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Finding Those First Few Freelancing Clients


Today we’re looking at the number one way the Berry-Brewer Agency has earned money in its first six weeks of operation.  This is a post that we’ve long been planning; and once I got to writing, it seems I couldn’t stop!  For that reason, we are breaking this into a series of posts to be shared at Freelance Parent throughout the week.  In the second installment, we’ll delve a little more deeply into how it works.  In the last entry, we’ll give you our overall thoughts on the entire process.  I wouldn’t suggest rushing right out and signing up for anything today, but if you’ve decided by the end of the week that you want to try the same method, go for it. 

Will Write for Food 

Probably the biggest challenge to a freelancer is finding clients.  How do you market yourself so that those who need your services know you’re available?  Of course, sitting down with a professional and creating a well-thought-out marketing plan involving a slick website, glossy brochures, and maybe a television ad during the Superbowl wouldn’t hurt.   

When you’re just getting started, however, hiring a marketing person is probably just as far-fetched as buying airtime during the big game.  While Tamara and I are really excited about the prospect of getting more and more repeat work from local businesses, we knew that marketing directly to them was not something we would be able to afford right away.  Those fancy-dance tri-fold brochures cost a pretty penny, after all.   

In addition to not having funds to invest in marketing, we didn’t have our jobs anymore, either.  Rather than focusing on how to get the agency’s name in front of prospective business clients, we were pretty caught up in just trying to pay the plumber for emergency work in Tamara’s bathroom.  What we needed was some immediate income. 

So, we made a choice on how we felt we could most quickly find some actual, paying work.  This method may be a little controversial, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway, as it’s been the thing that has brought in the majority of our income so far. 

“Guru” Means Teacher – But We’ve Mostly Been Learning 

We set up an account on Guru.com.  As far as I know, they don’t have an affiliate program or give rewards for referrals; so this isn’t me trying to get you to sign up.  Rather, it’s me telling you how we managed to reach our first-month earning goal. 

Basically, Guru.com connects freelancers with employers.  As a freelancer, you set up an account in your area of expertise: 

  • Website Design/Website Marketing
  • Graphic Design/Presentations/Multimedia
  • Illustration/Cartooning/Painting/Sculpting
  • Photography/Videography
  • Writing/Editing/Translation
  • Business Consulting
  • Fashion/Interior/Landscape/Set Design
  • Programming/Software/Database Development
  • Networking/Hardware/Telephone Systems
  • ERP/CRM Implementation
  • Engineering/CAD/Architecture
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Legal
  • Marketing/Advertising/Sales/PR
  • Admin Support


If you’re looking for work in more than one “skill category,” then you have to set up separate profiles for each.  For example, if you have signed up in the Business Consulting category, you can not apply for jobs listed in the Engineering category.  Of course, each skill category is going to cost you, and the price varies for each. 

The process of working through Guru.com goes something like this: 

  1. The employer lists the work needed to be done
  2. You review the job listings and determine which you can do
  3. You submit a bid on the job based on the entire project and/or an hourly fee
  4. The employer reviews the bids and awards the job to the winner
  5. You accept the job officially on the site
  6. The two of you communicate during the process, usually through Guru.com’s Discussion Board
  7. Once the work is done, you submit an invoice through Guru.com
  8. The employer pays the invoice through Guru, and the money is put into your account
  9. Both you and the employer are asked to rate one another after the payment has been made


If you have some time today, go ahead and check out Guru.com and see what types of jobs they have listed in your skill category.  Again, I wouldn’t necessarily rush into signing up, since we’ll be giving you a lot more information in the next couple of days; but seeing that there really is paying work out there might be just the inspiration you needed to get excited about your freelancing business. 

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  • Freelance Inspiration
  • Using Guru.com for Your Freelance Business
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    On October 1st, 2007 at 9:44 pm, holli jo said:


    Thanks for the guru run-down. I was going to look into guru myself - I wasn’t aware that it was one you pay to be a member of.

    Finding the first freelance job is soooo hard. I’ve been at it for weeks (I also didn’t have many writing samples to show.) I finally landed my first job last week, and you can imagine how completely ecstatic I was!

    Anyway, I can’t wait to hear some of the other resources you’ve used. Thanks for sharing!

    On October 2nd, 2007 at 12:01 am, Lorna Doone Brewer said:

    holli jo - I have A LOT more to say about Guru this week, so stay tuned.

    On October 2nd, 2007 at 10:54 am, Laura said:

    I’ve used Guru.com in the past, and even gotten work from there. It is possible to find some good projects there.

    My only word of caution would be to be cautious about the scope of the work that you agree to do for the amount of money agreed upon. (This is true of any bidding site.)

    On October 2nd, 2007 at 12:34 pm, Derek said:

    Lorna, I’m looking forward to this series and you’ve started out on a great path with this explanation of how you have used Guru.

    Guru is new to me but I will certainly be browsing around to check out what I can.

    On October 2nd, 2007 at 1:37 pm, Lorna Doone Brewer said:

    Laura - Yeah, I mention in Wednesday’s post about how sometimes you can over-commit.

    Derek - I think it’s worth taking a look.

    Mentions on other sites...

    1. Using Guru.com for Your Freelance Business | Freelance Parent on October 2nd, 2007 at 1:54 pm
    2. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Guru.com | Freelance Parent on October 3rd, 2007 at 2:39 pm

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