Hundreds of freelancers got together last night to talk about How to Build Your Client Base at our first ever Spark event! In LA, Phoenix, Minneapolis, and a dozen other cities around the country, newbies and seasoned freelancers across all industries shared their top client-hunting strategies.

Here are just a few bits of wisdom that we shared:

  • Don't be afraid to ask clients for a referral, if they liked the work you did.
  • The natural evolution of freelancing evolves from trying to be everything to everybody at first to getting really clear about the exact type of client and work you want. Use this clarity to refine your website, social media, and client pitches.
  • Different types of marketing work for different people—there's no one1-size-fits-all solution.
  • You have to measure your strategies and see if they're getting you the results you want. This is especially true for any type of free work.
  • Referrals (client referrals and personal referrals) came in as the best way of finding great clients. The strategy—do great work!
  • Being a nice and giving person is the best way to attract clients in unexpected places. Doing pro-bono work for a good cause, connecting like-minded folks, and helping others when you can gets you good karma.
  • Attend events, and join a professional association.
  • Create content (newsletter, blog, twitter) to express your expertise in your field, and keep folks up to date on what you're doing. Sending a quarterly newsletter is a great way to stay top of mind for clients (and update them on new skills, projects, or accomplishments).
  • Ask for informational interviews with folks you admire.

Missed last night? Don't worry, this is a monthly event! Come to our next one - Freelance Tax Workshop - on March 11th! And you can still join in the discussion in our online community, Hives.

Thanks again to all the awesome freelancers who came out last night. Here are a few snapshots -- check out the all the highlights at #FreelanceSpark!

Keep learning and connecting. #FreelanceSpark #networking #theyard

A photo posted by Spencer Gordon (@snapspencer) on Feb 19, 2015 at 7:43am PST

Thank you @freshbooks for feeding our #freelancespark pic.twitter.com/6Rb9MXvhaK

— Kleverdog Coworking (@kleverdogcowork) February 19, 2015

Breaking out in small group discussions at the @freelancersu event at The Yard in #greenpoint. #FreelanceSpark pic.twitter.com/3TxEJ4aGGR

— alyssa (@haakalyssa) February 18, 2015

Loved tonight's @FreelancersU Spark meeting @grindspaces. Thanks to all who came out. The cold can't stop our hustle! 😊 #FreelanceSpark

— Adam Jun (@oAdamJun) February 19, 2015

See you next month!