5 tips to get freelance clients when you feel like you’ve tried everything.

by Tara Fitness
get freelance clients

The struggle is real. I should know. I struggled to get freelance clients for years until it hit me like a lightning strike

Back in the days of my online fitness business, I could never get enough clients (read: earn enough money to make ends meet). I was working 50, 60 or 70+ hours per week but for some reason completely unknown to me, I couldn’t sell a spare tyre to a street racer who’s got $1k on the line and just blew his right-rear.

It didn’t make sense to me. I’d always been taught ‘hard work’ is how you achieve things in life. I was working my tail off, so why was I going backwards?

Towards the end, I was stressed outta my brain. Snapping at everyone around me, bursting into tears at the drop of a hat. I felt like a complete and utter failure and a disappointment to my partner and family. After far too long of not being able to figure it out and sitting with these horrible feelings, I closed my fitness business, deflated and defeated. 

When you’re working two full-time jobs in one and going nowhere, you don’t have the time or the mindset to take a step back and analyse what you’re doing wrong. It was only after I closed my business and took a holiday that I found the time and headspace to assess my failure, list the mistakes and commit to learning from them.

In doing so, I finally learned how to get freelance clients by implementing a ‘work smarter, not harder’ mentality.

You don’t need to close your business to understand how to get freelance clients. Instead, work through this exercise to ensure you aren’t wasting your time on tasks that’ll only make your online business dissipate into a freelance wasteland.

  1. Complete your weekly record.

  2. Brainstorm other tasks.

  3. Critically analyse your task list to understand which tasks provide a high return on your investment or time or money.

  4. Compare your tasks completed tasks to your high-roi tasks.

  5. Adjust your schedule.

Step 1: Weekly Record

Every day for a week, when you sit at your desk to start work, open your diary, notebook or an online notes document first. Keep it open all day. As you complete your work for the day, write down every single task you execute – whether you finish it or not. This includes everything from minor tasks such as scrolling through social media to major tasks such as writing a blog post or completing a coaching call.

If you find you’re completing a task you’ve already written on the list, start a tally beside it so at the end of the week, you know how many times you’ve completed each task on your list. The ultimate goal at the end of your week is to have a list of tasks you complete on a weekly basis so we can use them in step three. But first…

Step 2: Brainstorm Tasks

As a business owner, it’s unlikely you complete every task within your business every week. So at the end of your recording week, brainstorm the other tasks you complete within your business and add them to your list.

This will likely include less frequent jobs such as financial recording, preparing your tax return, monthly calls with mentors and the like.

It’s imperative you record these tasks too because they all take up time during your workday, week, month or year. It’s important you know how you’re spending your time in order to be able to analyse if you’re spending it wisely.

Step 3: Critically Analyse Tasks to Get Freelance Clients

Now that you have a list of everything you do within your business, it’s time to analyse each task individually. Work through the list, checking each task one at a time, and ask yourself if the task is either:

→ Essential; or

→ Bringing in a return on your investment of time/money.

Essential tasks are easy to identify. 

They’re the tasks you must complete or else your business will go down the toilet – like cleaning the toilet (or making sure someone else does). Examples of other essential tasks include paying your staff, completing financial records and ordering stock if you run a product-based business. For each task that you identify as being essential to the function of your business, highlight it on your list.

Understanding which tasks bring you an high-ROI is slightly more complicated. First, you need to:

1. Understand your ultimate goal.

What would you like to achieve within your business?

Let’s say you want to make $120k per year so you can pay your mortgage, kids school fees and take a trip to the Bahamas at Christmas.

2. Know what you need to get there.

What will it take to achieve business success?

It’s easiest to reverse-engineer your needs here. Say you’d like to earn $120k per year. You need 10 clients paying you $1,000 per month. In order to get 10 clients, you need to generate leads. In order to generate leads, you need to put your brand in front of people and show these people how you can help them solve a problem.

3. Now… assess.

Once you understand your goal (e.g. making $100k per year) and what you need to get there (e.g. more clients), work through all of the un-highlighted tasks on your master list and ask yourself:

“Is completing this task bringing me closer to achieving my goal?”

Some answers will be an easy “hell yes!”. In that instance, highlight that task and move on to the next item on the list.

Others will be a “hell no!”. Put a cross through the middle of them and don’t do them again.

There will likely be a number of tasks that make you wonder if they’re providing an ROI or not. For these tasks, you’ll likely need to dig deeper. The best place to look is in your bank account. E.g. If you’re spending 4 hours a day on cold calls and the phone gets slammed down on 999 calls out of 1000, it’s very much time to consider if there’s a better way. However, if you’re getting a steady stream of takers and it’s putting money in your bank, keep cold calling baby.

If your bank account isn’t as healthy as you’d like, the next step is to consider your lead generation. E.g. Perhaps you’re generating content for two social media networks with the intent to add subscribers to your email list. Check your Google Analytics to see if both networks are consistently adding leads to your list. If so, keep working on both. If not, cut one and go all-in on the one that’s bringing you leads.

Step 4: Compare Your Tasks

You might be tempted to skip this step, but DON’T. This step is critical to understanding why your business hasn’t been achieving the success you’d like.

Now you’ve worked through your task list, every item should be either highlighted or crossed out. Read through your list of crossed-out items, and consider how much time you’ve been devoting to these tasks that are:

  1. Non-essential; and
  2. Not giving you a return on your investment of time or money.

Try not to be too hard on yourself if the list shocks you. The first time I completed this exercise, it was the lightbulb moment I needed to turn my business around. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t beat myself up about wasting so much time before I figured out where I went wrong.

But hey, now you know. So don’t dwell on it. Fix the problem instead.

Step 5: Adjust Your Schedule to Get Freelance Clients

This fifth and final step is where you ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again.

Open your calendar and set up your schedule, this time ensuring you fill it only with the tasks you’ve highlighted – the tasks that keep your business moving forward.

Then, when you sit at your desk every day, open your calendar and complete what’s on the list.

Now, I can’t guarantee this will change your business overnight. But when you focus on the tasks that bring you a high return on your investment, you can’t lose.

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