Deliberate Freelancer podcast

REPLAY #43: 33 Ways to Find More Clients

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On today’s show I go over 33 ways you can find new clients. This is a replay of episode #43, which came out January 23, 2020, before we knew what was in store for us.

A couple of my recommendations refer to in-person conferences and in-person networking, which is not happening for most us right now during the pandemic. However, just imagine that I’m saying “virtual conference” every time because I’ve found virtual conferences these page 18 months to be great for networking, providing presentations to a wide audience, and education. So, consider what you can do with virtual conferences to gain new clients.

But before you embark on a project to find new clients, do a little prep work. First, consider what type of work you truly want more of. What do you love to do? What work pays well? Focus on that.

Next, raise your rates. Then, be crystal clear on what you want to say to those potential clients. Focus on how you can help them and what they want. Now, you’re ready to find new clients. Here are my tips (scroll down to the Resources section for a printable pdf of this list):

  1. Ask current clients for new work.
  2. Ask current or past clients for referrals.
  3. Go to industry conferences.
  4. Maximize your LinkedIn profile and add keywords.
  5. Send a ridiculous number of letters of introduction (LOIs).
  6. Follow up on past LOIs or with people you’ve met in real life.
  7. Add a new service.
  8. Apply to speak at conferences as an expert in your field.
  9. Reach out to your contacts who are at new jobs.
  10. Write a guest blog post in your industry.
  11. Ramp up your social media game.
  12. Go old school and mail out postcards to a select group.
  13. Join organizations and make sure to fill out your profile in the online directory.
  14. Apply to win awards in your field.
  15. Be active in Facebook groups and/or Twitter chats.
  16. Create a private Twitter list of potential clients.
  17. Launch or revive your blog.
  18. Create an email list.
  19. Create a newsletter.
  20. Create a freebie.
  21. Set up keyword searches on Twitter.
  22. Ask for testimonials from happy clients.
  23. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations.
  24. Try Facebook Live or Instagram Stories.
  25. Be a guest on a podcast.
  26. Revamp your website.
  27. Update your online portfolio.
  28. Consider partnerships.
  29. Answer job ads.
  30. Go to local events.
  31. Connect with a co-working space.
  32. Tell everyone you meet what you do.
  33. Fire a client.

Biz Bite: Stop reading and listening to things that make you angry.

The Bookshelf: Daisy Jones & the Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid


33 Ways to Find More Clients printable pdf

Episode #23 of Deliberate Freelancer: Five Questions to Evaluate and Diversify Your Services

Episode #18 of Deliberate Freelancer: How to Set Higher Rates

Episode 22 of Deliberate Freelancer: How to Create a Better Work-Life Balance, with Laura Poole

Episode #6 of Deliberate Freelancer: Make the Most of Conferences

Episode #24 of Deliberate Freelancer: Networking Tips, Especially as an Introvert

Episode #20 of Deliberate Freelancer: How to Use LinkedIn Better to Find Clients, with Phaedra Brotherton

