There are plenty of ways for freelancers to get project leads: job marketplaces like oDesk or Elance, referrals from past clients, people finding your website through a Google search, and so on.
But we all know these acquisition channels vary in quality. Given the choice, I think we’d all prefer a strong referral from a wonderful past client over competing with potentially hundreds of others for a gig on a job board.
So with that said, this article is about referrals — the holy grail of project leads. One of the best things you can do as the owner of your freelancing business is to increase the amount of referral sources you have. The more people you have to refer you, the more direct leads you’re able to get.
But most of us don’t do much to proactively get more referrals or to expand our referral network. We each have a “sphere of influence” — people who know what we provide, and are able to recommend us to others (or just hire us outright). Let’s talk about how you can both grow your sphere of influence, and condition those in it to become prime referral sources for you.