Freelancers – do you ask for referrals?

So, you’ve pitched for a project, you’ve secured the work, you focus on the project in hand – during which time your marketing efforts fall by the wayside while you get busy with the ‘busywork’ – and then you start the process all over again.

Sound familiar?

For Freelancers, there will always be periods of peaks and troughs, with peaks bringing in more work than you can handle and troughs being a worrying time of no work no leads and no money.

As Nan Sheppard writes in her blog post Pitch Pace, it is so important to keep up your marketing efforts even during the busy times.

So other than pitching to new customers, what other methods can you use as a Freelancer to obtain work?

  • Ask for referrals: I often think of “six degrees of separation” when I think about the value of asking for referrals. The premise of “six degrees” is that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person (quite literally), through approximately six connections, i.e., “a friend of a friend of a friend”. Linkedin operates on a similar concept of you being able to contact people within a common network of professionals, who in turn can introduce you to others within their network. So can you use this to your advantage offline?For example, when you finish a project with one client, have you thought of asking them whether they would be happy to refer you to one of their clients? It takes courage, but once you get started, you’ll find you’ll have the courage to do this with each client – and if they’re bowled over by your work, there’s no reason why they would say no.
  • Offer Incentives for Referrals: Everyone loves a bargain, so why not offer incentives to get people to refer you. You could offer a discount off the project fee for every referral, or perhaps a BOGOF type deal (that is, “buy one, get one free”) where they get their next project ‘free’ if they refer you to a new client.

Overall, it’s important to offer something of real value. Can you offer some free time as a “thank you”? Better still, can you offer something for free simply because your client is special to you?

Your client will likely remember you and recommend you to others if you offer an exclusive and genuine offer which makes them feel special.





I’m Mary Cummings, a ghostwriter, collaborator and all round word doctor. I help business owners write and publish business books; I'm also passionate about helping creative freelancers find work that they love - their work sweet spot with work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.

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