E-learning designers - how do you find new work and clients?

Just received this question from a blog reader looking to expand her freelance elearning design business. She asked:

"I'm looking to expand my freelance business, and wondered if you had any suggestions for finding likely new clients without, in effect, "advertising" my services in the forums.  I feel that would be a no-no and at any rate be a tacky way to approach things."

This is one of the most asked questions we receive, so I thought it would be a good topic for discussion.

7 Replies
David Anderson

Here are a few quick ideas for gaining visibility and establishing your expertise:

Forums are a great way to demonstrate your expertise, network  and build relationships with the elearning community - including potential clients.


It's awesome to see so many new contract opportunities posted in the forums. When someone posts a new job opportunity, they'll often look at the profiles and contributions of those who replied before checking their web sites and portfolios.

Screenr is another awesome way to demonstrate your expertise. I've heard from several folks who attribute some of their clients to the tutorials they've shared via Screenr.

Not just for software tutorials.
There's no reason you couldn't use Screenr to walk through a task analysis worksheet you completed, edits you made to an elearning script or how you crafted your follow up interviews with SMEs.

Or, you could simply walk through selected projects and highlight your role, successes and how you overcame challenges in the project.

Here's an excellent example from Bruce:

Tom has some good suggestions for freelancers in these posts:

Saenna B Ahman

If you ask me, the gentleman who posted here did the right thing

http://community.articulate.com/forums/p/920/3309.aspx

Share something useful, for free, and I bet he will see a return on that. I don't currently have a need for a voiceover person but you can bet I downloaded the files he provided, and if the need arises, I now know a resource whom i could call on.

Kevin Thorn

I would add Twitter as a powerful networking and in a non-tacky way to promote yourself. Participate in the various chat sessions like, #lrnchat, #edchat, or #elearnchat. These chat sessions are full of everyone from practitioners, academics, freelancers, and others. By engaging in these conversations, you get to 'know' the community and a frequent shameless plug is acceptable.

Oh, and all that other stuff David suggested....

Wayne Vermillion

ASTD, ISPI, and/or STC (which translates to: American Society for Training and Development; Int'l Society for Performance Improvement, and Society for Technical Communication). Work these networks from several angles - post a notice of availability or resume on their board, sponsor or present at an event such as a luncheon, join their special interest groups (SIGs) for IDs/graphic artists, more. Be aware that especially for ASTD and ISPI, different chapters may have different focii, that is, one group may have a focus on organizational development and soft skills, while another city's group may be more technically oriented. This focus can change over the years with the flux of members and chapter leadership. If your chapter doesn't have an ID or eLearning SIG, then offer to start one for them.

Donate an eLearning-lite project to a non-profit group, balancing a shorter project (to save your time) with showcasing advanced skills (for the inherent marketing.) Churches/synagogues/mosques/ashrams/whatevers would be appreciative. There are also many job clubs for networking, for which you could put together a "Welcome" resources and orientation presentation, and even include reportable surveys. Adopt a school and splendorize (heh) their probably meager online presentation, if they have one at all.

Bruce Graham

Thanks @David, I had completely forgotten about that Screenr, and may use it on future occasions

In order to specifically grow business, of course there's always the online "Job Auction" sites like Voice123 and Elance.

You would be surprised, (or not...), how many eLearning opportunities come up. I am waiting to see whether my Proposal has won a piece of work from one of the World's largest organisations via a site such as these....

Bruce