The single biggest misstep most creatives make in trying to get paying clients comes in not looking at the craft work through a business perspective.
By focusing on this simple shift in thinking you can make huge leaps in landing paid creative work.
Even better? This process works not only for service-based businesses (thats you freelancers and 9–5'ers out there) but can also be applied if you’re trying to sell products.
Here’s how to do it in 6 easy steps:
1. Know Your Target
Start by asking a few simple questions:
Who will to pay for your product services?
What problem are you solving for them?
How are you helping them make money?
The more detailed you can get with the answers the better off you’ll be at finding and landing clients.
2. Stop the Scroll
Now that you’ve done some brainstorming about who your target client is…it’s now time to get their attention.
Do they need a website?
Show web work you’ve done.
Do they get poor engagement on social media?
Show strategies you’ve executed for others.
Don’t have previous work experience?
No problem! Get busy creating your own fantasy projects and showcase how you would work to solve a made up problem.
The goal here is to get that potential client or hiring manager to stop dead in their tracks and ask for more info.
3. Showcase Your Process
Break down case studies into 3 sections:
Utilize a “step by step” approach to take a viewer through a journey.
Here you should be focusing on exposing your thinking, not the output itself.
Anyone can create something cool…but not everyone can do it in a way that makes a business money.
And that’s what clients are looking for when they hire for creative roles.
Less is more.
Only show projects that reflect your best work or your highest profile clients.
By providing the most impactful projects first you can be sure that the person viewing them is seeing exactly what they would need to make a quick yes or no decision.
Every piece of your case study should be talking to the person you’re trying to work with and show how you solved a problem they need help with.
If not, cut it.
5. Build a Funnel
A funnel is simply a way to describe bringing a potential client from “I’ve never heard of you before” to “I’d love for you to work with us”.
How do you do it?
First, utilize current relationships. Can an old client make a new intro?
Then, start to expand your network by setting achievable daily goals for new reach outs.
DM people on social platforms and get better at pitching your services.
Here’s the step where you start to look critically at what’s working and what isn’t.
Are you getting questions about specific work?
Answer those through explanations in your case studies.
Are you getting negative responses at a specific stage of a conversation?
Work to overcome those objections.
Test solutions to overcome the excuses you’re getting from others as to why they don’t need your services.
Begin removing those barriers one by one until you land that new client or job of your dreams.
Don’t make this process more complicated than it needs to be.
A lot creatives tend to get stuck in making portfolio tweaks into infinity…but that’s not where your efforts should be focused.
The idea is to build your portfolio once and then go out and focus all of your energy on selling it, and your work, to people who will pay for it.
If you’re getting feedback that specific projects or explanations don’t make sense…then by all means change them. But make sure that for ever hour spent making those changes you’re spending another 5+ selling it.
You’ll get the jobs you’re after when you connect the right work with the right client.
And the only way to do that is to get it in front of more eyeballs.