How To Find Paying Clients Without Using Freelance Sites

Last Updated on May 23, 2023

Relying solely on freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr to find work is one of the biggest mistakes freelancers make.

Wondering why? It’s simple: It’s because big freelance site companies’ websites can’t be trusted.

You never know when they will change their platform fees, change their terms of service, or ban accounts for no reason.

A lot of successful freelancers have testified that leaving Upwork and other freelance marketplaces was the best decision they made and the reason they made more money as freelancers. They also stated that the issues with some of the freelance sites pushed them to look for better ways to continue their jobs.

Common Issues Freelance Sites Face

Freelance sites, also known as online job platforms or gig economy platforms, connect clients with freelancers or independent contractors for short-term or project-based work. These platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way for businesses to find skilled workers for specific tasks and for individuals to find flexible work opportunities. However, freelance sites also face a number of challenges and issues.

One common issue is the lack of job security for freelancers. Unlike traditional employment, freelance work does not offer the same level of job security, benefits, or protections. Freelancers may have to constantly search for new work and may not have a steady stream of income. This can be particularly challenging for those who rely on freelance work as their primary source of income.

Another issue is the potential for exploitation of freelancers. Some clients may attempt to pay freelancers less than fair market value for their work or may attempt to get more work out of freelancers than was originally agreed upon. Freelancers may also have to deal with difficult or unreasonable clients or face issues with payment if clients fail to pay on time or at all.

Freelance sites may also struggle with issues of quality control. Since freelancers are not employees, it can be difficult for the platform to ensure that the work being produced meets the standards of the client. This can lead to dissatisfaction on both sides and may result in disputes or negative reviews.

Finally, freelance sites may face regulatory challenges, as the gig economy has been the subject of much debate and controversy around the world. Governments and labor unions have raised concerns about the lack of protections and benefits for gig economy workers, and there have been calls for increased regulation of these platforms.

Read: Are Client Referrals a Cost-Effective Growth Strategy?

How Freelancers Can Gain Their Freedom From Freelance Sites

What most freelancers don’t realize is that there are other ways to find freelance work besides freelance marketplaces. This lack of knowledge will keep them from growing immensely.

However, you shouldn’t leave Fiverr or any of the marketplaces too soon. Sites like Upwork and Fiverr are still good starting points for freelancers to learn the basics.

When you’re ready to take the next step, use these tips to gradually break free from the freelance marketplace. 

1. Build Great Relationships With Clients

Building lasting relationships with clients should be your main goal as a freelancer. If you have a good relationship with your client, they will give you more work.

You can start communicating with them more regularly. Before each email, say hello, ask how your weekend was, and share a short personal story about yourself to build the connection.

2. Create your own customer base

Next, find and connect with clients outside of the freelance marketplace. But don’t ask for your email address in Upwork chats or Fiverr messages. Just search the email with other tools and send the email.

Tools like Hunter can be used to find a person’s email address from their name. Use an Excel spreadsheet to collect emails and information about clients you’ve traded with to build your own client base. It will come in handy later.

3. Learn how to write a killer proposal

Learning how to write a proposal can be a valuable skill for freelancers as it allows them to pitch their services directly to clients, rather than relying on freelance sites to connect them with work. A well-written proposal can help freelancers stand out from the competition and increase their chances of getting hired for a project.

Having the ability to write a proposal also gives freelancers more control over their work and allows them to negotiate terms and rates directly with clients. They can tailor their proposals to meet the specific needs of the client and outline their qualifications, experience, and proposed deliverables. This can help freelancers to build long-term relationships with clients and potentially secure ongoing work, rather than constantly having to search for new projects on freelance sites.

In addition, writing proposals can help you to better understand their own value and the value of their services. This can give them confidence when negotiating rates and can help them to charge what they are worth, rather than accepting lower rates due to a lack of negotiation skills. Overall, learning how to write a proposal can give freelancers more independence and freedom to find and secure work on their own terms.

4. Build your skills

Discover and learn new skills that complement your core ministry. For example, if you’re a web designer, you study graphic design. If you’re a programmer, learn UX design. These complementary skills can go a long way toward making your service more competitive. And it has the advantage of attracting more customers.

