Finding clients as a Freelance Web Developer can be difficult when you first start out. Picking up your first few jobs are usually the hardest, here are some of the ways I acquired my first few jobs which got me up and running.
Finding Clients With Outdated Designed Websites
One of the easiest ways to attract new clients is to find websites which are outdated in terms of design.
The way I usually approach this is by searching by industry for e.g I will go to Google and search 'Restaurants in X Location' using the location which is local to your business.
I will then run through each restaurant and view their website. If the website is poorly designed or looks like it hasn't been updated in a few years I will make a note of the restaurant's e-mail and phone number.
Sometimes it can be easy than others to determine whether a website has been freshened up recently, especially if in the footer the copyright date hasn't been changed from 2 years+ previous.
I will follow the same approach for the remaining restaurants and then move on to the next industry i.e Lawyers
Once you've collated a group of contacts you can then either send an E-mail out or contact them directly via phone.
One tip if contacting the client via E-mail is highlight three areas of improvement you could make to their existing website.
I've met up with clients following these E-mails and the one thing they always say is suggesting improvements to their site made me stand out from the rest of the generic sales E-mails they receive.
Reddit /ForHire Channel
The second approach is via Reddit's ForHire channel.
This often has a fair amount of web development jobs available and I've gained connections with people from all over the world via this channel.
I usually check the channel every 2/3 hours and filter to the newest posts so I can keep track of the latest jobs.
If a job interests me I will directly contact them via chat.
Some of the rates can be lower, but I've found this quite a good avenue to pick up smaller jobs which may only require a few hours of work.
My third avenue for picking up Web Development work is the freelancing website Upwork. Upwork is a platform for freelancers from a wide range of industries to hire and pitch for work.
I initially tried out Freelancer, which is a competitor to Upwork - However from my own personal experience I felt Upwork was a better platform.
It can be quite difficult to get your first job as there can be sometimes 40-50 people applying for the same job.
If you're new to the site you won't have a rating for clients to go off, so you're better off applying for roles which only 5-10 freelancers have applied for.
In my opinion the best approach is applying for low paid jobs with less competition to begin with, and then once you've built up your rating you can start applying for higher paid tasks.
Once you've found a job that is realistic to apply for the key to beating the competition is your proposal.
It's important to put the client's needs first and not focus on yourself too much. The client will be receiving countless proposals, and most of them will probably start with 'I'.
If you can try and keep the majority of the proposal related to the client's needs then you'll already be ahead of most of other freelancers applying.
One resource which helped me was this video by Josh Burns.
In conclusion there many avenues to getting work, but here are three that helped me starting out.
The most important thing is not to get discouraged if you haven't received a job in your first couple of months.
If you keep pitching and improving your proposals each time you will start landing work soon enough.