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Wes Bos

Wes Bos

XL5G3 Full Stack JavaScript Developer. Creator of really good web development courses. BBQ enthusiast.

Scott Tolinski

Scott Tolinski

Web Developer, NX2V1, Creator of Level Up Tuts, Bboy, Robotops Crew and Youtuber

Playing: 128: How To Find Freelance Clients



Mar 20th, 2019

How To Find Freelance Clients

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In this episode Wes and Scott talk about how to find freelance clients — tangible things you can do to position yourself and set yourself up for success.

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Show Notes

1:27 - Question from Andreas Trattner: I am a backend developer with 4+ years experience working on large systems in Europe and am considering moving toward freelancing/contracting. However, I find it difficult to discover quality opportunities. Any tips you can share on how to strategically get projects?

  • There isn't a secret trove of work, and there's no one way to do it.

4:50 - Relationships

  • Trust and relationships rule all. The best paying gigs are never advertised.
  • Who should you know?
    • Other developers
      • How? Meetups, Conferences, Twitter, Slack rooms, Friends
      • Tip: Volunteering is a great way to get in to conferences, plus you often get to know people
      • Tip: If you are friends of a friend who gets a lot of work, as for a introduction
    • Designers and marketers
      • You usually work together
      • How? Twitter, Email, Dribbble, Instagram
    • Project managers
      • How? Cold emails, tweets
    • Office managers
      • Life blood of the office - they know everyone
      • Often move into other roles
      • How? Meetups, previous employees
    • Entrepreneurs
      • Lots of connections, often switching gears
      • How? Demo camps, Facebook marketing groups
    • Venture capitalists
      • Have dozens of companies and tons of connections
      • How? Demo camps, introductions, cold email

19:08 - Display of expertise

  • It certainly is an option to just be really freaking good at what you do
  • Speaking at conferences and local meetups
  • Working on open source
    • Helping in chat rooms
    • Posting guides
    • Maintaining docs
  • Offering reviews / Make things public
  • Start a podcast
  • Blogging
  • Volunteering

9:22 - Visibility

  • You need to let everyone know what you do. Your mom's uncle's friend's cousin on Facebook might casually ask for recommendations.
  • Instagram / Photos. Showing people what you are doing and what you are working on will make a mental note in their head that you do that type of work.
  • Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
  • Blogging
    • This makes the "vetting" process much easier
  • Tweeting
  • YouTube videos
  • Slack channels you are involved in

38:02 - Other tactics

  • SEO - Locality (Toronto designer), specific technologies (Redux contractor)
  • Craigslist
    • This one sucks, but it can lead to decent work occasionally
    • You need to be more vigilant in screening, most clients will suck
  • Cold asks - Just ask people what works well
    • "Hey, I'm looking to book a few contracts starting June 2019. I love working with __ and you can see my work here"
  • Put a phone number on your website. Seriously.
  • UpWork
    • Won't make as much money here because of competition
  • Local business listings
    • Find online and offline biz listings
    • Old fashioned — putting your card on bulletin boards

47:29 - Maintaining Relationships

  • Check in every few months with non-biz related contact
    • But also just straight up ask for work
  • Christmas / Thank-you gifts


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