How To Start Freelance Work With No Client Base

Freelance work is one of the most popular form of flexible work and alternative in the wave of economic hardship and recession, for anyone to :

> Work on the side for additional income while working full-time

> Make it as a career option. You get the freedom to be your own boss with flexible working hours in a job you are passionate about.

The trend of freelancing has experience significant growth. In Kuala Lumpur alone, freelancer has increased by 31.2% since last two years, and the number is expected to go up across the country.

Getting a freelance work to your job list is hard, especially when you are just starting.

In this post, I’ll share with you few strategies to secure freelance work even you have no client base right now.

How do you start to earn your first paycheck through freelance work?

Firstly, identify what you are good at, examine what you are doing daily now and what’s your job. That could be your best skill of service to offer to your client.

In this 21st century, virtually any service that people outsource or require ad hoc labour could be your freelance work. Thus, freelancing is not necessary limited to skill personnel, accountant, web designer, programmer, architect only.

I have a friend who work as a clerk offers her service as virtual assistant to her expatriate client. She managed to supplement her full time income by helping her client to book ticket plus some administration work.

Now, here are the 3 Tips that will help you to get noticed for freelance work and build your client list.

1. Your Personal Network

Without realize, you have certainly accumulated your personal network over time, both socially and professionally. It is now the most invaluable resources and straightforward way of finding your first freelance work.

Market yourself and spread the word among your network. We have shifted to trust in community, as people tend to use the product and service recommended by friends and family.

Personal recommendation is much more effective than a polished resume, and most clients are willing to fork out more to hire someone recommended. 

freelance work

There are 5 channels of personal network that you can pay attention to market yourself :

  • Keep in touch with your ex colleagues, clients and team in your industry

They know your skills, experience and what you are good at, so they can recommend you in the event any of them or their contact need to hire freelancer.

  • Connect with anyone including your competitor, not just your potential clients or those in your industry.

They know people who know people. Yes, they might not know what exactly you are doing or not use your service, but they have their own personal connection whom is likely use your service one fine day.

And you never know your competitor will want to collaborate with you down the road.

  • Professional networking.

One of the largest professional network to get your gig is Linkedin. If you do not have Linkedin account yet, check it out and create a free one. Many clients and human resource people are looking at Linkedin for talent now.

  • Online Social Network.

Facebook, twitter, instagram, wechat and etc, in fact you network everyday. Don’t forget to post your work in between your delicious food, pet or your adorable children’s posts.

  • Offline Network.

If there’s any association, social event within your industry or even just a coffee chat, make your time to connect with the people that you know or not know.

A small tip from me, keep your contacts and send the new year or festive greeting to them regularly and that will remind them who you are, and tell them what you are doing now if they ask.

A personalize message is more effective and warming than forwarding the photo or standard greeting.

2. Update Your CV

freelance work resumeJob search portal is still very useful even though you are not applying full-time job. Remember to update your resume frequently and keep your resume open for search.

You never know when you will receive call from headhunter or potential client for your service.

Maximize your Linkedin profile, and include endorsement and recommendation from your client base.

There are local freelancing websites with available job bank now for you to post your profile.

Many Malaysians had even acquired jobs from global outsourcing marketplace and gained good reputation and positive feedback. 

3.  Make Proposal To Your Potential Client

Try to target those small business or start-up company. Lots of chance they don’t have enough resources and need to outsource the work.

Approach them personally if you know any of your personal connection might be benefited from your service.

If you are shy, just casually mentioned why they should employ people like you. Generally they will save fixed monthly pay, office utilities and work space.

It make wonder for me as I got one of my job by educating my client during a coffee chat why he should employ a Quantity Surveyor like me to help him do effective project cost monitoring.

It’s possible to get more freelance work even if economy is not good, as the business will tend to streamline their monthly overhead by employing freelancer.

If you want, you can attend full-time job interview at selected company that you preferred. Leave your profile with them, and get them to contact you in case they need you in future.

Writing a job proposal is an art. However, there are many great sample online that you can use.

Focus on solution to your potential client’s problem and sell your strength.

freelance workThe main point of making proposal are

  • Identify their problem
  • Give them solution
  • Sell your strength as solution.


In the end, it’s all about relationship building and networking.

If you simply want to increase your take-home pay, try to consider branching out a little freelance work.

If you do it right with sufficient client base, you can even quit your day job, and make it as your career and home business.

What’s your best tips to secure your freelance work ? 


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