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Do you have any strategies for building a network with small businesses like you describe? I have 2 or 3 clients right now, not enough work to keep me busy full-time, but I keep them happy and they love my work. I need more clients in order to reach critical mass but I have no idea how to pull it off.



Your best clients are you past and present employers/clients.

If 2-3 represents all of them then I would just put in conversation with them that you'd appreciate any referrals they can make and if you think it would help offer them some financial benefit for it (the amount is culture dependent, I find).

If you exhaust them and the rest of your professional network, try local industry meetups (especially industries that you have made sites for before).

If all else fails then try your luck in the forums and job boards. I suggest taking on small stuff to get your foot in the door and aggressively vetting the personal and business characteristics of new clients for this way.

I'm back to full time employment though so make of that what you will!


Thanks. I'm basically at the point where I've exhausted my network and some of the work has just dried up. I guess this is good, because I've been really efficient and actually gotten some of my clients to a place where they don't need much anymore.

I'm also at full time employment but I miss the autonomy and working from home.


Join a freelance network, like toptal.


The sibling to this by jrumbut has great suggestions! Personally, I made some good client connections through other freelancers in different markets, like video FX and graphic design. They often have clients that also need dev work. Or, sometimes you can find people who want it but don't know it yet; you can start a good conversation like, "you know, there's some good tech out there to add X to your site, so you or your customers could do Y much more easily." Sometimes business owners don't even consider some of the options available to them through commissioning custom software!




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