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How Freelancers Market their Services: 2021 Survey asked freelancers about what works best for them in marketing their businesses, the challenges they face, their use of social media for business, membership in professional associations, and more. Highlights of key survey findings start on page 3, followed by results for the main questions. I thank the 132 freelancers who took the survey.

How Will the Freelance Marketing Survey Results Help You?

The freelance marketing survey results clearly show that some types of marketing work better than others in helping freelancers build stable, successful freelance businesses. Compare what you’re doing now to what other freelancers are doing. Then set a course to improve your marketing approach, and ultimately, your results!

Key Findings 

83% of freelancers who took the survey find marketing to be a challenge:

  • “Biggest challenge”: 17% of freelancers
  • “One of the major challenges”: 25% of freelancers
  • “Somewhat of a challenge”: 27% of freelancers
  • “Minor challenge”: 14% of freelancers:

Only 17% of freelancers said marketing is not a challenge.

The top 3 marketing challenges are:

  1. Understanding how and where to get better clients
  2. Making time for marketing
  3. Finding clients to market to.

Networking is the #1 source of the best clients for freelancers. Other top sources of the best clients are LinkedIn and direct email.

Most freelancers are already using some of the most effective marketing tools:

  • 76% of freelancers have a specialty.
  • 99% of freelancers have a LinkedIn profile.
  • 70% of freelancers have a website for their freelance business.

84% of freelancers use social networks for business. LinkedIn is the #1 social network:

  • 96% of freelancers who use social networks for business use LinkedIn.
  • 68% of freelancers who use LinkedIn say it’s important” or “very important” in getting clients.

91% of freelancers belong to professional associations. Of the freelancers who belong to professional associations:

  • 61% of freelancers say professional associations are “important” or “very important” in getting clients.

Few freelancers are taking full advantage of referrals, one of the easiest ways to get great clients:

  • Just 41% of freelancers get at least 51% of their business from referrals.
  • 43% of freelancers get less than 25% of their business from referrals.

Many freelancers are getting much of their business from repeat business from satisfied clients:

  • 79% of freelancers get at least 51% of their business from satisfied clients.
  • Just 12% of freelancers get less than 25% of their business from satisfied clients.

Many freelancers are making decent money, but some could be making substantially more:

  • 65% of freelancers make at least $75 per hour:
    • 21% make $75-100 per hour
    • 44% make more than $100 per hour.
  • 18% of freelancers make $51-$74 per hour.
  • 12% of freelancers make $25-$50 per hour.