LinkedIn: The Place to Be to Get Steady, High-Paying Freelance Clients

More and more clients are searching for freelancers on LinkedIn and using it to check us out before deciding whether to contact us. Discover how four freelancers—Kalpana Shankar, Kathleen Labonge, T. DeLene Beeland, and Lori De Milto—are using LinkedIn to get freelance clients.

 Changing three words in the headline of her LinkedIn profile was all that it took for freelance clients to start finding Kalpana Shankar, PhD. “Just including freelance medical writer made my profile rank high in searches. People started reaching out to me,” says Kalpana, a freelance medical writer and owner of 3C Medical Writing.

A Faster Way to Get Steady, High-Paying Freelance Clients

More and more clients are searching for freelancers on LinkedIn now. Clients are also going to LinkedIn when they want to check out freelancers referred to them by colleagues.

So getting clients through LinkedIn is so an easy way to get steady high-paying freelance clients. It’s also faster than most other types of marketing.

Learn more about how Kalpana uses LinkedIn to get freelance clients
LinkedIn for Attracting New Medical Writing Clients—Dr. Kalpana Shankar

Of freelancers who use LinkedIn, 61% say it’s “important” or “very important” in getting clients (How Freelancers Market their Services: 2023 Survey). And LinkedIn was the second top source of their best clients.

Kalpana and freelancers Kathleen Labonge, T. DeLene Beeland, and Lori De Milto (me) are getting freelance clients through LinkedIn by doing three things:

  • Developing a complete, client-focused profile
  • Building a strong relevant network
  • Being somewhat active on LinkedIn.

You too can do these things—in  about 1 hour a week. 

Let’s go through each of these.

Getting Freelance Clients with a Complete, Client-Focused Profile

Profile completeness and relevant keywords in the headline matter more than anything else in search results.

Kalpana made sure that she had a complete, profile. Only 51% of LinkedIn users have complete profiles. So you’ll outrank almost half of all members just by completing your profile. And members with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to get opportunities through LinkedIn than those without complete profiles, says LinkedIn.

A complete includes the right content:

  • Industry and location
  • Profile photo
  • Current position (under Experience)
  • Two past positions
  • Education
  • At least 5 skills.

You also need to have at least 50 connections.

Your Client-Focused Profile

“As a freelancer, it’s not about you. It’s about what you can offer the client,” says Kalpana. That’s client focused marketing. On LinkedIn, it means developing a profile that’s based on the needs of your target clients and how you meet those needs.

Clearly say what you do and how you help your clients, especially in your headline and About section. Use relevant keywords and keywords related to titles. Also, use keywords related to your services that people will search for.

Your headline is the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. Done right, it will help you:

  • Rank higher in search results when clients are searching for a freelancer
  • Impress clients who click on your profile
  • Get more referrals from colleagues.

Here are some examples of client-focused headlines with relevant keywords:

Kalpana Shankar 
Freelance medical writer | Providing clear, concise, and compelling medical and scientific writing | Founder, 3C Medical Writing

Kathleen Labonge, MBA 
Freelance Medical Copyeditor | Fact Checker | Helping clients produce accurate, clear, and compelling content

DeLene Beeland
Freelance Medical Writer | Editor | Delivering insightful medical and health content to educate and engage health care providers and patients

Lori De Milto (me) 
Freelance Medical Writer | Targeted Content to Attract, Engage, and Motivate Your Audience(s) | On time, Every time

Within about a month of updating her profile, clients started finding DeLene on LinkedIn. Now, most of her new freelance business comes from LinkedIn.

Clients who found Kathleen on LinkedIn told her that her headline attracted their interest.

One of my anchor clients (large, steady clients) found me through LinkedIn. When she was looking for freelance medical writers, I ranked high in the search results because of my complete, client-focused profile, LinkedIn activity, and large network. I’ve gotten a few smaller clients through LinkedIn too, and heard about lots of freelance jobs that I referred to other freelancers in my network.

Other freelancers often tell me that clients start finding them more once they add “freelance” and the type of work they do to their headline.


About is the second most important part of your profile, after your headline. The first 220-270 characters (about 102-167 characters on mobile) count the most; this is what shows before people have to click See More. Make sure that you:

  • Build on your headline
  • Offer a clear, concise client-focused message.

