What are the best ways to get clients without using freelance websites?

Hello everyone
I am planning to be freelancer. I do not mind to use freelance websites like upwork or its alternatives but I wonder are there any other ways to get clients (online) without using freelance websites? if so, what are the best ways?

and many thanks in advance

Go to meetups for other interest groups (besides Web dev).

Once there, while chatting with people admit this is not your area of interest exactly, but that you are a web developer that likes to learn about other problem domains. Ask questions about the thing they are meeting up for and be interested in their responses. You don’t need to keep shilling yourself while there - you are probably the only Web developer in the room and the likelihood that at least someone in the room needs some Web work done.

Be approachable, be visible, and be attentive.

Even if they don’t need Web work today, they will think of you when they do.

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thanks so much for helpful reply. I really appreciate. it is a good idea, but I meant ways to get clients online not offline.

I don’t know if it’s the “best” way per se, but you can try reaching out to website owners who have outdated websites, and offer to either update or “app-ify” their site. Your very first and possibly second jobs this way may very well have to be “pro bono” if you don’t have experience yet.

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There isn’t a great way to do this online, really. The real trouble is standing out from the crowd, finding good clients, and establishing trust.

You could look for listings on Craigslist or whatever your local equivalent might be. Freelance websites have the market, but they also have the competition. To be successful you need to build a reputation and be able to deliver higher quality at a competitive rate. Depending on your location this can be very hard, especially if you live somewhere with a higher cost of living and you’re competing with people that have a lower cost of living and they can consistently undercut you.

The other way is to make yourself more visible online to people doing searches for web developers. You can grind away building online content that is SEO savvy and points to your freelance business, or you can stump up and buy some Google / Facebook / LinkedIn ads to get more eyeballs on your business.

But the online-only pathway to establishing a freelance Web business is going to be harder than being an in-person, live human being that can shake hands and laugh appropriately at potential clients’ jobs etc.

All that said, if you think you can compete with established freelancers in the freelance sites, then go for it. Plenty of people do it, so it must be making someone some money!

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thanks so much for helpful reply. but how can I know they are outdated website? and why their owners in need to update them?

thanks so much for the details. really helpful. please can you tell me how can Craigslist help me as web developer?

Sometimes people advertise for one of jobs on things like CL if they don’t know any better :slight_smile:

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No offense intended at all, but if you have to ask either of those questions, you’re not ready to freelance yet. You’ll know those answers when you are ready.

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no worries. as I said on my post that I am planning to be freelancer but not yet so yes I am still not ready as I am still learning specially we are programmers and we will never stop learning. I am about to finish Front End and that is what made me ask that important question and even
JacksonBates answers and of course your answer too would be very helpful to everyone here including me in the near future. here we help each other and exchange ideas and everyone will win :slight_smile:

Pro bono service to a credible non-profit. When I lived in Austin TX I was able to be a pretty successful freelancer because I did work for a few non-profits for free. I personally love to provide my volunteerism in my craft fro something I thought was a very important need in the world and in doing this, you will be invited to fundraiser events where you will be meeting many business owners, entrepreneurs and various organizers who will want to work with someone who has a genuine passion for something they hold dear to their hearts and if you do a good job the non-profit will help do the marketing for ya. Just make sure your work is up to snuff have a impressive portfolio and a memorable business card ready to give. If your going to provide a service for free make it a long term investment in getting leads for “exclusive opportunities” in jobs for the future.


One good hint when they are not responsive. Open up their website on your mobile phone . LOL you will know.

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thanks for explaining

@Aiizaku that is a great idea. I already think about it. I would like to work for a non-profit, but I am not from USA and my English is not very good. I have been chatting in English online with foreigners for about four years till now. at least I can understand and be understood if they talked in not difficult way. when I read an article, I could understand about 85% or more if it was not so difficult, but if so I just can understand the general idea without understanding every detail. I am afraid my English does not help me when I work as a freelancer although my college study is in English but only in my field as Medical English not general with no grammar or programming.
other thing, I do not know where can I find non-profit online to apply. I just have heard about chingu
and finally thanks so much for the idea. it was really helpful.