Generating freelance consulting jobs can feel like one of the most daunting parts of running your business. While many people rely on traditional freelance job boards, there are significant problems with that. Instead, we’ll discuss alternative ways you can find freelance consulting jobs and get the most bang for your buck.
The Case Against Standard Freelance Job Boards
You’ve likely heard of some standard freelancing job boards such as Upwork or Fiverr. Although extremely popular for freelancers, there are some significant downsides to relying on these platforms.
First, the platforms generally take 10-20% of your profits to generate revenue. So while they’re free to use, you end up getting paid less overall.
These freelancing job boards also encourage what some might call a race to the bottom. You’ll see many qualified freelancers charging meager rates for their work because of the “economic pressures” of these sites’ ecosystems. Essentially, because you’re competing directly with other freelancers on the platform, you’re encouraged to slash your rates as much as possible to attract business.
Most clients searching for freelancers through these traditional methods are okay paying extremely low rates and potentially receiving lower quality work. These aren’t the types of clients you want to work with long-term.
We encourage you to use your network and website to generate freelance consulting jobs instead of relying on job boards. Here’s how to do that.
The first step towards finding freelance consulting jobs is to tap into your network. What exactly does this mean?
Networking Tip 1: Start With Previous Coworkers
If you’re a seasoned career professional, you’ve worked with a diverse group of people over the years. Start by reaching out to these colleagues, whether by phone, email, or social media, and mention that you’ve started freelancing.
From here, there are two directions you can take:
- Expressly ask if your connections or anyone they know need a freelancer
- Say that you’re freelancing and let them approach you with potential business when the time is right
The route you take depends on personal preference and your relationship with the contact.
Networking Tip 2: Cast a Wide Net
Starting with previous coworkers is excellent, but don’t stop there. Reach out to friends, family, and professionals at other companies or in other fields.
Casting a wide net increases your chances of finding someone interested in offering you a freelance consulting job.
Stay in touch with the people you reach out to. Congratulate them on personal and professional achievements, send informative articles you think they’ll find interesting, and find ways to stay connected so your name is top of mind.
Networking Tip 3: Don’t Take More Than You Give
Networking for freelance consulting jobs -- and more generally -- is about giving more than you take. If someone asks you for favors, as long as it’s a reasonable request, it’s a smart idea to help them. This makes them more likely to trust and think of you first when finding a freelancer in your field.
Likewise, when networking, don’t ask for favors regularly. This tends to turn your contacts off and may make them less likely to reach out to you with freelance work in the future.
Update Your LinkedIn
LinkedIn is your online, on-demand resume for people interested in offering you a freelance consulting job. Update it with past and present achievements, and make sure to add your freelancing business to your work experience.
Further, you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for people searching for freelance consultants in your field. If you’re a freelance editor for B2C tech companies, use keywords such as “freelance editor,” “editor,” “B2C tech companies,” and anything else related to your work. That way, when people search for “freelance editors” on LinkedIn, your name pops up first.
All of this said, be careful about relying solely on LinkedIn, as it has many limitations. In the next section, we’ll address what you can do outside of LinkedIn to find freelance consulting jobs.
Build a Website
One of LinkedIn’s main limitations is its inability to display your work samples (a portfolio) properly. Those looking to offer you a freelance consulting job need to know what your deliverables and past results looked like. These give them an idea of the work you can produce as their freelance consultant.
Your website should include:
- Work experience
- What qualifies you as a niche expert
- Results delivered to past clients or companies you’ve worked for
- Some information about who you are
Building a website from scratch is infamously tricky. Mylance simplifies this process by creating your website in a few minutes, so you can generate freelance consulting jobs right away. Learn more now!
Become a Thought Leader
Believe it or not, you don’t need tens of thousands of social media followers to begin generating business. Even a few hundred dedicated followers can turn into leads if they fit your target audience.
When looking for freelance consultant jobs, consider sharing your thoughts on social media. You can share results for past clients, changes to your industry, and other ideas that convey your niche expertise.
Not only does this keep you top-of-mind for your followers, but it reinforces your expertise.
Understand That Closing Takes Time
Closing leads sometimes takes time and encouragement. There are many instances where you’ll have solid introductory conversations with warm leads who end up passing on your services.
People may pass on your services for a variety of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with you. These reasons can include:
- Budget changes
- Leadership changes
- A shift in priorities
Sometimes it just isn’t the right time. Rather than getting discouraged, remain diplomatic and understand that closing can take time.
You have many options when a prospect decides to pass. You can:
- Send them occasional messages checking in
- Ask if you can put them on a newsletter where you share updates and tidbits of expertise
- Connect with them on social media, so they see your posts
- Set up coffee chats periodically to catch up
Keeping connected with the most interested prospects dramatically increases the chance that you’ll snag a freelance consulting job from them in the future.
While many people find consulting jobs through various online platforms, this has its own set of problems and isn’t a solid long-term strategy. Instead, tap into your network, build a winning website, and understand that certain prospects take a while to close.
Every Mylance team member has done consulting. We're experts, and we've seen what consulting enables: more time with our families, traveling the world, more time on passion projects, or to start that business we've been dreaming about.