I have been working as a web design freelancer for the last 6 years. All was good, but for the last 1 and half years, I am not getting sufficient projects. I have accounts in UpWork and Guru (paid membership) and bids regularly. While searching internet, I found LinkedIn as good source of lead generation, but unfortunately that has not worked for me. I have used their sales navigator and advertisement services.
You have four jobs to do.
1. Attract/identify leads.
2. Qualify those leads.
3. Convert the qualified leads.
4. Fulfill the orders.
Do you have a system for each of these?
4. can lead into 1. with referrals.
You want as pre-qualified a lead as you can get.
Qualifying is filtering. In or Out, doesn't matter which.
Do you know your numbers?
How many qualified leads do you need to know you'll get a project? This is different for every person or business. For me, I need a very small number of qualified leads to make a sale. For you, it might be different.
How many unqualified leads do you need to get one good qualified lead?
Back out into the activities you need to be doing every day. I'll bet (no offense; so are 99.9% of other people) you're sitting there and hoping stuff will come your way. Maybe spending 30 minutes a day looking for new work. Well that is not enough. Needs to be 70% or more of your time spent prospecting! Guaranteed that your prospecting activity, like everyone else's--mine included--is too low.
Fill your funnel.
Unqualified leads >>> Qualified leads >>> Sales.
Work back from the end result.
How much money do you want to make in a month?
How many sales does that mean you need to make?
How many qualified leads does that mean you need?
And how many unqualified leads does that require you to get?
Now you can see how many conversations you need to be having...you can break this down to every week or every day.
In my business, for instance, and remember my numbers will be different--perhaps VERY different--from yours, I need 1 sale a week.
To get that 1 sale, I need 4 qualified leads to ensure I get that sale. Could be 1 in 2 but let's say 1 in 4 to be safe.
Now the funny bit about my business: while conversion for me is easy, finding qualified leads is hard. There are many tire-kickers and broke people who want my help, but are not mentally or financially in the position to afford it. So I need MANY unqualified leads to get one good one!
Again, your business could be different. So let's say I need 20 unqualified leads to get 1 qualified lead.
This means my revenue plan for the month looks like:
20 x 16 = 320 unqualified leads >>> 4 x 4 = 16 qualified leads >>> 4 sales
320 unqualified leads!
If I sit around, hoping passive marketing does the job, will I ever get there?!
I need to plan out my activities based on
Video marketing (Youtube)
Referrals (these are great; the way I set it up, 2 referrals virtually guarantee 1 sale; so these 2 referrals take the place of 80(!) unqualified leads, which I can now subtract from my total)
Talks to audiences
and whatever other marketing efforts you decide to run.
The point here is: do you have a plan? Until now, I doubt it.
Almost nobody does.
And do you have a high-enough activity level to support your money target?
Most people do not.
And then they wonder why they didn't succeed. They were beaten before they began, and terrifyingly they had no idea.
It depends on your skill level and experience. I'm working with a full stack programmer who used to work for a successful online radio station for over 5 years as Sr. Developer, and I've generated over 40k worth of freelance projects in just two months by using sites like Angel.co, StackOverflow, Behance, applying direct on company sites and a few other hacker boards. There is a skill and a tact to get the leads I've discovered. I'd be happy to share all my tips with you over a call anytime.
We've had our web design agency for the last six years, and I can tell you that when we first started (we're a husband and wife business), I never looked at Upwork or Guru or whatever because the idea of providing highly-skilled, very technical work on professional standards for what would amount to below minimum wage just wasn't palatable to me. I feel those sites are degrading, dehumanizing, commodtize what we do and give false impressions to small business owners that quality, professional-level work can be gained for pennies on the dollar. It's like doing your own dental work or trying to drive a self-built car on the interstate.
I'd recommend you print up a stack of high quality business cards and/or brochures and simply go to industrial parks and office parks and go door to door and just introduce yourself. Be prepared to answer questions of all kinds: why you can't fix their jacked-up Wix site, what is SEO, "I thought all websites were free," and so on. I've met them all: from people debating what a website actually is, to people asking me to teach them how to become developers for free, to drunks who got other drunks to build sites for them at pubs in exchange for beers.
But "hitting the pavement" is still one of the best and more economical ways to get out there and promote your business. But as I said, be prepared in advance to answer every type of question possible, discuss pricing packages, hosting, fixing broken sites, etcetera.