Ultimately, a freelancer from the Western world is only going to succeed financially if they can source clients away from sites such as Upwork. That's where the big money lies and where successful relationships are more likely formed.

How do you achieve this? Cold calling and cold emailing now seems to be thought of as committing an atrocious act of spamming and it isn't exactly a great use of time to knock on the door of every local company on the off chance they a) want some work done and b) they happen to use the technology you code in.

What are your methods? One such method I thought about was searching LinkedIn for developers with the same skills I have and build a shortlist of the companies they work for.

As a developer, sales is a pretty nasty world for me. Would be interested to know how fellow dev freelancers go about selling their services and finding clients.

  • Where are you based? Dec 14, 2016 at 6:31
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of How can experienced contractor survive outside Elance/oDesk/Freelancer?
    – Scott
    Dec 14, 2016 at 6:35
  • @Scott That was precisely the point I was making. They will only succeed my sourcing clients away from Upwork
    – Paul
    Dec 14, 2016 at 8:48
  • Oh.. sorry. I must have misinterpreted that paragraph.. thinking "that's" was referring TO upwork. I'll remove that comment :) Sorry..
    – Scott
    Dec 14, 2016 at 8:50
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    I could only repeat myself answering your question, maybe you can read for example this and this post, but you can find many others with good advices. The main thing is: be known in your area (and beyond) as a reliable and trusted professionist in your field, people will look for you and suggest you to others.
    – Mario
    Dec 14, 2016 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


I faced and still facing the same situation. My recommendations are:

  1. Go to several meetings, enterpreneur events, same tech networkings and so on. After that the people from similar businesses are more familiar with me and even they make the call. When I call there is a real connection.

  2. Take some testimonials from people, no companies, that have managing positions.

  3. Identify their needs. I have a design background and many design studios can't communicate properly with developers (in my region at least). So there's where I fit and can bring more value.

  4. After that cold calling is easier. I know exactly who to call, the arguments to use and have references from similar customers.


The other day I visited a company to offer my services after exchange two emails (one for Hi, one for Thanks, there I will be). They know me from my coworking, but never spoke before. We have not started to work together, but they were willing to collaborate and even offered me a position in their team. The influence of people around and the familiarity was everything.

Hope it helps.

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