The Freelance Hustle: Five Ways to Land New Gigs

Let’s face it, as freelancers we’ve been known to do the hustle. It’s in our blood and hey, even if it’s not, it has to become part of our life whether we’re born with it or not.

According to an article on The Daily Muse, there are a few strategies to land new gigs. Even if you’re already doing some of them on a daily basis, it’s good to be reminded you’re on the right track.

1. Do pro-bono work at first. In the piece, Jessica Gordon writes, “Doing work for free obviously isn’t a long-term strategy, but it is a great one if you’re just starting out and trying to make contacts. If there’s a website you love or a business you want to work for, volunteer to write a blog, document an event, or do some design work for free.”

Is this a beneficial way to get your foot in the door? You bet. The only key is to not continuing to work for free in the long-term. In the short-term it’s a savvy move but once you get the experience, meet new contacts or have your mission accomplished, look elsewhere. As in paying clients.

2. Build a website and self-promote via social media. “Promote it like crazy,” she writes in the piece. Yes, this means Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr. Shout it from the rooftops! Make your entire network aware that you’re available and looking for freelance work!

Some people may have issues with asking for help but if you ask, you will likely receive. Leveraging social media is also a great way to follow editors you’re interested in connecting with; find out what’s on their brains and more importantly, if they share this information, what they’re working on.

3. Get your work into new clients’ hands. A portfolio is important but making sure people actually see it is truly valuable. In the piece, an illustrator subscribes to ADBASE, a database of publishers, design firms and ad agencies. This database continuously updates its content as art directors move around so you don’t have to stay abreast of their whereabouts.

4. Break out of your shell. Now is not the time to be shy; put in face time, meet up with new contacts for coffee, and accept the fact that you may be shy in most parts of your life but this is not one of them. Force yourself outside of the comfort zone by going to events even if you may not feel like it and giving yourself the challenge of exchanging business cards with one person; at the next event increase it to three, etc.

5. Search online job postings. Okay, this may sound like a no brainer but sometimes we may get so caught up in introducing ourselves to new people and offering our services and updating our statuses that we overlook the most obvious one of them all: Job listings. Yes, recruiters and editors actually review resumes so if you think your CV will be submitted into a black hole, think again. And if you don’t think you’re exactly qualified for a specific opportunity or you’re looking for freelance work and the job posting indicates full-time, it never hurts to introduce yourself as a freelancer for potential gigs down the road.