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Some tips on finding your first clients

Use your existing contacts

finding customers

Have a think if you have done work for anyone in the past who may be willing to pay for your services. Although poaching customers from your former employer may be considered ethically questionable, going back to former clients and offering a cheaper service could be a great starting point.

If you have a list of contacts through your previous work as a journalist or editor, make the most of this and contact each one to find out if you can offer your services or if they know anyone who might be interested.

Just letting people know what you are offering and that you are now going it alone is the first step and who knows what will come of it later down the line…

Look close to home

Once you have exhausted your contacts list, have a look at your local area and telephone or email firms that you think might wish to appoint a local contractor. This approach might be particularly effective if you are a book-keeper or administrator, as being local will be seen as a benefit.

Don’t be afraid to call in on prospective clients to explain what you offer in terms of services and have some literature made up to leave with them, along with a professional looking business card with a clear number and email to contact you. Remember to triple-check all promotional material for errors and then ask someone competent to check it again.

Once you’ve made initial contact with local firms, follow up the next week with an email or call to ask if they have had time to think about whether they would be interested in taking you on.  If they are interested, schedule a meeting. If they aren’t interested, then be polite and simply ask them to keep your details on file.

Use the internet

Of course, one of the best sources of work for home-workers are specialist websites that link freelancers and contractors with people looking to outsource some work.

Sites like and have transformed the face of home working and make it much easier for people to find freelance work. Some sites expect contractors and freelancers to ‘bid’ for work, with the lowest ‘quote’ winning the work.

These can be a good source of work, but bear in mind that you will have to command a pretty low price for your time and skills to ‘win’ many contracts.

Other sites are straightforward job advertising sites and are fully searchable. It is easy to reply to adverts you are interested in by email, including your CV and covering letter.

Sites such as Craigslist and Gumtree include job averts but also allow people working from home to put their own adverts promoting themselves to people who may have a use for their services.

If you have a clear idea about the value of a new customer and what you can afford for new client acquisition, you may want to consider testing Google AdWords. The attractiveness of this type of advertising is that you can ensure your ads only appear when people are searching on specific words or phrases. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, and you can set your bid price. 

We have been able to secure a special offer from Google that allows you to test their AdWords product with a free £30 voucher


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