Networking for Newbies: Four Ways to Start Finding Clients

Networking How-To

It’s the question every new freelancer asks, “How do I find clients?” And with the technology of today, the answer to the question isn’t too complex. The steps are simple, but they take work. Your success depends on you and the work that you put in. Clients aren’t going to fall into your lap; sadly, it doesn’t usually happen like that. Let’s dive into 4 ways to get started finding your clients!

Networking Facebook Groups

In a world where social media tends to be the center of the universe, why not use it to your advantage? Facebook is your friend when it comes to networking; especially Facebook groups.

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook as a way for people to openly share information. So, here you are, with a skill set that you’re ready to use – go share it with the world. As the platform has started focusing on Facebook groups, it’s a great time to start connecting with clients and finding great resources to help you on your freelancing journey.

First thing’s first with Facebook: create a professional page. As a professional, you don’t want your potential clients seeing your Facebook full of Snapchat filters, rants, and silly posts. While it’s important for clients to get to know you and your personality, a professional page gives you the opportunity to really hone in on your skillset.

Okay, you’ve created your business profile. You’ve got the links set up to your websites, some examples of your work, and either your professional headshot or your business’s logo as your profile pictures. Get to networking!   Also, you don’t have to set up a business profile if you’re not quite ready. But, if you choose to only use your personal profile, make sure the pictures that are publicly shared are tasteful! 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Networking on Facebook Groups.

Think of Facebook groups as a much more user-friendly version of LinkedIn. Connecting with others via Facebook groups might be exactly what your business needs to take off, but there are some do’s and don’ts to consider.

The number one rule to remember about Facebook networking is the 80/20 rule. What this means is that 80 percent of your Facebook networking should be contributing to others’ best interests, being a part of conversations, sharing resources, and educating and informing other like-minded people that you may want as your followers or clients. 20 percent of your focus should be on promoting your business.

Do participate in Facebook groups that you’re wanting to promote your business in.

Do help others by sharing resources, answering questions, and providing information to others in the group.

Do show up consistently. Remember you’re building your network through these Facebook groups.

Don’t “ghost” your Facebook groups after you’ve promoted your business. You want to be looked at as reliable and authentic.

Don’t spam Facebook groups and their members with your business advertising.

Don’t jump on posts that are looking for advice and immediately promote your business.

Don’t direct message people with unsolicited information.  Gross.

These Facebook groups are your ticket to building your tribe; your network of others that can help your business grow. You’ll find great resources and sometimes some great job opportunities. Facebook has some great groups to find jobs, too.

Job-Related Facebook Groups

Look into Facebook groups with a focus on what your business is about, whether you’re a copywriter, a virtual assistant, an online business manager, etc.  

The search tool within Facebook is there to help you. Google, too. If you type “Freelance Jobs Facebook Group” into Google, tons of different options come up. The same thing goes for most remote fields. Look through these, do your research, and start choosing which groups you want to join.

Once you’ve joined these groups, use the Facebook search bar to your advantage. I see it all the time, people posting in Facebook groups asking where people are finding their clients. Use the search bar to find those posts. See what people are saying, what potential clients are looking for; use your resources – they are already out there waiting for you to do the work to find them.

Make sure you have your Facebook alerts turned on for these job-related groups.  Check your notifications.  It’s so easy to skim through and not pay attention to alerts that could be your next big job opportunity.

Stay involved in the job-related Facebook groups, monitor them regularly; a great job opportunity could pop up at any time. Give yourself half an hour twice a day, or an hour once a day to go through these Facebook groups and look for your next client.

You don’t know until you try, so keep trying.

Maybe looking for clients isn’t something you feel like you’re ready for. Maybe the time you spend looking for clients is overwhelming and you still don’t feel like you’re looking in the right spots. No worries, there are options for you, too. This is where agencies come in.

Work with an Agency

Agencies can be a great resource for you if you feel like looking for clients is taking your focus away from your work. Agencies supply the clients for you, but also take a cut of your income for finding those clients. Two of my favorite agencies are Boldly (formerly Worldwide 101), and  Instant Teams. These are examples of great agencies to look into.

If letting an agency take over finding your clients for your virtual assistant business seems to be more up your alley, do your research. There are many, many, agencies out there, make sure the agency you choose is legitimate. I have a client who almost started working for an “agency” that seemed legitimate when she first spoke to them. The agency promised to get her signed for an exclusive freelancing website that was only available to agencies; to look over any and all contracts and handle payroll for her. As an agency, they told her they would take twenty-five percent of her earnings. 

The agency left out a few details.  She would be responsible for finding her clients, would not be allowed to apply for more than a specific amount of jobs per month, and that the freelancing website would be charging her twenty percent of her earnings as well. The website itself was open to all freelancers, not just agency workers.

Sometimes, things that seem too good to be true, are. Be your own advocate; research the agency you’re interested in, ask questions, make sure the agency is looking out for your best interest. Find an agency that supports your goals and lets you focus on delivering the services and skills you’ve promised your clients. Agencies are wonderful for helping you find clients; but how did people network before the internet existed?

In-Person Networking

Although it may seem like it, promoting your business in the physical world is not dead.

There are so many hiring events out there, do your research, and go to these events. Go to conferences in your area. There’s no better way to build relationships than going out and letting people get to know you. Grab your favorite blazer, your portfolio, and go show off your skills. Get your name out there.

Impressions are so important and meeting someone face-to-face can leave lasting impressions on potential clients. These in-person opportunities are another great way to build your network and support system. It’s something as simple as meeting someone who knows someone looking for your skillset.

Send thank-you emails or handwritten notes to people you’ve interacted and interviewed with. These small details make lasting impacts on clients. That one note could be what made your client choose you over another individual.

Finding clients takes work.

The perfect opportunity is out there, but I promise, it’s not going to fall into your lap. Persistence is your key to building your business.

These four tips are just the beginning of building your network, boosting your business, and finding the right clients. If you put in the work, you won’t be disappointed with the outcomes. And if you have any tips to add, comment below or let me know in my contact form

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