Things you can do as a Freelancer to attract clients to you
Last week I wrote about some ways that I find and contact clients as a freelancer, and although it is an important part of running your business, there is definitely a flip side to it, because there will always be clients out there looking people like you and the services you offer.
So this week I thought I’d write about some ways that you can attract clients to you. Like most other elements of running a business, it does take time to build up a reputation online but it’s more than worth it in the long run!
WRITING A BLOG
Looking back through my posts I’ve been writing this blog in particular (I had others on different platforms before this one) for over 3 years now. If you make good use of your blog, it can be a really good way for clients and other artists to get an insight into both your work and thought processes, and also the knowledge and skills that you have in your area.
There are a variety of different ways to make use of a blog, all depending on what you want to achieve from it. The main reason I started mine was to keep a sort of diary for myself, so that I could look back at what projects I’d worked on, how my work and process have evolved, and also so that when I’m having a down day I can look back on the advice I shared when I was in a more positive and motivated mood, which makes me instantly want to get back into that mindset. If I was going to make use of what I was writing, I thought that maybe other people would too.
Writing a blog consistently, also helps to keep your SEO ranking up, because it shows that your website is continually being updated. I try to write one blog post a week, and although it can sometimes be difficult to think of something to write about, varying your content a little always helps. I tend to stick to sharing my own work, along with the process behind it, sharing tips/advice that I’ve learnt over the years and resources that I find useful.
SHOWING WORK IN PROGRESS
Sharing projects you’ve worked on always makes great blog content, but sharing the process behind that, from start to finish is always much more interesting, because it allows people (both clients and anyone else interested in your work) to get an idea of your thought process, why you came up with an idea, how that idea evolved and how you took that idea from a sketch to a final outcome. Clients automatically know that if they hired you, that’s the process you would be going through with them too and it allows encourages them to have more faith in you.
It's also a great place for people who aren't quite as far in their career as you yet to learn from you, I spent a lot of my uni and college years reading up on people's blogs to really dive deep into how they do what they do, and still do to this day!
I’ve spoken about this on my blog on quite a few occasions, but I genuinely think it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do as a creative, not just for the career benefits, but also for yourself.
Starting a personal project is a really good way to practice working in a professional manner, sticking to a brief and hitting deadlines, even if it is just for yourself. It's especially effective if you have little to no client experience because it’s another way to prove yourself. It also gives you the chance to work on the types of projects you would like to work on. For instance I used to get a lot more graphic design and logo based jobs when I first started out, so I took some time out to focus solely on personal projects revolving around character design and that’s primarily what I’ve been hired for ever since.
It’s easy to think that personal projects are pointless, because if you’re not creating what’s on trend or ‘popular’ no one will really be interested and you’ll never really get any sort of traction from it. However, you’ll create much better art work if you’re creating something you’re passionate about rather than creating something to please others, and this definitely shows in the end result. As I mentioned before I took some time out from paid work and spent a good few months just purely creating art I loved, pretty much all I drew was zombies and dinosaurs and I can say for sure that even to this day about 80% of clients who contact me mention the piece below as one of the reasons that they contacted me.
I still draw zombies and dinosaurs on a weekly basis, sometimes I think ‘hmm people are going to be bored of this stuff now’, but my zombie and dinosaur pieces nearly always get more ‘likes’ or ‘favourties’ than anything else that I do, plus, drawing what makes YOU happy is super important for your own mental health and creativity. When you’re an artist, various elements will always make up what makes you happy, but if you don’t work on things (like personal projects) that make you feel creatively fulfilled, you’ll really struggle to avoid burnout and feeling in a rut.
Working on personal projects is also a great way to build new skills, for instance, I really want to learn some 3D, I could just do some tutorials and create a few random creatures by the end of it etc. which would be fine. However, this is also a perfect reason to start a new personal project. Instead of using my ‘want’ to learn 3D to churn out a handful of unplanned monsters or characters I could model 5-7 creatures that all fit into the same ‘world’ which I could then use in my portfolio as an example to games companies, showing that I do have some experience in 3D and that I can efficiently turn a creature into a 3D model from a 2D character sheet whilst keeping the visual style of the world consistent.
I hope this has been helpful! I think it's fair to say that all of these options apply to anyone in the creative industry and are things we can all implement into our business in our own ways! If anyone has any questions, everyone is always welcome to ask away through my contact page or the comments!
Thanks for reading!