Ask DN: Freelancers! Where do your new projects come from?

over 9 years ago from

I usually get new work through through email referrals; Sometimes through a mailto link on my site. Honestly, I'm pretty bad of keeping track of new projects. Super curious about how other designers manage.

  1. Where do you get new projects from?
  2. Do any of you use a contact form for new inquiries?
  3. How do you keep track of new and potential projects?


  • Daniel HowellsDaniel Howells, over 9 years ago
    1. 100% word of mouth. Zero from my website.

    2. No.

    3. I only end up talking to whomever seems most keen to get in touch: shows commitment on their part. Those that send limp emails without any follow-up I just ignore.

    2 points
  • Murat MutluMurat Mutlu, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )

    GroupTalent, Onsite, Weekend Hacker, Collabfinder, Somewhere, Hire My Friend, Juiicy, Folyo, Ooomf, Dribbble,

    All the links here > http://www.mobileinc.co.uk/2013/04/designers-making-moves-to-disrupt-recruitment-agencies/

    2 points
  • Daniel WilberDaniel Wilber, over 9 years ago
    1. All of BF's projects have come through word of mouth—either previous contacts or referrals from our clients.

    2. Nah, just a mailto link.

    3. We have a 'Biz Dev' board in Trello that has a few lists to help organize our sales pipeline. I can elaborate some more if anybody is interested in that.

    1 point
    • Eli Rousso, over 9 years ago

      I'm actually really interested in how you do that. I tried used sticky notes, text files, Trello, email labels, and none of them click with me. And I would never want to use Salesforce. Is there another kind of software out there?

      0 points
      • Jason JamesJason James, over 9 years ago

        For Kin, the team uses Pipedrive (https://www.pipedrive.com/en/home/drive) They didn't really like using Salesforce.

        0 points
      • Daniel WilberDaniel Wilber, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )

        Eli, here's a quick screenshot of how we have it set up: http://share.bondfire.co/SQ6L

        The pipeline flow moves from left to right. Our goal is to move the right clients into the 'Signed' list.

        1. Backlog: A big fat list of people we've worked with, people we've met, professional contacts, basically anybody we want to keep in touch with.

        2. Leads: These people have either expressed interest in working with us or we have been intro-ed. We don't know anything about the business requirements or the project scope. It may or may not be a good fit.

        3. Qualified Leads: After we've talked with the lead and have determined BF could be a good fit for the project, they move into this list. The lead could sit here for awhile, depending on how busy we are or when the project needs a quote or proposal. We have a list of canned question that'll we'll fire off via email to help screen out projects that aren't for us.

        4. Needs Proposal/Estimate: Pretty self-explanatory. The conversation has progressed to the point where we need to provide a quote.

        5. Proposal/Estimate Out: We've sent the quote or proposal. Time to keep tabs on the lead and follow up to cover any questions. Our estimates or proposals typically have an expiration date, so we keep close attention to how much time is left there.

        6. Signed: We've closed the project. MSA + SOW is drafted and first invoice is sent off. On to the next one.

        2 points
  • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, over 9 years ago

    Just remembered this: https://github.com/bevacqua/frontend-job-listings

    1 point
  • Jason JamesJason James, over 9 years ago
    1. Mostly referrals. Typically friends of friends or colleagues by word of mouth. Sometimes because of features on design blogs, but less often than normal referrals.
    2. No.
    3. Just a TeuxDeux "Someday" list
    0 points
  • Mariusz CieslaMariusz Ciesla, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )
    1. Word of mouth / Referrals, Behance, Dribbble. In this particular order.
    2. Yes, on my website.
    3. I tried a couple of CRMs but they suck (or I suck at using them, not sure), so for now I just have a special label in Gmail called "Work / Possible".
    0 points
  • John LockeJohn Locke, over 9 years ago

    I get new projects from four sources: 1. Referrals from prior clients. 2. Contact form on my website. 3. Larger digital agencies. 4. Internal projects (my own side projects).

