7 Steps to Go From Newbie to Landing Your First Client in 30 Days Or Less

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So, you’re serious about giving freelancing a try?

It’s not hard to see why.

The fascination with the laptop lifestyle is driven by bright promises.

Being your own boss…

The freedom of working on your own terms…

And the perks that come with it:

  • 70% of full-time freelancers say it’s less stressful than working in traditional jobs[*]
  • 70% of self-employed say they’re happier with their jobs [*]
  • 63% of freelancers consider themselves financially stable [*]

Plus, there’s the guarantee of escaping office politics, micromanagement by your superiors, and the soul-crushing commute in the metro.

Freelancing is no longer a trend for modern-day workers—it has become a business lifestyle of choice for millions of workers worldwide…

Photo from Facebook[*]

But here’s the thing.

If you’re not doing freelancing ‘RIGHT’…

There’s the looming pressure to constantly find new clients if you want to continue to afford the lifestyle that you have chosen.

And for most freelancers who are just starting out, this serves as a detour sign — a sign that tells them to go back to their secure, stable, and steady office jobs.

But NOT these tough newbies.

These 5 new freelancers have wanted it so bad they were able to snatch their first clients in just 30 days—or even less:

Newbie Story # 1 –  Anchard’s 6-figure journey started at just 5 months in 

Project closed: VA Services for a Marketing Agency and E-commerce Business

A little background about Anchard

Anchard is a full-time government employee with a salary of Php13,650 a month with no SSS, PhilHealth, or overtime pay. He says he’s forced to budget his monthly income, especially because he’s the only one who is providing for his family.

This motivated him to search for online jobs with the goal of earning an additional Php350 each night.

But lo and behold, only 5 months in and…

To date, he has already added Php164,000 to an untouched bank account.

The typical (sad) start

Like how other freelancers started, Anchard turned to Google to find his first freelancing break, but…

The top freelancing platforms haven’t been good to a newbie freelancer like him even if he had tried so much,

"I really struggled and put so much effort in creating a good-looking portfolio, a decent & professional resume, complete and impressive freelancing profile just to land a client. Unfortunately, I cannot even land an interview or a job."

He continued looking for ways until he decided to put a bit of skin in the game…

"I even enrolled in a Php 899 training that promises you to get a client afterwards, but sadly it never happened."

But he didn’t let that discourage him,

“I need to do something kung hindi I will be still the same last year if I won't act today.”

So he persisted…

Not another freelancing guru

Until one day, Anchard saw a Facebook ad about “another self-proclaimed freelancing guru” named John Pagulayan.

But like the other JTL skeptics, Anchard came out the other end of the tunnel as a believer…

All thanks to The Freelance Movement Workshop Group that Anchard was referring to in the screenshot above.

It’s a Facebook Group where John freely shares the lessons on how anyone can get their premium freelance clients.

As to what made him decide to try the new way of getting clients, it’s this:

"Nah! I never hesitated to try it out... The person who is sharing had his results already so I do not have the reason(s) na hindi ko magawa."

His only kryptonite?

It’s getting on the call with the prospects

"Just to be honest I am not confident in doing a discovery call because I stutter. I can speak good English and my accent is good though nauunahan ako ng kaba."

But he had a way around it:

"So what I did is I made my DC to Discovery Chat."

As they say, if there’s a will, there’s a way.No excuses.

ANCHARD’S DAY-BY-DAY PLAY:

Anchard turned from struggling newbie to a fast closer, sealing deals in just 3 days.

And he does it without the calls.

Here’s how it went his first client.

Day 1

Anchard is a member of one Facebook Group where he usually helps people in the customer support aspect of their businesses.

One day, he saw someone needing help so he connected with him and messaged him.

He narrates, “I probed and asked what’s wrong with his business. And I happen to know something about his problem.

So I gave him an option that might solve his problem, then I pitched an offer na hindi ko pa nagawa before, Sinubukan ko lang kasi yun yung nakita ko sa mga post sa Tribe.”

Two things to take note here:

  1. Anchard “happens to know something” about the prospects’ problem.
  2. He pitched a solution (that he saw from the TRIBE) but he has never tried doing it before.

Anchard just trusted the process, offered help, and showed that he has what it takes to get the job done to generate results.

Day 2

Client liked it, deal closed.

I told you we have a fast closer in the house!

