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Starting out as a freelancer, I had no idea how to find high-paying clients. It seemed like all of my peers were getting jobs that paid well, but I could only find ones where I was making just enough to pay the bills.

If you’re running into the same problem, know that there’s not something wrong with you. You too can land good clients as long as you have the appropriate skills to deliver excellent work and the drive to be persistent in seeking them out.

High-Paying Freelance Clients Look for Recommendations

I’ve found maybe two clients in my entire career from a job board. I can’t remember exactly which jobs boards but probably ProBlogger or Freelance Writing Gigs.

Don’t get me wrong — you can find some diamonds in the rough on these job boards. There sometimes are even decent freelance postings on But often the jobs posted on boards are not high-paying ones, and they require a lot of work. The prospective client may even ask you to do an unpaid test run that ends up being a complete waste of your time. Plus thousands of people like you are competing to get these jobs.

My experience is that the better clients are often ones that reach out to people in their network to find freelancers who specialize in what they need. When I started making a name for myself in the personal finance community through blogging and networking, I began getting recommended for openings announced within the industry.

Making connections has been instrumental in increasing my rate and working with better clients. How can you do this? Here are a few ideas:

  • Join Facebook or LinkedIn groups within your industry
  • Go to industry specific conferences
  • Sign up for industry specific forums
  • Retweet and engage with industry leaders on Twitter

High-Paying Freelance Clients May Not Know They Have a Need

This is where the whole cold- and warm-pitching for clients comes into play. A company that doesn’t post on job boards may have a need for freelance services you offer. They may just not know the benefit of working with a freelancer like you until you present an idea to them.

For example, pitch companies you want to work with that have outdated websites, graphics that need work, or an inconsistent marketing plan. Pitching is usually a numbers game, but it can yield amazing results if you stick to it. After all, you can’t close deals if you’re not constantly making offers.

Before pitching, make sure the company you’re interested in actually has the budget to afford you otherwise you’re wasting your time. You may be able to find out details of a company on sites like Bloomberg or by searching revenue records. In my experience, there’s a good chance a company won’t have an adequate budget to pay me if I have a hard time finding out details about them.

Always make sure to follow up! A client may not get back to you because of timing but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested.

High-Paying Freelance Clients Have a Product or Service That’s In Demand

I’ve worked for some startups and know many other freelancers who have as well. The problem with startups can be that they bring on people to do freelance work like project management, content marketing, and web design before they’ve gotten off the ground. Pay isn’t great, and projects may even get cut.

If you genuinely believe in a startup and its potential, by all means, invest the time with them. Working with startups is also a good way to add work to your resume. But when you’re trying to get paid well, clients still in their infancy can be more of a headache than they’re worth. The high-paying freelance clients are usually ones that have a proven business model and longevity in the game. This is who you need to seek out.