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  • Writer's pictureRia Mohta

On sourcing clients and getting work

As you step into the world of freelancing, while you're enjoying the fruits of the freedom of working as per our own schedule, setting your own timeline and taking an off on weekdays (if you feel like) a bigger elephant to address is "now how do I get clients?" More importantly, how do I find the right ones.

I started freelancing when I was in college and thoroughly enjoyed the process. You see - still being a student allowed me explore more and take more risk. I wasn't so concerned about money so I just took up any work that came my way and I also made some huge mistakes. Well, thankfully I happened to work with the nicest people (except this one lady from Mumbai who didn't pay me) so I wasn't drilled for the hiccups and It only helped me grow more as professional. Now that I'm done with the hard part and know more about the do's and dont's of freelancing. I sit here to write this blog based on my observations. Hoping it be useful to anyone struggling with the same.

Now although I'm gonna list down some obvious ways to source work, I will also try to dive deep into what worked for me. Everyone's journey is different but we also collide in so many ways.

So yes, let's get started.

Looking for your first client.

1. Leveraging existing network

Whether you're freshly out of college, or still a student exploring the freelancing world as a side income or a person looking for a career change.

In most cases, you're likely to approach your family or pears or someone you know personally.

It mostly always starts from an inner circle - which is great because it at-least it helped you get started. But, some people would not find it sustainable as it might not always benefit you monetarily, there's some hesitation involved etc.

You might even have a super supportive inner circle but, the real work comes when you step out of it.

The question then comes - now what? How do I extend my work beyond this inner circle?

2. Make a work portfolio.

Once you have a few projects in hand, it's the perfect time to start working on a work portfolio.

Believe me, having a solid portfolio is the key to finding clients and also attracting the right ones. Think of a portfolio as a small trailer to your work. Would you go watch a film if the trailer is boring? Would you watch the trailer completely if you find the first few seconds boring? The film might be great but would you trust that if the trailer is shabbily put together?

A little check-list might help you with making/updating/maintaining your portfolio.

Number 1 : Tidy it up.

Number 2 : Check if your best works are on the front

Number 3 : Are your latest projects uploaded?

Number 4 : Are the descriptions filled out properly?

Number 5 : Is the sector, the sub-category of the design work listed?

Number 6 : Is your "about" section catchy and well written?

Number 7 : Is the language professional enough?

Number 8 : Do you have any past clients for a review?

Number 9 : Is there an element of personal touch to it?

Most times, especially if you're starting out you might not have brilliant works to display. For that you can always rely on mock projects. Trust me, they get the job done perfectly and no one would judge you for creating a fake client.

I've made a list of some website I loved with good prompts to help you out :

I think that covers the most if it, right? Now that we have a solid portfolio. Let's proceed with "amplifying your work"

3. Utilize Social Media

I personally treat my social media as my second portfolio. I like to have a good mix of candid and professional moments. This helps me give some BTS, ask fellow designers for help, do a QnA, rant about some clients maybe and keep my creative juices flowing.

This also helps me find clients who might have stumbled upon a reel I made about something and have a similar project to offer.

In this digital world - you just cannot underestimate the power of Social Media.

4. Network with fellow designers

Having a strong community and being surrounded by good people will help you so much professionally.

I have personally passed on projects that did not fit my style to a fellow designer who I believe was more suited. And I have been on the receiving end of it too.

Staying connected in the community helps you understand your pricing, how one got that client, how did they go about a project, what they lacked etc.

Once you find yourself in the center of it. You'll really start having fun in your freelance journey.

After all, the more we empower each other the better we come out as designers.

5. Maintain a relationship with past clients

What I love about working on Branding projects is that you mostly work with founders trying to build their brand from scratch. It's amazing to see how your work has impacted their business and understand the drawbacks if any.

Most of the times we tend to maintain a connection with people we enjoyed working with, and they mutually keep it if they had a great experience too.

Your past clients are your most trusted sources of getting you new work. If they had a good experience they are 100% bound to pass it on to their circle. This is helps getting you constant work. More importantly this new lead can also be verified from your past clients so the chances of having a bad experience gets reduced down.

Maintaining a healthy banter, asking them for a testimonial and for recommendation is always great.

6. Look for a less saturated marketplace

If your current marketing platform is feeling to overwhelming. Concentrating on a niche platform can be helpful too.

People find clients from the most unusual places. Unfortunately, I don't have a list to give you since I haven't tried many at the moment. I've stuck to Instagram, Behance and LinkedIn only. So, if you've chanced upon a platform that really got you leads. Feel free to comment down and help fellow designers (including me)

7. Shoot a cold email?

Okay so personally I haven't tried this yet but I have been on the receiving end of a few. Honestly none fructified so I'm not sure how I feel about it.

But, I know people who've gotten their dream projects by shooting up a cold email. So, maybe you can try your luck? Afterall, what can go terribly wrong? No reply?

Well, if your mail went unnoticed due to the loads of mail that person receives, that's okay. Hard luck. But, if someone chances upon your mail and rejects it - that's a hard miss isn't it?

So, to shoot up a cold email. For it to be well drafted is crucial.

And luckily your friend is here to help :)

If your mail sound like this -


Hi, my name is Ria. I am starting as a graphic designer and would like to offer you my services. When can we discuss it?

If yes, kindly never open your mailbox again because you're surely not getting a reply.


Here's a better way


Hi (their name), I am Ria, I recently came across your brand through my friend. (Give them time to react). I love what you're building here especially with .....

Although you have a great product, I couldn’t help but notice a hint of inconsistencies on social media. I work as a graphic designer and specialize in brand design. I believe having a solid brand identity will help you gain more traffic and help your business.

I have a few ideas and suggestions, do you mind if I run some by you and we can see where it takes us?

Better? Your welcome.


8. Go all out.

Not kidding, if nothing else seems to work that well for you. Go all out - your way!

Well to be honest, marketing yourself really hard is not to bad - unless you're spamming everyone you know everyday. Well, you know what? If thats what it takes, do it. Just don't show them this blog if they run after you.

Thank you for reading my blog and hope you learnt something of value today.

I tried to keep it as informative as possible and would love to hear your feedback, suggestions and good movie recommendations in the comment section.

Follow along for more blogs and if you like to buy me a coffee, do check out my shop :)




Apr 28

Insightful as always! Thank you so much for the tips 🤗

Ria Mohta
Ria Mohta
Apr 29
Replying to

Thanks a lot for the appreciation :)

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