But was he able to deliver?

Up until today, he’s still working with this client.

So the answer to the question above is YES.

He has even won his client’s complete trust that he is given access to the client’s personal accounts when there’s a need.

The very same client asked Anchard to quit his day job so he can focus on freelancing. Not only that, the client is investing on his education, training, and learning.

Quick news: Anchard is now a full-time freelancer.

“The journey of being a freelancer is a hell of a ride before the Tribe, just being blunt.

…But because of the group and JTL as the head, it was easier. All I know that we owe something from this guy and my way of saying thank you is Prayers of Wisdom.”

He got to where he is by just being an action taker.

His advice to newbie freelancers

His advice came from the oldest book of all time.

You have been given the ability to produce wealth.” Deuteronomy 8:18

According to him, most successful people are doing this without knowing that they are actually doing God’s Divine Word.

And in freelancing, it helps if you hold on to this belief.

What’s his next plan for his freelancing career?

It’s simple.

  1. Learn a premium skill
  2. Create a 7 figure income before Q3 of 2020
  3. Build & open opportunities to others
  4. Build another business for multiple – income flow
  5. Retire young & build others…

The takeaway: GRIT, trusting the process, and deep faith can make your dreams a reality even if the situation that you’re in right now isn’t ideal. If you want to change where you are right now, you just have to do something.

Newbie Story # 2 – Christi getting paid $375 for 2.5 hours of work and more

Project closed: Social media content creation (organic and paid) for an agency owner in surrogacy industry

A little background about Christi

Christi isn’t exactly new to the world of freelance, but she started with no knowledge of social media marketing (SMM).

Her new freelancing life began when she decided to let go of a client who was paying her so little to be his online business manager—and in a full-time, graveyard setup.

She was so stressed that she decided it’s not worth it anymore. She needed a change in her freelancing career…

And it came when she got paid $375 for only 2.5 hours of work. And another $1,500 for social media content creation.

Let’s rewind back to her corporate days

She confessed,

"I'm not a good employee. I just log in and log out, I don't aim to be the best. I am often exhausted going to and from work because of traffic jams. I don’t like limiting work environment and culture that do not appreciate innovations.

That's why I took the chance to be a freelancer.”

She has been doing freelancing since 2007, but the TRIBE got her excited to know what she can do different to win clients aside from polishing her resume all the time.

And this is the result.

Let’s see how she did it.

CHRISTI’S DAY-BY-DAY PLAY

Day 1

Let’s talk about the $1,500 social media project that she did for an agency owner in the surrogacy industry.

She saw this client from a job board, guru.com.

"I applied and told her I can help. Then we talked on Skype. I did not even hop on a call with her, we just chatted.

I just used some of the techniques I learned from John's email.

The offer was initially low, $350 per month, but I still shared the steps I will take to help her close clients and help her grow her Facebook Group."
Day 2

The client reached out, telling Christi that she wants to know more.

And she was able to close the deal through chat, “I was surprised when before the day ended, she sent me a contract with the offer and I started the same day.”

She adds,

“Even though I went through a job board, the instance that the client responded to me, I immediately used the ‘get to know the client and build a relationship’ style. 

I just followed the advice that I must talk less and listen more.”

Her advice to newbie freelancers

“Be aware of the impostor syndrome. 

Often times, we have hovering self-doubt that enhances the fear we have. 

We always question ourselves if we are good enough or what if someone finds out that we are not good enough. 

I want them to know they are good enough and that they can be better. They just need to trust themselves to take a leap of faith. And to learn to embrace a different mindset.”

Relax, impostor syndrome happens even to the best of freelancers.

Cat DiStasio, a freelance content marketing writer says,

“Impostor syndrome is a real thing, and it’s terrible. It steals countless wells of self-confidence and ambition from untold masses of freelancers, often at crucial make-or-break moments in their careers.” [*]

What’s her next plan for her freelancing career?

As with the other newbies here, Christi is skipping several steps in her career ladder and goes all the way up.

I am actually in the infancy stage of my coaching career and putting up an agency. Right now, I have 4 ladies under my wings and our aim is to acquire clients this October so each and every one of us will have premium clients.

We've decided to offer social media as our service.  :) ”

Putting up an agency is already big enough, but Christi is adding a coaching career into the mix.

