info amongst your friends, family and social network
Freelancing has a lot to do with marketing. If you've built your portfolio, let everyone around you know about your intentions. I've gotten tens of projects in the past just because my friend's friend's mom's relative needs a website.
3. Join your local freelancer groups in Facebook
I've found that joining smaller freelancing groups is a great way to find collaborations or projects. Also, if you've just finished your portfolio, definitely share it within those groups. Even if you won't land a project, you make yourself known.
4. Hunt for potential clients in Google
One of my favourite ways of finding clients is by simply reaching out to the potential ones through Google.
For that, I choose a keyword/industry(let's say real estate), go through the results in Google and whenever I find a poor website, make a list of possible improvements.
The final step is to craft a nice letter to the owner of the website, letting them know what I think and offer a solution. On rare occasions, I've also made a new design mock-up to illustrate my thoughts.
This is a time-consuming, but effective way of finding clients.
5. Join pages like Fiverr and Upwork
To be completely honest, I'm not a fan of popular freelancing sites as it requires working for low pay, especially in the beginning. There are tens of thousands of people you're competing with. That said, if you do succeed, it's a great source of new projects.
My recommendation would be to leave big freelancing pages as the last option.
Learn Search engine optimization and Google Ads.
In the past, I've experienced multiple times that my client hires an external agency to do SEO and in the end, also order future technical solutions from them. That changed when I also started to offer the service myself.
If you are freelancing as a developer, I strongly recommend you to learn the basics of SEO and Google Ads. Not only does it bring in extra money, but also helps you to keep your client to you(because their website is performing). The basic SEO is not hard but provides lots of value.
I hope you find my tips useful. Also, please leave comments with your tips and feedback so we could all learn.
And last but not least, you can also read my article about freelancing bigger projects