Need to attract more freelance clients? Freelancing is the latest buzzword. Millions of people have flocked to freelance platforms in the last month. With so many people starting side-hustles you have more competition than ever. That can make it hard to stand out.
You might send pitches for jobs you know you can do, spend hours on proposals. But you turn up empty-handed.
It can be really distressing because you don’t know what you’re doing wrong. You’re educated. Your experience fits the role. Clearly you’re qualified. So why won’t clients hire you? There is a reason. Today, let’s take a look at what you can change to attract more clients right now.
Apply with a “YOU Focus”
Go back to the last 10 proposals you sent. Of those 10 proposals, how many have the words “I” or “my” stated before the word “you” is used? If you’re like most freelancers, you probably started every one of them by talking about yourself, your degree, and your experience.
There are two problems with this. First, clients aren’t interested in your credentials, except in certain situations which I’ll describe in a moment. Second, by talking about yourself before the client, your proposal looks the same as every other freelancer who applied to that gig.
Take a look at this screenshot from a recent Upwork job post to see how this looks from a client’s perspective:
All of these proposals start with “me me me.” Unfortunately, applying this way reveals key details about your intent. It tells clients that you care more about yourself and making money than about helping them get the job done right. If you want to stand out from everyone else, you need to make a change.
The change you have to make is called applying with a YOU Focus. Instead of talking about yourself, you focus solely on the client and their needs. Avoid yapping about your credentials and never start a proposal with any form of the word “I” before the word “you.” This change alone can completely transform your results.
Use relevant credibility markers
One of the reasons your degree and work history won’t get you hired is because they usually aren’t relevant. Studying writing doesn’t make you a writer. Working for a marketing agency doesn’t prove you can run Google ads or build a sales funnel.
To get noticed by clients, your credentials have to support your freelance skills. If a client needs a copywriter to increase product sales, they won’t hire you for your psychology degree. Yes, psychology is part of copywriting, but a degree doesn’t prove you know how to write sales copy that sells.
So you need to rethink your approach to credibility. It’s okay to mention qualifications, but you have to show how they support your ability to solve the client’s problem. Listing qualifications isn’t enough to attract more freelance clients or get them to care about you.
It would be better to avoid mentioning credentials at all if you can’t show how they are relevant. A better strategy would be to repeat the client’s own words back to them about what they need. Describe how you will get them the results they want. This is way more likely to get you hired.
Care about helping your clients
Fundamentally, the reason clients don’t hire is that most freelancers haven’t proven that they care about helping the client reach their goals. When you talk about yourself, or when you toss your credentials about, your proposal screams, “I’m in it for me!”
But clients care about themselves.
Your job as a freelancer is to care about them too. Why? Because while everyone wants to help themselves, it’s rare to meet people who deeply care about others. So, when you become someone who cares about others, clients notice.
It can’t be faked, though. To make it work you have to cultivate a willingness and a desire to care about and help clients succeed.
When you finally make this change, the other tips above will fall into place. Once that happens, you’ll meet all of the criteria for the 3 C’s that must be satisfied before clients will go forward with you. The 3 C’s are:
When you’ve proven you’re competent, clients feel confident in you. As their confidence grows, they become comfortable going forward with you. Not surprisingly, they will then interview, and ultimately hire you. Make sense?
What that means is when you get it right, you will send fewer proposals than ever. You will attract more freelance clients because it becomes easy to see your value. When that happens, your freelance business will grow and your life will change.
So apply these tips today, because when you finally make these shifts, you will never struggle to earn clients again.