The takeaway: If you feel stuck in your freelancing career…If things haven’t been working the way you want them to for the longest time… If you’re struggling to break your current ceiling or hitting a new milestone… Pause and believe that you can push through it. Perhaps you just need to do things differently this time.

Newbie Story # 3 – Avirie landed her first client in just 4 days 

Project closed: Lead generation through LinkedIn using Sales Navigator, Web Design and Logo design

A little background about Avirie

Avirie was an Executive Assistant who resigned from her day job to focus on freelancing. Aside from her inexperience, another challenge was not getting the support that she needed from the people around her.

But she just kept on going…

If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have bagged an Php80k per month consultant role — WITHOUT experience.

How it all started

It was a Facebook ad that led Avirie to discover the TRIBE. 

Avirie retells, “I was so excited and at the same time curious of who JTL (John The Legend) is so I did my research and it seemed to be legit and since then I’m always looking forward to his name in my inbox everyday.”

When she took the leap

Avirie has zero knowledge about freelancing when she pursued it, “I don’t want to sell my time for just little compensation anymore. I know my worth and it is my say on how I would like to be paid.”

So she decided to resign so she can focus on freelancing. 

She trusted the process, pushed herself to get results, and set a deadline for her goal.

But it was hard, “I had received rejections from my husband and from the people that I tried connecting to.”

How did she turn the negativity into positive affirmations?

It’s the mindset ofalways coming from a place of help“.

This made her believe that it is her responsibility to serve clients, “Then, I realized that they should be flattered with me reaching out to them coz’ of the value that I can provide.”

HERE’S AVIRIE’S DAY-BY-DAY PLAY:

Day 1 – She found her market

Choosing a market to serve is one of the first lessons that we have on the TRIBE.

So after picking a market, Avirie searched for Facebook Groups where her target clients belong to and joined those groups.

Day 2 – She commented on a post in an FB Group

Avirie saw a post inside one of the Facebook Groups she joined. Somebody needs help on her Shopify store.

She commented on the post, sent the prospect a message, and then added her on Facebook.

Day 3 – Prospect responded

Her prospect replied so Avirie invited her to a call, but the prospect refused. 

Instead of giving up on this lead, Avirie accepted her decision and went for a Discovery Chat instead. 

That conversation started their constant communication which led to a request for a proposal..

Day 4 – Proposal sent

After Avirie sent her proposal, the prospect agreed to it right away!

Day 5 and 6 – The waiting game

. . .

Day 7 – Payment sent

Money went straight to her bank account and they started the project.

What’s m​ore?

Her first client loved her work so much that she gave Avirie support on the same Facebook group…

…and this helped Avirie get even more clients.

Her advice to newbie freelancers

Avirie’s ‘WINS’ started when her mindset shifted.

She stripped off everything she felt she knew about freelancing and became open to learn about a different way of doing freelancing.

When she did, she was able to close an 80k monthly consulting deal even WITHOUT experience.

The CEO even commended her, “I think you could be a better fit for a business development consultant post.”

Aside from the new role, she’s currently working with two more clients:

  1. Two mindset coaches in Australia and the UK where Avirie helps them get more prospects for their businesses.
  2. An online store owner in Texas where she helps them recover lost sales.

She wants to tell newbies this:

Always keep in mind that you’re up to something bigger and better than being paid for an hourly rate.

When things get tough, here’s her advice.

“If you feel and you think that you’re failing, just rest, think, focus and work again. Whenever you get overwhelmed, just breath and focus—one step at a time. 

Don’t ever give up. Giving up is the only thing that can stop you from succeeding.

When it comes to courses, Avirie has an important reminder, “Don’t just enroll on a course and not earn from it or not even use it.”

What’s her next plan for her freelancing career?

Avirie’s going for the home run right away,

“I was up for a big project of putting up my own agency for shared services catering to freelancers hopefully before this year ends or by early next year.”

It’s practically going from newbie to an agency owner for this lady.

The takeaway: When you start thinking that prospects need you more than you need them, you’ll feel a deep sense of responsibility to help them rather than impress them. The pressure of you closing them will be stripped away, making your communication with them more natural, authentic, and smooth.

Newbie Story # 4 – Jesy going from proposal to hired in 3 days

Project closed: Bookkeeping services

Jesy is beating the norms here.