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    On today’s episode, I’m leaning in to the theme of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. and sharing seven things I am thankful for in my business. Beyond just telling you about these things, I’m sharing why I’m thankful and asking questions to you that I hope will prompt you to think about how to improve your business life. Thinking about my business this way got me thinking about how I should be building a joyful business in all things that I do. So, as I go through my list, I hope it helps you think about things you are thankful for and perhaps want to change moving forward so you can build a more joyful business.   #1. Complete freedom. When I decided to go freelance, I looked forward to being my own boss more than anything, but I didn’t fully grasp the complete freedom I would have as a freelancer. Work is still work. But, I have a lot of control over my business—who I work with, when I work, how I work, where I work and what I work on. I worry that some freelancers haven’t fully embraced this freedom or forget about it every now and then. I see way too many people working too many hours. Why are we freelancing if not for the freedom in it? You are in charge of your business, for the most part. Shouldn’t freedom be the goal in everything we do? Are you working with clients you want to work with? Are you working on projects you enjoy? If not, why not? If you are working with clients you don’t love or in an area that doesn’t fascinate you, maybe it’s time to at least start planning on how to find better clients or change your services or niche. Freedom! That’s what I’m really, truly thankful for.   #2. My clients. I am at a place where I’m really happy with the mix of clients I have. It has always been my goal to work with kind people, fun people, people I respect and who respect me. That is really important to me. 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Great sources or subject matter experts. Because I’ve really honed in on my niche and I love my niche, I love the sources I get to interview. I’m almost always interested in what they have to say and often quite fascinated.   #4. Interviewing. I’m very thankful that my job requires me to interview people. I can’t believe I get paid to talk to people and have the honor of telling their stories! I absolutely love the process of interviewing. I love the discovery process of when a source says something that leads me to ask a new question or go down a different path or ask them to expound or explain. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of having fascinating conversations with medical professionals so I can then write great stories. I’m thankful every day that interviewing is a large part of my work. What do you absolutely love to do in your work? Do you get to do enough of it? How can you make changes in your business so you get to do more of that?   #5. 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Subscribe to the Deliberate Freelancer newsletter. American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) fall membership drive. Use the code: 2021FALLDRIVE ASJA Membership FAQs Episode #98 of Deliberate Freelancer: Six-Figure Freelancing: The Benefits of Selling Strategy and Outcomes, with Austin Church Austin Church’s Fix Your Pricing Masterclass Fairytale Brownies Company of One, the podcast “Company of One” by Paul Jarvis (book)
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    #115: Time Tracking Lessons from Deliberate Freelancer Listeners


    Today’s show is all about the benefits of time tracking. But it’s not about my experience today. Instead, five Deliberate Freelancer listeners sent in audio files about their time-tracking experiences and explained the various ways time tracking has helped their freelance business. Information is power. I believe if you know how you’re really spending your time—rather than making assumptions or incorrectly guessing—you can begin to figure out where you want to make changes and make better use of your time. I hope you find my guests’ tips helpful today. And thank you to these lovely guests and listeners for participating!   Biz Bite: Download potential clients’ lead magnets. The Bookshelf: “What Could Be Saved” by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz   Resources: Subscribe to the Deliberate Freelancer newsletter. Episode #10 of Deliberate Freelancer: Think Like a Marketer to Grow Your Business, with Megy Karydes Episode #91 of Deliberate Freelancer: All Things Pricing: Project Rates, Day Rates, Retainers and More, with Jennifer Duann Fultz Episode #59 of Deliberate Freelancer: Parenting while Freelancing (with or without a pandemic), with Amy Ragland  
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    #114: Building a Successful Business with ADHD, with Courtney Chaal


    Today’s guest is Courtney Chaal. Courtney is an American now living in Vancouver in Canada. Courtney helps creatives, coaches and consultants stop being broke and start getting more clients by creating an irresistible service that they can eventually turn into a scalable offer. End goal? Freedom! Courtney is a copywriter turned business coach obsessed with making complex concepts (like business models and sales copy) simple and tangible to help regular people get big results. Over the past 10 years, her business has evolved from her writing custom proposals to now launching digital products and programs, including her high-ticket coaching program, called Yay for 100K. Courtney was diagnosed in July 2020 with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). Before her diagnosis, she was struggling with managing her business: “I was dropping a lot of balls; I thought I was really organized and I just kept forgetting things. I was struggling with feeling like I should be more on top of things than I was.” Some ways ADHD manifested in Courtney was that her house was messy, she would forget things—one time, she bought two plane tickets to the same conference. When her mom first suggested she might have ADHD in 2020, Courtney first took a short online quiz, which found she had a high correlation with ADHD. One she was formally diagnosed, she said, “I never felt so validated in my entire life. … I thought I had 100 different small problems and what this showed me was that every single thing I was struggling with in my life was one thing.” Melanie shares that her husband also has ADHD and was only diagnosed a few years ago in his 40s. Courtney believes the name of ADHD is misleading because people with ADHD don’t often have a lack of attention; they have a lack of control over where their attention goes. In fact, people with ADHD often hyper-focus on something they are interested in at the moment, forgetting many other responsibilities. Courtney also doesn’t like the word “disorder.” Her ADHD is just a neutral quality of how her brain functions, with both pros and cons. As Courtney explains, an ADHD brain is wired for interest over importance. Until something becomes an emergency, it’s not important for ADHDers to deal with. Courtney long knew there were certain things she wasn’t good at in her business—following through, organization—but her diagnosis allowed her to let go of trying to be good at those things. It gave her permission to hire a full-time operations manager. ADHD has both negatives and positives. Courtney sees her ADHD as her superpower. If she didn’t have ADHD, she would also be giving up her creativity, her out-of-the-box thinking, her problem-solving, her big picture thinking skills, her humor and being quick on her feet. No one person gets to have all the good qualities and none of the challenges. Instead of developing “coping” strategies, Courtney lets go of other people’s strategies. For example, she tries not to buy the planners at the beginning of the year because she knows that she won’t use a planner. Outsourcing has helped her tremendously with areas of friction. She outsources her laundry, orders groceries online, hires a cleaning person and uses meal prep services. You can also find smaller, simpler strategies to help in areas of friction for you. For example, whenever Courtney prepares to leave the house, she always says the mantra “wallet, keys, phone,” so she can be sure not to forget one of those things. She also recently had keyless entry installed on her apartment. She also hates hanging up coats on hangars, so she makes sure to have hooks instead, which she’ll use, and that they’re in the right place. Biz Bite: Do a brain dump: When you fall into an overwhelming “pit of despair,” stop and write down everything swirling in your brain that you have to get done.   Resources: Courtney on Instagram Courtney on Twitter Courtney’s Rebel Productivity Facebook group A Guide to ADHD ADDitude magazine    
  • Deliberate Freelancer podcast

