Want to know how to attract clients fast as a freelance artist?
You can watch below or read along as you choose. (I recommend watching, because I included dope beats... just saying)
#1 DM is King
Last year I co-founded a brand and recently sold it. One of my roles was in growing the company through social media and very quickly I discovered the power of Direct Messaging (DM). I was literally hitting up 10, 20, 30 people+, per day simply saying - ‘Yo, I love what you’re doing and think you might feel the same way back. Would love to hook you up! Get at me’ Along those lines and the response rate was ENORMOUS. Bottom line - people can’t resist cheekily checking notifications, especially DM’s.
I haven’t had to DM recently as I’ve been blessed with plenty of projects currently, but I’d love to share a cool little testimony of why DM is King.
I saw @goodtype (One of, if not THE largest design account on Instagram) liking a couple of my photos. I thought ‘this is an opportunity here’ so I screen shot those notifications, posted it to my story and basically doted on them for a moment. Being sure to TAG them, so they MAY just see it in their DM’s… Other people must have had a similar experience as they were messaging me saying ‘doesn’t it suck when they do that to you’ ‘I’ve had them like my photos too…’ etc etc. Basically saying ‘good luck getting their attention’. Literally 2 minutes later I get a notification, it’s a DM, from Good Type. Long story short Brooke (you legend) reaches out and says ‘Email me and let’s chat!’, just like that. Now I’m now working with Good Type on a couple of projects and building a cool relationship with Brooke. (She’s super rad)
But that’s literally how easy it is. Sure you could say I ‘got lucky’ but hey - I put in the work, used Instagram in a smart way and grabbed someone’s attention. You can too. You might DM 100 people and 6 may reply and need your service - that’s better than none!
Shout out @GaryVee @CEOMattyJ for continual inspiration and great content.
#2 Ask friends & family - email / txt / call
Do you know how much your friends and family care for you deep down and want you to succeed? The answer may surprise you, but here’s the deal - people want to help people. Put the word out to your family, to your friends in a quick email or text or even better - talk to them in person.
It doesn’t need to be complicated or lengthy. ‘Hey Aunty Jo, as you know I’m building my creative business and I’m looking for clients right now. Is there anyone you know that you could recommend who may or may not need what I offer? Thanks!’
Boom done, send that to all your family and friends. 1 long lost uncle from Sweden might reply, cool - that’s better than none right?
#3 Referrals from previous clients
This applies if you’ve had clients in the past, BUT don’t limit it to just the design industry, they could be clients from when you were a personal trainer (like me) or when you sold fruit and veg at your local farmers market with your Pop.
Hit them up! Just like your family, they will stop and think about how they can help you.
#4 Coffee shop convo
Who’s your coffee local? Could you improve their logo/brochures/feature wall/music playlist (haha)? If yes, wouldn’t they want to know about it? My guess is yes…
Here’s the deal, open your eyes and begin noticing everything around you in your town. The places you visit frequently, their neighbours etc. If you honestly think there’s something they’re missing and something they could benefit from there’s 2 ways you could go about it.
- Go home and create it and take it back to pitch it to them and show that you work hard, you've got ideas and you want to add value to their business.
- Walk in, introduce yourself if you don’t know them and strike up a relationship. Then ask something like ‘Hey if your logo could bring more joy to your customers every time they saw it with a minor facelift would you do it?’
This is the key to ALL of what you do as a creative, business owner and as a human, whether in person or on social media. Simple - how are you providing value to somebody else? Ask yourself that OR how can you provide value to somebody else?
#5 Word of mouth
Word of mouth is a beautiful thing when the ball starts rolling. It does take for you to do a job for your aunty and a project for your neighbour before people can start raving about your work but when it does…. watch out! That’s when the fun begins. (If you're struggling I'd suggest doing a few freebies to get people talking)
Tip: Be sure to really THANK those who refer you work. (This should go without saying)
#6 Collaborate with artists and businesses
Enter competitions, reach out to people you look up to, show interest in businesses. One of the funnest and coolest collaborations for me to date has been working with AS Colour (Shout out Simon, Adrian & the team - legends). Our relationship started when they reached out and asked me to enter their ‘Little Help Project’ which is a competition where local artists enter and a few are chosen to have their design printed up and marketed nationally.
I entered but didn’t make it through, however about a year later they again reached out and said ‘Hey - we really loved your design, we’d love to revisit it and potentially use it’. So it goes to show that things can pay off over time, you sometimes just have to be patient. Since then we’ve built a great relationship and we’re working on some cool things currently together!
#7 Curate your Instagram
This is a whole blog on it’s own, but super quickly:
- Curate your feed, only post your best
- Make sure you bio tells me in 1.5 seconds what you do and what value I will get from following you
- Create a Display Picture that invites curiosity and is relevant to your craft (if you have some weird photo of you eating a hotdog and you claim to be a packaging designer - you’ve lost me already… but hey that’s just me!)
- Just my opinion - make a separate Instagram for your personal selfie driven, pizza eating, weight lifting, food snapping photos! UNLESS those things are tied into your brand and what you do. I just know it’s harder to pull it off than it seems, hence why I have a personal page. Follow me if you’d like to see people who inspire me and people I love @mrbowles
I hope you're enjoying the content I'm putting out into the world! If you have any thoughts, questions or suggestions please, please, please reach out to me. I'd love to hear from you.
Keep growing your hustle muscle!