A Year Into Freelancing, Still Struggling to Get Clients

A fledgling freelance photog writes:

I am writing this because I can’t sleep atm. It’s almost a year ago that I made the jump to kickstart my dream as a freelance photographer. So I began, calling up the magazines and business I really wanted to work for and booked some small successes in the beginning. 

Then, I tried a new approach of offering small businesses a free shoot. I started to make as much personal work as I could and promote them on Instagram. I also started going to business meetings where (small) business owners would meet to network and chat.

This went surprisingly well and I met a new business which wanted to cooperate. Which we did! And it was great. We met up a couple of times to discuss a big promotion project but there was one minor problem.. because they just started they didn’t have the funds to pay me so we agreed to do the first one for free. (Which sounds crazy now but I really wanted to work with them as it felt like a good opportunity to get more work.)

Sadly the second assignment came and with it the excuses. They told me that doing this one also for free was ‘a good investment into myself’. I told them some not very nice things which you probably can imagine since I spend weeks with them planning, working things out for the first project without even asking for a penny!

And that is where I am now.. Currently recovering from surgery, broker than ever. Do you mind to share some advice?

Can you see the problem?

Everything our photog friend here tried, individually, is not wrong. Reaching out to businesses, using social media, going to business meetings, even offering “the first one free”.

These things can all work.

But, it’s not the WHAT.

It’s the HOW.

Let me say it another way.

There’s a REASON I send out daily(ish) emails. A reason I have 500+ or so videos on YouTube. A reason I have 400+ blog posts on my blog. Facebook posts, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc, etc.

There’s a reason for all of it.

And, it’s NOT to get clients.

That’s a benefit, but it’s not the goal. It’s much, much more than that. It’s about creating the one thing that gets clients to beg YOU to work with them. The one thing that keeps them from jerking you around when they DO hire you. That makes it clear, without you saying a word, that you are NOT going to do any work for free.

It’s about the most important thing  you can learn to create as a freelancer:


When you establish authority, that YOU are the expert on the topic in question, that YOU know how things should be done and that YOU have a following to prove it…

Clients don’t just hire you.

They don’t just pay your fees without question.

They don’t just come back to you again and again.

They also FEAR YOU.

And, a little bit of fear is healthy. It keeps them in check and puts an end to all the jackassery that clients are capable of. In fact, most freelancers can break their careers into “before authority, after authority”.

Once you get it, your entire paradigm changes.

But, until then, you’ll always feel like you’re struggling.

In any case, authority isn’t something you need to “hope and wish” for. It can be consciously created. And, that’s the real secret to my Turn Content Into Clients course… why 92% of students have said it exceeded their expectations.

Because it’s not really about something as banal as “creating content to get clients”. On the surface, sure… but it’s really about establishing authority, making YOU the expert clients hope they can hire. So you can virtually write your own check as a freelancer.

And, NEVER beg for work again.

Of course, it’s not for everybody. Some people just don’t have the wherewithall to see below the surface and draw out those kinds of deeper lessons. And, those people will always struggle as freelancers.

But, if freelancing is in your soul.

If you’re doing this “come hell or high water”.

Then, I’m confident it’ll be just what you need.

Anyway, you can get access to the course for free over on Skillshare. All the details on the course and how to get free access are here: https://content2clients.com.



P.S. If you have questions about the Skillshare offer, I made a page that explains it in detail here: https://johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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