Firstly, she has a traditional role, an accountant. And we naturally think that accountants work in an office, get employed locally, and needs to be personally face clients to carry out the work..

Second, she applied JTL’s method in a freelancing platform, Upwork.

And it worked out for her.

The st​art

The words “nervous”, “afraid” and “lack of confidence” emerged when Jesy was asked how she was feeling the day that she decided to try JTL’s method of finding clients.

But it only took her 3 days to close her first client on Upwork.

JESY’S STRAIGHTFORWARD DAY-BY-DAY PLAY:

Day 1: Sent proposal

Day 2: Interviewed

Day 3: Hired

When asked what she did to close this deal?

“I just added the offer template below in my cover letter”

She instantly hit the nail on the head.

Since Jesy was able to articulate the pains that her client was feeling, her client felt that Jesy knows how to solve her problems for her.

Her advice to newbie freelancers

Never give up.

The takeaway: If you’re coming from a place of help, it doesn’t matter what skill you have, who you serve or where you conduct your freelance business. Showing that you’re willing to help clients make their pain go away will win you a deal.

Newbie Story # 5 – Russell closed a $3,500 project in 6 days

Project closed: Web Design for a Health and Fitness Company

A little background about Russel

Russel was a home-based virtual assistant (VA) for a large online retailer in the United States for 8 months when he realized that he’s TIRED of working for 12 hours a day. 

When he raised this concern to his boss, he was FIRED and his contract ended right then and there.

His comeback?

Closing a $3,500 deal a few days later.

The day he got fired

He adds, “I was so afraid because I doubted myself. I fear the idea of UNEMPLOYMENT.

An FB post that was about to change his life

Two days after he got fired, he saw John Pagulayan’s post about an announcement, which he referred to as “the post that changed his life”.

(Click here if you’d like to check out the post)

The post resonated with him so much he immediately took action after. 

He reached out to Dina, a Tribe member he has been following for a year now. He said Dina’s life and success storieshave inspired him. 

He asked Dina if she can be his mentor.

Now, mentors can make or break you. But finding the right one is one of the best things you can do for your freelance business.

As freelance writer Kat Boogaard said, 

“It’s helpful to learn from someone who’s already faced many of the similar goals and challenges that you’re dealing with. 

And, in a field like freelancing where you’re responsible for so much (from marketing to accounting), it can be especially beneficial to lean on the support of a mentor.”[*]

Coaching day with Dina

Russell described the session as “the most meaningful coaching session in my life”.

His realization?

ALL the TRIALS that he has been through for the past few months were MEANT to happen.

He adds, “Dina helped me drop the barriers that caused me to be AFRAID and DOUBT, and all NEGATIVE factors that affected my PROGRESS.”

Doing what was told

He took the advice seriously—Facebook warned him that he was adding too many connections in a day.

PROTIP: Always track your connections. Have a spreadsheet that tracks the links to the social media or account profiles of those you added and make sure to ‘retract’ your friend request or connection request on those who did not add you back before you go another round of connecting.

He recalls, “I just did what Dina told me to do. Which is to provide value and continue reaching out and expanding your connection.”

His secret aside from doing the CCPP process?

After he wakes up, before he goes to sleep, and whenever he feels overwhelmed while connecting…

He cheers himself, AJA! Kaya ko toh! Makakakuha ako ng clients!”

This was what kept him going plus this belief:

Once you set the correct mindset and apply it, there’s no space for self-doubt.

HERE’S RUSSEL’S DAY-BY-DAY-PLAY:

Day 1 – Russel wrote a value post

A value post is content that provides an insight, a lesson or a new way of doing things. It can be a social media status in any form (text, video or picture-based) that you share on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

If you have no idea what a value post looks like, here’s a good example from VP Alfie:

Day 2 – Somebody commented on his value post

The client messaged him saying that he was able to hit his pain points from the content that he wrote. He is interested in knowing what he could do better in order for him to turn his pain into gain.

Day 3 – He invited him to a call

When he suggested a call, the client told him that he’s very well familiar with the “marketing tactic” that Russell was using.

He didn’t back down from this.

Instead, he assured the client, I am not selling you anything, I am just interested as to why you have the problem that you have been telling me.”

And so, the client agreed to hop on a call with Russel.

Day 4 to 5 – He gave it a rest

After the call, Russel didn’t reach out to the client, but he was still posting valuable content on his timeline for his client to see.

