a female freelancer working at her desk

Getting Referrals as a Freelancer

In 2020, 59 million Americans freelanced for work! Freelancing can give you a sense of freedom, especially since you’re your own boss. So it’s no wonder why so many Americans are trading in their 9-to-5 hats for freelancing ones.

However, one area of concern is how to get an keep the clients (and money) flowing in.

The answer? Getting referrals is key to your freelancing success and as you will soon realize it is not that difficult.

But how should you go about doing so, without annoying your clients? Let’s dig into that and how referrals can, and should, become your biggest win for sales as a freelancer.

There is a great book called The Referral Engine by John Jantsch that dive into these topics and many more in great detail. I highly recommend that book.

Exceed Expectations

Think about the last time you got average service from someone. Did you feel motivated to recommend them to your friends and family? Probably not.

So why would you expect your clients to be eager to make referrals to you if you didn’t give your best?

While on the job, you want to make sure you hit everything your clients want, and then some. Deliver everything on time (or even early), and go above and beyond to really wow your clients.

This honestly goes without saying, and it is something we believe in strongly here at School For Freelancers that your client’s should be treated like gold. They are the reason you get to do what you after-all.

Going above and beyond the call of duty with your clients is the best way to stay in business and continue to grow your freelancing career. It cultivates a positive feedback loop in your career that will help you grow as a freelancer, push yourself to new heights, and your clients will recognize it.

Always do your best to under-promise and overdeliver so that your client is always blown away by the work you do, the speed at which you do it, and the outstanding quality.

When you can do this, they’ll automatically gush about you to their social network both online and off.

Time It Right

You might get the feeling that a client loves your services. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can just outright ask them for a referral whenever you feel like it. There’s a right time and place for everything!

In general, a good time to ask for freelance referrals is at the end of the project. If the client’s already raving about the quality of your work, this is a natural time to ask them for a good word so you can get more business in the door.

Kindly ask them to leave a review on Google, Facebook, Upwork, or anywhere you can receive them.

Even if you don’t have a public profile to send them to, you can collect them in written form through and email or text message and be sure to ask their permission to share on your social accounts, through emails to prospective clients, on your website, etc.

Always ask while the project is fresh on their minds. If you wait even just a week or two you will find that the responses will drop dramatically the longer you wait.

Also, be sure to ask them to send any friends, family, or colleagues your way if they know anyone who may need your services. You would be surprised how many people respond to that request with something like, “oh yeah! I am glad you reminded me, my friend Steve could use your help!”.

Send Out “Thank You” Notes

A fantastic way to reel in reeling in referrals is to send out “thank you” notes! Whether you choose to handwrite and send snail mail, or type up notes for email, make it clear that you sincerely appreciate your clients and enjoyed working with them.

Because you’ve shown your appreciation and gratitude, this will put your clients in a better mood. You can then end your note with a small nudge for them to refer you to their friends and family or to leave a good review for you on your page.

Thank you notes are something that are so commonly overlooked in business these days, but it is something we implement with all of our clients as it tends to lead to clients coming back or sending you referrals.

When was the last time you received a personalized thank you note? I am willing to bet that it made an impression.

Set up a Freelancer Referral Program

Rewards are always a great way to motivate previous clients to send referrals your way. Something as simple as offering a $20 Amazon Gift Card for any closed deal can be enough to get people motivated to refer you.

You don’t want to offer rewards for reviews as that is totally unethical but incentivizing people to send you more leads is a great way to drum up more business.

You can even offer discounted services if you know they are going to hire you again. Anything to motivate them to send your info to someone they know.

No Clients? No Problem.

If you are new to freelancing and don’t have any clients yet, I am sure you are rolling your eyes at this point, if you have made it to this point (and thanks for sticking around if you did!).

The best part of all of this is that you don’t need clients to pull this off. You can simply ask your friends, family, colleagues, fellow students, coaches, or anyone you know personally.

Some of the same rules apply though. Be sure to ask at a good time. Perhaps you just helped a friend move, or helped someone at school overcome an issue with their homework, or anything else for that matter that would make someone more likely to do you a favor.

Now simply ask them if they know anyone who could use your services. Tell them you are just getting started in freelancing and need to build a portfolio and would be willing to provide your service at a discount to do so.

You would be surprised how well this works. I would implore you to do this once a week. Don’t be shy, you will be amazed at how willing people are to help you out!

Getting Referrals Is Easy if You Do It Right

Getting referrals might’ve been something that was previously daunting. But as you can see, if you go about it in the right manner, it’s actually very easy!

So work your magic, exceed expectations, and you’ll see those referrals coming through.

Want to learn more about being a freelancer? Then apply to the School For Freelancers now!

We greatly appreciate you taking the time to read our blog! If you found this useful please be sure to share it with your network! If you have any questions about our program be sure to contact us. Thanks again and happy freelancing!

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