2. Create your own custom
Next, find and connect with clients outside of the freelance marketplace. But don’t ask for your email address in Upwork chats or Fiverr messages. Just search the email with other tools and send the email.

How To Find Jobs Without Using Freelance Sites

Freelancers do not have to feel stuck in their marketplaces anymore, there are now ways you can get jobs and maintain steady freelance jobs without having to use these freelance sites. Here are a few methods you can try:

1. Ask for referrals

Asking for referrals is a common way for freelancers to build their clientele and find new work opportunities outside of freelance sites. There are a few different ways freelancers can go about asking for referrals:

  1. Ask satisfied clients: If you have completed a project for a client and they were happy with your work, consider asking them if they know of anyone else who might be in need of your services. You can do this in person, via email, or over the phone. Be sure to emphasize the value you provided to your client and how you were able to meet their needs.
  2. Utilize your network: In addition to asking clients for referrals, you can also reach out to your own network of contacts and ask if they know of anyone who might be in need of your services. This could include former colleagues, friends, or professional connections you have made through networking events or industry organizations.
  3. Offer incentives: If you are struggling to get referrals, you might consider offering incentives to clients or contacts who refer work to you. This could be a discount on your services, a small gift, or some other form of compensation. Just be sure to clearly communicate the terms of your referral program and make it easy for people to participate.
  4. Promote your services: Another way to get referrals is to actively promote your services to potential clients. This could involve creating a website or social media presence to showcase your work, writing articles or blog posts about your industry, or attending networking events and making connections with potential clients. By actively promoting your services, you can increase the chances that people will think of you when they have a project in need of your skills.

2. Use job boards

Job boards are websites that list job openings and freelance opportunities. Freelancers can use job boards to find new clients and build their clientele outside of freelance sites. Here are a few tips for using job boards effectively:

  1. Research job boards that are relevant to your industry and skill set. There are many job boards out there, so it’s important to find ones that are most likely to have opportunities that align with your expertise.
  2. Create a strong profile and portfolio. Many job boards allow you to create a profile and upload samples of your work. Make sure your profile accurately reflects your skills and experience and includes high-quality examples of your work.
  3. Tailor your application to each opportunity. Don’t just send out generic applications; take the time to tailor your cover letter and resume to each specific job or project. This will show the client that you are interested in the opportunity and have taken the time to learn about their needs.
  4. Follow up with clients. If you don’t hear back from a client after applying for a job, consider following up with them. This can show your enthusiasm for the opportunity and help to set you apart from other candidates.

By using job boards effectively, freelancers can find new clients and build their clientele outside of freelance sites.

3. Check The Careers Sections

Go to the website of a company or startup in your industry and scroll to the bottom of the page. Look in the footer if you see a link called “Careers.”

Clicking on this link will take you to a page showing job openings for this company. If there is a job that you can apply for, please do so.

If you don’t see a suitable position for you in the careers section of the website, email your company’s human resources department and ask them to hire you. Again, do not use the contact form on the website. Use a tool like Hunter to find the recruiter’s email address and contact them privately.

4. Use Facebook Groups, Slack e.t.c

Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Reddit, Slack, and many other sites can also be used to find freelance and remote work. Just look for them in the right places.

Instead of spamming generic Facebook groups and begging for jobs, join mastermind groups and provide value. Convince other members of the group that you have the skills to help grow their business.

Final words

Now, everything is over to you. You have the tips and resources at your fingertips you just need to decide if you are ready to take the steps.

Before you go…

Hey, thank you for reading this blog to the end. I hope it was helpful. Let me tell you a little bit about Nicholas Idoko Technologies. We help businesses and companies build an online presence by developing web, mobile, desktop, and blockchain applications.

As a company, we work with your budget in developing your ideas and projects beautifully and elegantly as well as participate in the growth of your business. We do a lot of freelance work in various sectors such as blockchain, booking, e-commerce, education, online games, voting, and payments. Our ability to provide the needed resources to help clients develop their software packages for their targeted audience on schedule is unmatched.

Be sure to contact us if you need our services! We are readily available.


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