In this article, you can find an extensive list with actionable tips on how freelancers in Belgium can find, get and keep clients. Real freelancers have contributed with their best tactics. This list is created by Freelancers in Belgium, a community empowering people to start and grow their own independent businesses.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to revamp your freelancing career, this collective wisdom will help your freelance journey.
- Online platforms and job boards
- Online visibility and social media
- Amplify word-of-mouth with testimonials and referrals
- Develop your skills
- Thought leadership
- Proposal hacks
- Other unique en highly creative tips
Online platforms and job boards 📲
2. Subscribe to get notified via email when new jobs in your field are entered on LinkedIn.
4. Find remote jobs with startups on this platform.
5. Mark yourself as ‘open for work’ on LinkedIn. You can do this “incognito” too so that only recruiters can see this.
6. The European institutions often work with freelancers. Check available positions here.
7. Check University Career centres for open positions.
10. List yourself or find interesting companies on a Belgian business directory, e.g. Belocal.
11. Visit job fairs as a freelancer.
13. When you attend conferences; skip the talks and instead speak with as many people as possible.
14. If you attend online events, make sure you add your full name and title to your screen name.
15. If you attend in-person events make sure to add your full name and title to the badge.
16. Speak at events. Have a topic that is hot and valuable. Approach an organisation that has your target customer as their customer and offer to speak if they are organising an event.
17. Exhibit your work at trade shows and fairs.
18. Organise events, and ask your target customers to come as speakers to share their expertise. It is easier to get a meeting with them if you ask their expertise instead of trying to sell them something
19. Attend workshops that your target customer participates in too. It is likely that you will be the only freelancer there.
Online visibility and social media 📸
20. Make sure when people Google you, that you have an updated profile on all relevant social media profiles saying what you do, for whom and how they can contact you, e.g. LinkedIn, Instagram, Google My Business, Facebook…
21. Be active on the social media platforms where your clients are.
22. Post content regularly for your connections and prospects. This way you consistently stay on top of their minds, resulting in your name being the first they think of when needing a certain service or expertise.
23. Be active in Facebook groups that are relevant to your field of work.
24. Create a post on your Facebook tailored to letting your friends and family know what you are doing and what you are looking for.
27. Incorporate social proof by asking a customer to refer you to “Looking to hire (expertise)” posts on social media.
28. Share a video about yourself on social media.
29. Make an original call for clients on social media.
30. Publish your monthly agenda on social media. (Example)
31. Publish a recap of your year on social media. (Example)
32. Publish your projects and customers on social media, both new and completed ones. You can also use the post suggestion function on LinkedIn. (Example)
33. Join LinkedIn groups where your potential clients are, and connect with relevant members.
35. Invest in Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
36. Create an impressive online portfolio.
37. Offer to write guest posts for industry blogs or websites.
38. Offer to write a blog article for free for your target customer.
39. Include a link to your portfolio in your email signature.
40. Local SEO: Optimize your website for local search traffic.
42. Search Facebook to see if there are groups with job opportunities in your field of work and make sure you turn notifications on for new entries. One example is a “Opdrachten & Vacatures in Marketing en Communicatie“.
43. Subscribe to get notified about new job ads in the Freelancers in Belgium Facebook group.
45. Partner with agencies in your sector and become a freelancer they can outsource work to.
46. Join your local Chamber of Commerce to connect with businesses in your area. Find a list of all Chambers in Belgium here.
47. Connect with fellow freelancers in the Facebook group “Freelancers in Belgium”. Most freelancers have gotten assignments through their network of peers. Check this list to find more reasons why connecting with freelancers is good for you and your business.
49. Leverage your school or university alumni network.
50. Contact your previous employer(s) to see if you can help them.
54. Ask a successful freelancer if he or she can mentor you and outsource work to you.
Amplify word-of-mouth with testimonials and referrals 🗣
56. Offer amazing service and do good work. Deliver quality work before the deadline. Communicate pro-actively. Create emails that are easy and quick to answer. Add value by giving advice and sharing resources and referrals, spot opportunities for your client, and solve problems.
