Offering a service to others in exchange for pay is a great way to work at home. It’s how I got started, and it’s how countless other work-at-home-ers got started, too. No matter what service you’re providing, the very real truth is that you’re surrounded by potential leads, both online and in your daily life. All you have to do is know how to capture them!
One of the best places to find great leads for your freelance business is on Facebook, and specifically in Facebook groups. Here’s the thing about working the Facebook groups, though: you absolutely can’t be spammy. There are tons of spammy people in all of these groups — you’ve probably seen them if you’ve spent much time in any group. You do not want to be like them, trust me!
The great news is that it’s completely possible to build your new freelance business by finding clients in Facebook groups. You can do it without being spammy, and you might just make a few awesome connections along the way, too! One of the things I love about the method I’m about to lay out for you is that it means you aren’t cold-pitching, pestering all your contacts, or being obnoxious.
Here’s my take on how to get freelance clients in Facebook groups: you focus on helping people solve their problems. The more you can implement from the plan I’m about to lay out for you, the better off you’ll be next month!
Step 1: Optimize Your Online Presence
Before you start working the Facebook groups, you need to get your digital self in order. First things first: your personal profile. Your personal profile should be set up to point people to your freelance business.
Make sure your profile picture is a nice, clear headshot of yourself. It doesn’t have to be a glossy studio image, but it should be nice and clean. This is your first impression in these groups, so keep it neutral. No pictures of dogs, kids, pranks, or someone else’s shoulder that’s half-cropped out. Boring? Maybe. The right decision for your business? Definitely.
Your header image is up to you. I like to have a header that promotes my business, but it’s not a “must do” the way a good headshot is. If you’re serious about drumming up work, though, I’d recommend a professional-looking header that includes your business name and/or services.
Next, you need to set up a business page on Facebook. This can be your “home base” if you haven’t built a website yet. Make sure you have a few posts on the page to keep it from looking like a ghost town, and try to keep the content there moving. I won’t tell you to post daily, but do try to post something at least once a week if not 3-4 times a week.
Step 2: Join Relevant Facebook Groups
There are tons of Facebook groups for all kinds of people. Figure out where your ideal clients might be hanging out and talking about their needs, and then go there. For example, if you specialize in working with small local businesses, you might want to join groups for business owners in your area, the Chamber of Commerce groups nearby, and maybe even some parent groups. Small business owners are often parents, after all! If you want to focus on being a VA for bloggers, look for groups designed for bloggers.
Join as many groups as you can. I’d aim for at least 20, maybe as many as 40. Make a list of all the groups you’ve joined, and once you’re accepted to a new one, add it to the list. Be on the lookout for more groups, and feel free to drop any “dead” or useless groups. Once you’re accepted to a group, scan the recent posts to see what kinds of conversations are happening.
Another thing you can do to find great Facebook groups is search for lists of “the best Facebook groups for XYZ,” with XYZ being your ideal client and/or being service providers like you. For instance, if you want to be a VA who works with wedding photographers, look for groups for VAs and also groups for wedding photographers. (People who want to hire a VA will often go to VA groups and post job opportunities. Plus, it’s always a good idea to plug into your own scene.)
Finally, make sure you get into some groups specifically for online entrepreneurs. You’ll get a great sense of what’s going on in the internet-based business world, you’ll get support for your own business and make some really valuable connections, and you’ll find all kinds of people who need the help you can offer. Some great general groups for entrepreneurs include Boss-Moms, Living the Laptop Life, and Savvy Business Owners.
Step 3: Start Solving Problems
Once you’ve joined some relevant groups, start looking for opportunities to help people. That’s your ultimate goal here — to find people with problems and to help solve them.
It’s best if you can solve someone’s problem right there in their post — this gives you visibility in addition to being really helpful to that person. If you don’t know the answer, see if you can find a blog post or tutorial that answers the question or offers a solution. The goal is to be as helpful as possible and to look like you know what you’re talking about.
If and when it makes sense, you can also offer to go “offline” to chat over Skype, Zoom, or private message or email. This can be helpful if someone needs a walk-through or something like that. Making that one-on-one connection with the right person could mean a new client for you!
Refer to your list to make sure you’re hitting as many of your groups as possible. Set a goal for yourself of answering at least 5 questions every day. Better if you can make it 10! If you can do that, you’ll have some new clients in hand in no time.
Step 4: Use Promo Threads
Many of the groups you join will have a designated self-promo thread, usually once a week. You’ll even find this in community groups and things like that. It’s an often-used method of containing self-promotion and spam, and it’s a great way to advertise yourself without irritating people. Make a note in your calendar of what days each group has their promo threads, and post in them consistently.
Make the most of these self-promo threads by working on a great pitch for your services. Keep it brief and emphasize what you have to offer and why that will benefit your prospective client. I’ve started seeing introduction graphics that go along with this type of post. They’re kind of like a colorful digital business card that includes a photo of you.
Read through these promo posts to see what offers strike you as particularly well written, and study those to see why they’re so great. Keep improving your own template, and make sure to keep a “master copy” handy to make it easy to copy and paste.
Step 5: Follow Up With Leads
There’s a saying in sales — the fortune is in the follow up — and it’s absolutely true when it comes to service provider leads, too. The #1 rule to landing work is this: Be Responsive. It’s especially critical to be responsive when you’re running your business online, with people who you might never meet face to face.
Respond to leads and inquiries as quickly as you possibly can. Same goes for your clients — don’t let them wonder if you got their message. Watch every email and respond!
Responsiveness is reassuring. It lets your leads and clients know that you’re still there, that you’re doing the work, and (ultimately) that you’re legitimate. You aren’t going to just up and disappear, leaving someone stranded and possibly out of all the money they paid you up front. It builds confidence and trust, which are two important things your clients need to feel toward you. So don’t put it off!
Give It a Try!
Have you ever looked for work in Facebook groups? Whether you have or you haven’t, give this method a try and see how it goes for you. Come back here and let me know your results!