“The most common challenge for freelance designers, especially new freelancers, is finding paying clients. Obviously, having clients is critical to running a successful business, but with so many freelancers and design agencies out there it may be very difficult to find enough work. There are a lot of different strategies that can be used for finding projects when things are slow, bidding sites like Elance are popular, but having a steady stream of referrals from past clients, friends, and family is the ideal way to keep new work coming in.
Referral business is extremely valuable for a few reasons. First, you don’t have to spend time trying to find the business. If you’re bidding on projects from freelance sites you can easily spend several hours to have a chance at landing even a small gig. With referral business, the clients are coming to you. Second, inquiries from referrals tend to convert to paying clients at a higher rate than most other potential clients because the person doing the referring is actually helping to sell your services. Since the new client trusts the opinion of their friend or colleague that is doing the referring, they will typically feel more comfortable with you than they would with a stranger. Third, referral business tends to build over a period of time. So the work that you put in now can pay off exponentially in the future as you have more clients out there who are sending business your way.”