So back in 2013 is when I first started to do freelance content creation work on my own. I had been learning for about a year or so about how to shoot from other creatives. I had a website. I even had somewhat of an idea on what I wanted to shoot. All of that was the easy part though. From there it was all about finding people who would pay a new photographer/ videographer to do work for them. I felt like I knew a good amount of people but those first couple of weeks were rough. NOBODY WAS BOOKING ME…. LIKE AT ALL. These couple of weeks were rough. I started to doubt myself a lot. I thought to myself, “Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” Then my wife asked me “do people even know that you do this now?” That actually made me think about that question. Besides a couple of basic facebook posts where I briefly mentioned it, people didn’t know me for that (around this time people just knew me for doing marketing). After those first couple of weeks I started to put myself out there that got me in front of the right people and then I started to get my first clients.
So with this blog, I want to break down 3 things that led me to getting my first couple of clients as a creative. Before you get started with trying to find your first clients I want to make sure you have a couple of things in place before you hop out there. These are things that are definitely needed. First, you need a portfolio that shows the type of work you want to do and want to be known for (this is very important). Don’t be afraid to create work for free to be able to create exactly what you want for your portfolio. Second, you need a website. As far as the basics, have your portfolio on the website as well as have a way for people to contact you. Keep it simple. Lastly, clean up your social media. Take off the unnecessary personal photos that could turn people off, add some of the pieces of content in your portfolio, and really just make sure your pages aren’t all over the place. So now we got that taken care of, you ready for the real tips????
Tip 1: Tell People What You Are Doing / Post What You’re Doing
This one might seem obvious but a lot of people don’t do it. They just assume that everyone knows what they are looking to do but they don’t. Make a post on your social media pages just speaking about what you are doing, what you are looking to do, why you are doing it, etc. You will be surprised that this will open the door for your family and friends to support what you have going on. This is necessary because your first couple of gigs will come from referrals so you need people to actually refer you right! My first photography gig was taking photos at a friend’s family event. I believe it was a family reunion. Once I killed the photos at this event and posted them onto my social media page, people started referring me for other family-based events.
Tip 2: Post Work Consistently
This one is pretty generic but it works. You have to become top of mind with the people in your circle for what you want to be known for. That means you have to always post your work. So that means you need to always create. If you can create things that are connected with what you want to do then that is even better. When I first started I was shooting pretty much everything and with the way, Instagram was setup you needed to post all the time. So no matter what it was I was posting everything from shoes to colorful sunsets, to people to whatever I thought looked good.
Tip 3: Create Original Content Involving People With Followings
In the words of DJ Khaled, this was my MAJOR KEY. Before I started doing freelance work, I always knew that people loved telling their stories, especially people who don’t get to do it that much. Since I ran music sites before this, one of the easiest pieces of content that I was able to create that led to traffic was interviews. So I thought this same ideology over to getting leads. What I did from there was find people in my area that had stories or followings and just get them to do a video interview that allowed them to tell their story. Once I started to put out these videos, the people who were being interviewed would oftentimes share these videos to their family and friends. That would lead to me getting more followers as well as people who would want to book me for work. Now that I think about it, the first couple of people that I interviewed actually led me to making roughly an extra $1000 a month from one of the people that I interviewed. Needless to say, doing this is what exploded my brand in those first couple of years.
Now that you have learned my tips on how to get your first clients as a creative, please go ahead and try out these tips for yourself and let me know how it works out for you. Honestly, I want to know. Shoot me an email to let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org.