    0 points
  • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )
    1. Mine have mainly been coming from my dribbble account: http://www.dribbble.com/jonshariat
    2. I have also had a few from my portfolio site http://www.uitogether.com , I don't have any special fields just a form to help jump start the conversation
    3. I don't always have a volume of request (just started 2 months ago) but I always reply. Even if that reply is that I received their email. Next I ask them more about their project. Then I gauge how much I would enjoy working on it and give them a price.
    0 points
  • Joe VillanuevaJoe Villanueva, over 9 years ago (edited over 9 years ago )

    I work full time but freelance on the side. For that work, the jobs primarily come from my freelance team's website and referrals. The referrals are from past clients, and people we know in the industry.

    We just use a mailto, seems sufficient enough.

    We have a part time project manager that manages all of the projects.

    0 points
  • Mathieu MayerMathieu Mayer, over 9 years ago

    Nice topic. I'd be interested to know who do you guys get your projects.

    In my humble case (I started my design career pretty recently... meaning earlier this year :)):

    1. I got my first "big" client thanks to Dribbble; which is kind of incredible given that my Dribbble account is filled up with bad WIPs shot of personal projects :)

    2. My website only has a very straight forward Contact Page. Got a few requests thanks to that. But I guess my portfolio isn't really helping getting more serious queries anyways. This will come overtime.

    3. Can't really help but I've got a few requests coming in lately. What I did is that I replied to those people and flagged the conversation in Mail.app in case they don't get back to me soon or later. I'll follow up once I'm done with my current work (let's say slightly before I finish). Down the line, I'd like to book my time on a calendar and be able to know what I'm going to work on for the next 2 to 3 months.

    0 points
    • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, over 9 years ago

      Protip: don't put the website the user is viewing inside your portfolio. It's dumb (not a judgement of you, just my opinion). They already know what it looks like.

      4 points
      • Mathieu MayerMathieu Mayer, over 9 years ago

        You never know, maybe someones sees it on Flipboard or Readability? What if I want to share this particular page on Facebook? What if I change the design of the page in 3 months and still want to show how it used to look like? What if you print out the page? What if you see it on mobile?

        You say "they already know what it looks like" but how can you be sure? Isn't that pure assumption (A.K.A nemesis of every ux designer :D)

        Thanks for the feedback tho, really appreciate it.

        1 point
        • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, over 9 years ago

          I've never heard of someone saving a portfolio site to Readability. I don't really know much about Flipboard or Facebook, so I can't comment on those.

          I almost wrote in my first post that I see it as completely acceptable to put in previous versions of your site, so long as there are at least a couple major differences that are noticeable.

          Again, with the print version, there really isn't much content that would be worthy of print. Titles of work you've done isn't very important; if the work were actually contained in the page, it might be a different story.

          As for mobile, I see your point (I started writing why it was wrong, that many devs create their sites for mobile as well, but then it struck me). Still, this is a pretty narrow margin of users that will want to see the desktop site on the mobile one; if you made it responsive, that would speak enough to your skills in my opinion.

          I feel safe in saying that it isn't a big enough margin of users that would need to see it out of context, or whatever, compared to the vast majority of users that will see the duplication of the site on the desktop.

          And no problem. I like the discussion. Again, if I come off as rude, I definitely don't mean to (I seem to be saying this far, far too much lately).

          2 points
          • Mathieu MayerMathieu Mayer, over 9 years ago

            I get your point. Thanks for the feedback; it really helps. You did not come off as rude to me. You clicked on my link and share what you consider to be a problem. If you don't, then who?

            I'll remove the screen grab and rather add a link of the Dribbble shot of my new website.

            0 points
        • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, over 9 years ago

          It's not assumption, at school, portfolio feedback day, and some mentors have echo'ed that they find it tacky UNLESS you are explaining the process and UX.

          2 points