I've set up a company and I'm paying an accountant monthly to help me with taxes, then I have to also pay taxes, recently I had to pay a lawyer to help me with drafting a contract template for future clients.
I'm having a very hard time finding clients / projects.
One option is going through job platforms but I'm finding there are many downsides:
- The job platform is charging a 10% fee (relative to the project's value)
- For some projects I'm not eligible to bid because I'm located in Eastern Europe and some clients are placing a restriction on the geography (I lose around 15% of projects this way alone)
- The site only allows me a small number of bids. I get charged further fees to purchase additional bids
- I have to reissue/regenerate the invoices the freelance job market generates for me because none of them has my fiscal code on them
- There's a lot of work involved in winning bids. From previous experience I have to place around 15-20 bids to win 1 or 2 projects, this is a very time-consuming process that I would rather have spent in actual client work
- The project budgets are really low value, much below market value
- There's a lot of risk involved in dealing with unvetted clients (with no previous projects or reviews). I've had one client last month simply refusing to pay their invoice even though the deliverables were to spec. This comes after multiple progress meetings with them where I demo'd deliverables
- There are many communication delays involved so I have to multitask between trying to find clients and doing actual work
I'm writing to ask: How should I find clients outside of these online job markets, preferably with a steady stream of projects, and communicating with them directly? If there are contracts to be written, that's not a problem, but it seems like just finding interested clients. I was told that I should somehow use referals but honestly I don't know how that would work in practice.
Another way would be for clients to find my services, but that also doesn't seem to be easy or efficient in any way (even when using blog posts as a way to advertise services offered), as most seem to be interested in hiring people, and I'm just trying to do contracting-based or consulting work.
A related, more quantitative question would be: After how many blog posts (that advertise services) should I be expecting to connect with a potential client for example on Linkedin? Is this even viable? I don't know if this question has an answer but I'd be interested to read any thoughts on that.
Thank you in advance for any thoughts you'd like to share about these questions