    #113: How to Build Relationships, Not a Network, with Anna Hetzel


    Today’s guest is Anna Hetzel, from Columbus, Ohio. Anna is the owner and founder of Strange Birds, a business they started five years ago in which they convert copywriting and strategy for websites and community design and strategy.   Anna works with service providers and entrepreneurs who are trying to expand their reach and figure out how to talk to their ideal clients and build more scalable offers through paid online communities.   Hear the fun story about how Anna named their business Strange Birds.   A lot of freelance advice is about how to grow your network. But Anna approached it differently. From day one, they approached it based on relationships: “I didn’t give two hoots about how many people I was connected to. What mattered to me was did I have good relationships I was connected to.”   The value of that relationship building showed up when the pandemic hit. Instead of having just a lot of names of people Anna had met, they had real relationships.   Melanie talks about how she hates the traditional cocktail hour networking event where she doesn’t know anyone. Anna offers a tip: Anna’s goal at those events is to make one friend—not one contact, but one friend. That helped them filter out the noise and overwhelm.   At networking events, we may feel pressured to meet 12 new people and begin to develop opportunities. But opportunities take time. Focus on making one new friend instead.   There’s a difference between a network and a community: “It’s the difference between a list of contacts versus a group of people that are mutually invested in each other’s success.”   Your social media following or your email list is a network. They are not a community; they are your audience.   It can be hard to make friends as an adult! Find what you’re good at—like writing or photography—and read related social media posts and comment thoughtfully. Give your energy in that space.   As for virtual events, it’s OK to decline those and set boundaries. Do what makes you feel comfortable. That includes not turning on your video during Zoom calls.   Anna uses the five love languages to build relationships in their business too. The love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gift giving and physical touch. Anna modifies the “physical touch” love language for the business world to think of it as “human to human.” Add a human touch, such as by sending gifs of people or a video of you reacting to an email.   Biz Bite: Before tomorrow, write out what an amazing day means to you (both in work and life) and build your business ferociously around those guidelines.   Resources: Sign up for Anna’s email list at and receive a quick guide to match your unique skills and simple-to-implement scalable ways to move away from transactional contacts and into real relationships.   Anna on Instagram   Episode #112 of Deliberate Freelancer: How and When to Say No   “Hoatzin: the Strangest Bird in the Amazon?”   Loom (send quick video messages)   What Are the Five Love Languages?  
  • Deliberate Freelancer podcast