Here are some examples of the beginning of client-focused About sections:

Kalpana Shankar 
3C Medical Writing delivers clear, concise, and compelling medical and scientific writing for CROs, medical communication agencies, and medical education agencies. As a #freelance medical writer with 13 years of pharmaceutical and academic experience, I help you communicate effectively with healthcare prov . . . see more

Kathleen Labonge, MBA 
Medical communication and education companies, hospitals, and other health and health care organizations rely on me for expert medical editing. With experience in medicine, science, business, and editing, I help clients produce accurate, clear, and consistent content for health care professional and lay audiences. . . . see more

DeLene Beeland
You need medical, health, or science content that educates and engages your audiences. I craft clear, accurate, and lively strategic content for health care providers, academics, the public, and patients, including those with low health literacy. (Yes, I write across audience levels—and enjoy it!) . . . see more

Lori De Milto (me) 
Targeted medical content attracts, engages, and motivates your audience(s). As a freelance medical writer, I help hospitals/health systems, healthcare marketing agencies, disease-focused health organizations, and other clients focus on what’s relevant and useful to each audience: . . . see more

The rest of About

Then briefly summarize your services and your relevant experience and background. Use bulleted lists to make services and other content scannable.  lso make your About section scannable by using short sentences and short paragraphs.

“My LinkedIn profile is straightforward,” says Kathleen. “It doesn’t take long for a potential client to scan or read through it and determine immediately by looking at my experience, background, and education whether I might be a fit. I think it’s essential to keep the details concise since potential clients are not going to take the time to read through endless text.”

Include a call to action to tell clients what you want them to do. The call to action can invite clients to call or email you, visit your website, connect on LinkedIn, or any combination of these. Include your call to action, with your contact information, at the end of About.

Don’t forget your featured section

The new Featured section lets you display your best work and market your freelance business to anyone who looks at your profile. It’s prime LinkedIn real estate: below About and above Activity.

You can use Featured to display your:

  • Work samples
  • Website
  • LinkedIn posts
  • LinkedIn articles.

Learn more about LinkedIn profiles
The Ultimate LinkedIn Profile for Freelance Success This Year
The Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Checklist for Freelancers

Getting Freelance Clients with a Big, Relevant Network

If you want to rank high when clients search for freelancers, you need a big, relevant network: 500+ connections. Having connections in common with the person who is doing the search is the #2 criterion LinkedIn uses to rank search results.

“Having a wider network definitely increases the odds that you will find high-quality connections,” says DeLene. “Not all connections are equal. But when you get hooked into certain super-active and super-connected nodes in that network, or become one yourself, the traction really increases.”

Relevant connections are people who work in your industry(ies), do similar work, or are related to you and your work in another way. They include:

  • Other freelancers
  • Other members of your professional associations
  • Networking contacts from conferences and events
  • Clients and past clients
  • Past co-workers and classmates.

Send a personal note

People are much more likely to connect with you if you send a personal note instead of LinkedIn’s default message. Personal notes are limited to 300 characters so you don’t need to say much. And you don’t need to be clever, just polite, professional, and friendly. Give the person a reason to accept your invitation by saying what you have in common.

Here’s Kalpana’s personal note template.

Kalpana always thanks the person for accepting her invitation to connect. And sometimes, Kalpana’s new connection asks her to send her CV or writing samples, often leading to new freelance work.

Here are 2 examples of my personal notes.

Learn more about building your LinkedIn network
10 Ways to Get 500+ Connections on LinkedIn Fast

Getting Freelance Clients by Being Active on LinkedIn

Being active also helps you rank higher in search results, along with meeting more relevant people so you can build your network. Activity means sharing content and engaging with other people on your content and their content.

“Add value to your network. Share articles, webinars, white papers, and tips to be productive. Anything that your network would find relevant,” says Kalpana. “When I share something, I always write a take-home message about how the person could benefit from that.”

Sharing posts

Posts are the easiest type of content to share.  Share relevant content in a post once or twice a week. Relevant content includes:

  • News and updates about your industry or specialty(ies)
  • Tips on being more productive
  • Other useful free content, like blog posts, podcasts, and webinars.

Here’s an example of one of Kalpana’s posts.

Like Kalpana does, include at least a sentence about the content, usually with a link to the full content (news, blog post, etc.). I like to include a headline too. Or ask a question. People like to offer advice.

