Brought to you by Rob, Founder of Workshop
How I find hundreds of leads for freelancers + everything you need
Today I’m going to tell you how to find 250+ great freelance leads by absolutely free, all by yourself.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- An RSS reader
- A list of job boards that feature freelance projects regularly. (Places to start: Authentic Jobs and We Work Remotely.)
- About 40-60 minutes per day
First things first:
Now the quality of the leads you’ll be finding is obviously important. They will become your clients.
But let me tell you why the quality of the leads I find is especially important to me.
I’m a one-man shop that sends hundreds of freelancers the work they depend on to make a living. Freelance consultants rely on my leads to feed their families and keep their lights on. I take this extremely seriously.
I need to make sure my time is being spent wisely. It means I can find more work, and every one of my clients has a higher chance of landing one of the leads I send.
Now, get this: over a dozen of my clients have reported making more than $100,000 from my leads alone. <— FYI, I was blown away when I heard that.
This also means that my leads are under constant scrutiny by Workshop members, the quality of them is constantly being evaluated.
That means each day my process is put to the test…
Plus, I realize that every investment you make needs to generate results. You’re going to make a living off of opportunities that you find online and that makes it really important to do it the right way.
Between working on projects, managing clients, reaching out to prospects, and sleeping – you’ve probably realized that your TIME is your most valuable asset. That’s why there’s two principles that should guide you in finding work:
Principle 1: Pick the low-hanging fruit first and dive in.
If can be consistent about contacting just a few leads each day, soon you’ll have a constant flow of prospects coming into your inbox every week.
Remember, it’s not a numbers game – it’s a consistency game – so contacting a billion leads on your first day is going to have bad results. You’ll burnout then not contact anyone for weeks.
The only way to make sure you’re consistent about it is to make it as easy on yourself as possible. Pick the low-hanging, most desirable projects first and contact them immediately.
Principle 2: Get specific but don’t be so picky that no one meet your requirements.
What type of work do you love doing? Better yet, what are you better at than anyone else? If you’re able to answer these two questions effectively, you can narrow down your search to only clients that suit you – very quick.
Note: it’s good to get specific but don’t think that any lead will ever be an ”ideal client” from the start. The truth is ideal clients are born they’re bred. You have to educate them to make them be all that they can be.
By doing this not only do you cut down your time, you cut out clients that are not a good fit for your consultancy.
Keeping these two principles in mind has allowed me to develop a step-by-step system for finding great leads.
The 5-step system for finding 250+ leads per week:
Step 1: Download my Endless Clients Cheatsheat and plug it into your favorite RSS reader.
This file comes pre-loaded with a huge chunk of job boards that I’ve collected over years of freelancing into an OPML file. All you need to do is import this file and you can instantly monitor almost every job board from your browser. I recommend starting with established job boards like Authentic Jobs and Behance. Pro-tip: Use the additional criteria when available, like ‘remote’ and ‘freelance’ to skip all the location-specific or full-time listings.
Step 2: Find niche job boards that apply to your specialty
For job boards that don’t offer RSS feeds, you will have to go through them by hand. This can get time consuming if you’re not familiar with where each job board keeps important details like location preference and whether they’re looking for freelance work. Building up a familiarity with these niche job boards takes time, but there are so many new job boards popping up that there are constant opportunities to land work (if you have the time to keep up). Pro-tip: Look for a job board that is specific to your technology or design specialty. They all have their subtleties and hacks, so make sure you study your niche’s job board when you find one.
Step 3: Hack Google search
You can find a ton of opportunities by searching Google and tweaking a few of the settings. For example, if you’re interested in responding to RFP’s, search: “RFP PDF website design development” and set your search range to the “past week” to only get recent results. Obviously there’s no limit to the amount of links you’ll find on google so getting specific with keywords, budget, search options, and anything else you can is really going to help.
Step 4: Searching on twitter
Thousands of people turn to their twitter when looking for help on projects. However, searching through all the clutter on twitter can take hours and you probably wont find very much via their default search. Instead, use http://topsy.com/ because you’ll be able to customize your search much more effectively. The key to sorting through the multitudes of tweets out there is finding keywords people use when tweeting out for help. In addition to words like freelance, design, and development - add words like “email” (to find people who leave behind an email address) or “looking, need” (to find people who specifically want help).
Step 5: Workshop-exclusive leads
I’ve had about 50 people post their freelance project exclusively on Workshop and no where else this year. That means my clients have about a 25% chance of landing one of these projects (simply by process of elimination). With the average project budget being around $10k-20k, these are some of the most valuable leads I find. You may not be able to generate as many leads from your website, but you should definitely be able to send people to your site and have it do some of the work of capturing leads for you. Even after refining this process, it still takes me about 4 hours every day. That comes out to about 80 hours a month, excluding weekends. Cutting down on that time is key if you’re a freelancer, so that’s why Workshop members see huge ROI.
There, I just told you the exact recipe for finding over 200 great leads per month. Am I scared you’re going to run off and do this for yourself, equaling lost business for me? No.
Any freelancer who would rather spend 80 hours a month on a chore instead of $3/day to get it done… simply doesn’t see their business as an investment.
I’m only looking to work with those who do.
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