    #112: How and When to Say No


    I am really good at saying no. Today, I’m going to walk you through nine common scenarios freelance business owners experience and tell you how I say no to these questions and situations. Even if the language I use doesn’t resonate with you, I hope it will get you thinking, encourage you to say no more often and help you figure out how to say no in your own words. “No” is a complete sentence. You’ve heard that, right? But in business there usually needs to be a bit more finesse than that. And there are a lot of different ways to say no depending on the situation. Whenever you are considering anything—whenever you are trying to decide whether to do something, always keep in mind: You are a business owner. You are in charge of your business, your life and your career. YOU choose who you work with, just as much as they are choosing you. YOU choose what you are worth. YOU set the parameters. Everything can be negotiated. You are a business owner. Words to stop using: Just Unfortunately I’m sorry (except in rare cases, like when you actually make a mistake).   Don’t qualify your answer. Don’t apologize for how you run your business. And stop over-explaining things when you say no.   Scenario #1: You don’t want to do the project. My answer: Thanks for reaching out, but this project is not the right fit for me.   Scenario #2: You don’t have time. My answers (here’s where it might be OK to say “I’m sorry” if that makes you feel better): I’m sorry, I am fully booked for the next month. I’m sorry, I am fully booked for the three weeks. Is there any flexibility with the deadline?   Scenario #3: You are asked to sign an onerous contract (non-compete, insurance requirement, indemnity clause). My answers (first, try to negotiate): Can we strike the indemnity clause from the contract? Indemnity clauses put all legal risk on my solo business and I cannot sign contracts with them. or, offer to replace the clause: I cannot sign a contract with an indemnity clause. Indemnity clauses put all legal risk on my solo business. I will guarantee my work, though. Can we replace the indemnity clause with the following guarantee: The writer guarantees that the articles she writes will not contain material that is consciously libelous or defamatory, to the best of her ability.   If I’m asked to sign a non-compete, the answer is always no. That’s non-negotiable as a freelancer, so I’ll say: As a freelance business owner with multiple clients, I cannot sign a non-compete.   The end. They can take that or leave it. The same goes for insurance (for me, personally).   Scenario #4: The pay is too low. My answer: This is much lower than what I charge. I charge XX per XX. Is that within your budget?   If they say no, or if they can’t negotiate to an acceptable rate, I usually respond with something like: I’m unable to do the project at this rate. Thanks for thinking of me and I wish you luck.   Scenario #5: Vague requests or “can we get on the phone?” or “what are your rates?” My answer: Could you email me a bit more about what you’re looking for and what your budget is so I can determine if I might be a good fit?   Scenario #6. Can you lower your price? My answer: No. In an email, I might say: No, I can’t lower my price.   Scenario #7: The client asks for something beyond the scope of work. My answer: I’m happy to to do this work. However, the original proposal included XYZ and was based on a maximum of XXX words/pages/parameters, which is what I provided. I can do this extra work at an additional rate of $XXX/hour. I would estimate approximately 2-3 more hours would be needed.   Scenario #8: Can I pick your brain? My answer—I may not answer an email at all if I don’t know them. You don’t have to respond to people. It’s not the law. I will also point people to relevant podcast episodes instead—you can do that with a blog or other articles too. Or I say: I’d be happy to talk with you. My consulting fee is XX per hour. or I offer a 30-minute coaching call for XX dollars.   Scenario #9: Someone asks you to volunteer or speak at an event and you cannot. My answer: I’m sorry, I don’t have the capacity to add anything else to my plate right now. or I would love to, but I’m completely booked right now and can’t commit to any more volunteering opportunities. or What is the payment for speaking? (or What is the compensation?) or I don’t do unpaid speaking. Do you have a budget in mind?   Biz Bite: Save a script of how to say no.   The Bookshelf: “The Nothing Man” and ALL the books by Irish crime writer Catherine Ryan Howard   Resources: Subscribe to the Deliberate Freelancer newsletter. Episode #45 of Deliberate Freelancer: You Need to Set Boundaries Episode #102 of Deliberate Freelancer: Freelancer Survival Skills + a Pep Talk about Boundaries, with Sarah Townsend Episode #91 of Deliberate Freelancer: All Things Pricing: Project Rates, Day Rates, Retainers and More, with Jennifer Duann Fultz  

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