Because of this, the client was the one who did the follow-up, asking Russel about the strategy document that would help him improve his business.

Day 6 – Sent the proposal and closed the deal

He finally sent the proposal with 3 different types of packages: $1500, $1900, and $3500.

BUT…

To which Russell cooly replied…

3 minutes later… 

The client picked his highest $3,500 package!

BOOM, deal closed.

His advice to newbie freelancers

Stick to 1 skill, 1 market, and 1 mindset.

I tried so many skills based on the wins that I have been reading. Hoping that I will have the same success as the ones who were able to close a deal offering the same skill in the same market. This is where I got lost.

The more you imitate someone, the more that you are getting farther from what you want to achieve. 

There’s no shortcut. Take time to understand your chosen skill and market. Then RESEARCH. How do you think will you be able to do this if you base your chosen skill on others’ wins?

What’s his next plan for his freelancing career?

He’s now reaching a point where he can outsource some of his projects and learn new skills that would help him “leverage and dominate the freelancing world”.

But according to him, “He’s taking it slow”.

The takeaway: One of the fastest road to freelancing success is to find successful freelancers who are willing to help. Dina and John are just two of the people whom Russell asked help from. He actually approached other TRIBE members too.

Get your first client as a newbie freelancer

Take inspiration from these 5 real-case stories and snatch your first client like a pro in less than 30 days. Like they did.

If you’re up for the challenge, just follow the 7-step process below.

It’s what we exactly do to get clients even if there’s no portfolio, credentials or experienceperfect for a newbie like you who’s just starting out:

  1. Pick your market. If you have a CLEAR idea of who you want to serve, it will be easier for you to find where your ideal clients are, build your presence in that market, and be seen as an authority because of your specialization.
  2. Choose a skill. Just pick one and go with it. It doesn’t even matter if you know HOW to do it now. Just take a look at Avirie’s and Anchard’s stories. This is the fast lane to attracting your ideal clients—show them how your skill can help get what they want.Learn the skill by doing it and ask help from other experts if you have to. Luckily, these people are surrounded with folks inside the TRIBE so that’s definitely a plus.
  3. Craft your offer. In doing so, remember that your clients don’t buy your services—they buy the RESULTS they ‘think’ your service can give to them. You can state your offer like this…

I help [INSERT TARGET MARKET], [INSERT HOW YOU SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM] or [INSERT WHAT THEY WANT], [YOUR SOLUTION] without [INSERT THE THING THEY HATE MOST].

Here’s an example of how it will sound like: “I help e-commerce stores add another 20-30% in their monthly revenue WITHOUT spending a dime on ads.”

  1. Optimize your profile. By profile, it can mean your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or even your profile on freelancing platforms like UpWork. Which profile doesn’t really matter. The more important thing is that when people see your profile, they should be able to tell what you do, who you serve, and how you can help them.
  2. Reach out. Start asking people if they (or someone they know) NEED your service. Connect with them. If you’re starting out, start with your personal network like your family and friends. You’ll be surprised at the opportunities that could jump right at you.
  3. Prospect consistently.  Freelancing being unstable is a myth. The reason why most freelancers go on dry months is because they don’t have a pipeline of leads. The best antidote to this problem is always spend the first hour of your day connecting with your target market consistently so your pipeline is filled with people wanting to work with you.  Remember, there’s no such thing as an ‘UNSTABLE’ freelance income… only ‘INCONSISTENT’ freelancers.
  4. When doing follow-ups, always give value. The thing is, you wouldn’t always close prospects that you connect with during the first, second or even third conversation. Keep your relationship warm by constantly sending them ideas on how to solve their problems. Done right, they’ll ask you if you can implement it for them and you just got yourself a client.

There’s actually a more detailed guide on this in the FREE WORKSHOP here.

And obviously, there’s a lot more inside the TRIBE so if you want to up your freelancing game, get notified when the TRIBE reopens soon. We would love for you to be in it!

Aiza Coronado Domingcil

Aiza Coronado Domingcil

Aiza writes onboarding emails that help SaaS teams get their users from sign up to success. She used to be a generalist copywriter before she joined SPAG, the first ever TRIBE that John put together. She’s also a mom of a bouncy little boy who adds a bit of crazy, but tons of love, meaning and inspiration to her freelancing days. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.