58. Make it easy for your client to write a testimonial by giving him or her a template of questions to answer; What project did you do, what was the best thing about working with you, and who would you recommend the services to? You can also use LinkedIn’s handy Recommendation feature or a form.
59. Use testimonials on your website, email signatures, social media profiles and posts.
60. Ask for referrals after every completed assignment. Here is a template for inspiration, written by the author of ‘Freelance like a boss’ & Freelance SEO Writer, Shea Karssing:
It’s been a pleasure working with you on (what you do) and I’m thrilled with the results we’ve been able to achieve – (results).
I currently have a gap in my schedule, and I was wondering if there’s anyone in your network who could also benefit from my services? If we’d be a good fit, please pass my details along. I would really appreciate it.
61. Always thank the people who referred you and update them about the projects you got thanks to them. This way you stay on top of their mind.
68. Ask your potential clients out for lunch. If you are a new freelancer, tell him or her that you are starting out and would be grateful to get some tips. If you are more advanced, say you are exploring and developing a new service and need his or her advice.
69. Send personalised snail mail, something to eat, or gifts to potential clients introducing your services.
73. Offer free tasters and consultations to potential clients.
Develop your skills ⭐️
76. Upskill or reskill to have valuable expertise in demand. E.g. a web designer learning how to implement HubSpot.
Thought leadership 🧠
80. “Books, e-books or a dedicated magazine are always a great opener to show what you know, and you can send it to potential clients, who will appreciate the gesture so that they can get some knowledge to do it themselves, and for the tricky stuff, they can hire you.”
Tip by Freelance Digital Marketeer, Sanne Van Broeck.
84. Host webinars or workshops where you invite potential customers to share your expertise.
Proposal hacks 😎
Other unique en highly creative tips 🤩
89. Pitch stories about your work to local media. Just make sure it’s a story worth telling. For example, the event photographer David Legrève, got covered when he made a photobook and an expo with pictures he took about living in COVID lockdown times.
92. Rent a desk in a local co-working space. Type “co-working” in your area on Google Maps to find ones near you.
93. Rent a desk at your potential client’s office. Check who has office space available via Worklib.
94. Volunteer for not-for-profit organisations that align with what you stand for and want to support + where you can either get to know people who can help you advance in your career and/or learn interesting skills.
95. Organise a contest where you offer a free prize including a taster of your services
96. Distribute flyers to local businesses.
97. Hang up cards or posters in local supermarkets, especially if you offer services to individuals.
98. Collaborate with Influencers: Identify influencers or thought leaders in your niche or industry who have a substantial following. Reach out to them and propose collaborations or partnerships. This could involve co-hosting webinars, co-authoring articles, or any other mutually beneficial project. Leveraging their existing audience can help you gain exposure to potential clients who trust the influencer’s recommendations.
99. Advertise your services in local newspapers.
100. Send “a just because” gift to all your old clients. Don’t do it on Christmas because then they get gifts from other partners so they don’t have time to respond.
101. We know we said 100 tips, but here’s two more for you! Connect with the people on this list on LinkedIn who you think shared the best tips and send them a compliment and a thank you.
102. Last but not least: check out this video by Accountable with tips about getting clients. Subscribe to get updates about future tips and videos. ⤵️
Become a member of Freelancers in Belgium
In the world of freelancing, finding, securing, and maintaining clients can be challenging. However, with the wisdom and expertise shared by freelancers who have walked the path before you, your journey becomes more manageable and rewarding.
Remember, the key is not only to identify where potential clients may be hiding but to consistently deliver exceptional work, overdeliver when possible, and be present where your clients are seeking solutions. By following the strategies and tips outlined in this guide, you’re on your way to building a flourishing freelancing career, one client at a time. So, take the knowledge you’ve gained and apply it diligently to turn your freelancing aspirations into a thriving reality.