Here’s an example of one of Kathleen’s posts.

Commenting on other people’s posts

Commenting is the best way to engage others on their posts. “Offer meaningful comments [on other people’s content]. Keep it professional. And a comment is a meaningful ad for your business because people see your headline, photo, and name,” says Kathleen.

Here’s an example of one of my comments on a post.

10 Minutes a Day to Results

Once you’ve build your network and  learned how to be active,  it only takes about 10 minutes a day (Monday through Friday) on LinkedIn for freelancers to get results. And you don’t have to do this every day. If you’re super busy, it’s okay to skip a day or two.

Review your LinkedIn feed 2-3 times a day.  About once a week, do your own posts.

Getting Freelance Clients through Profile Views, Notifications, and More

Client searches for freelancers are the most common way we get freelance clients through LinkedIn. But there are other great ways to get clients on LinkedIn too, including:

  • Profile views
  • Responding to LinkedIn notifications
  • Networking with colleagues
  • Reconnecting with colleagues.

If someone who could be a good client views your profile, invite him/her to connect with you. If you’re already connected, send the person a polite, professional message.

Clients are very busy. They may check you out on LinkedIn but not connect with you or contact you. They could be too busy to do this—even though they need freelance help—or not be looking for freelancers right now. Either way, being proactive and inviting people who view your profile to connect with you will help ensure that they think of you first when they do need a freelancer. I know several freelancers who got clients by connecting with someone who viewed their profile. But you can only see who viewed your profile if you have a paid account.

You can also follow potential clients without being connected and comment on their posts. This is a good way to learn about them and start to build a relationship.

Following someone means you’ll see some of the person’s content. If you comment on the person’s content, when you later send an invite to connect, they will already be familiar with you. This makes it more likely that the person will accept your invite.

Kalpana got a client by following them. When the client did a post looking for freelance medical writers, she responded and they hired her.

LinkedIn sends notifications when someone gets a new job, and people sometimes do posts on new jobs and other professional activities. When you see a notification about a colleague or a potential client, send a message to the person or comment on the post.

You can also search for colleagues you haven’t kept in touch with and reconnect with them. Many freelancers get clients by keeping in touch with former colleagues and reconnecting with them.

“LinkedIn allows freelancers to professionally promote their businesses by providing a lot of information in a short space. It’s a platform to start and continue conversations with colleagues and potential clients, and it’s a vehicle to share industry information and, in turn, learn from others’ expertise,” says Kathleen.

What Not to Do on LinkedIn

While LinkedIn can help freelancers find and attract high-paying freelance clients, there are two things that are a waste of time and effort for us: Social selling and LinkedIn ProFinder.

Forget about LinkedIn ProFinder

LinkedIn ProFinder is supposed to match freelancers with “relevant” opportunities. But it doesn’t.

To be on ProFinder, you have to complete an online application and LinkedIn has to accept you. Once this is done, LinkedIn will notify you of “relevant” freelance projects and you can submit a proposal. If the client is interested, he/she can contact you directly.

ProFinder has many major flaws, including:

  • A local focus, which is irrelevant for freelancers
  • Opportunities are rarely relevant to the freelancer
  • Most clients on ProFinder are small businesses, which are not likely to be steady, high-paying clients for freelancers
  • The price quote structure isn’t practical or accurate.

On top of all of these flaws, after submitting 10 proposals, LinkedIn forces you to upgrade to Business Premium to continue using ProFinder. The cost is $60 a month (as of January 2022).

Forget about social selling

Everyone talks about—and many gurus recommend—social selling. But marketing through LinkedIn (or other social networks) is harder and less effective for freelancers than for other small businesses.

Social selling involves a series of contacts to build relationships over time, most of which focus on providing your connections with valuable content that you create. It takes a LOT of time to do this.

And social selling only works if your prospects are active on LinkedIn. Otherwise, they’re not likely to respond at all.

Many clients have LinkedIn profiles but they only use LinkedIn when they’re actively searching for freelancers or when they hear about a freelancer they want to check out.

Direct email works much better than social selling for freelancers. And it takes less time.

After developing your prospect list, which you would need to do for social selling too, you write a short, targeted direct email to each prospect that shows how you can help the client meet their needs.

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Learn More About Getting Freelance Clients through LinkedIn

Sample LinkedIn Profiles and More

Kalpana Shankar 
LinkedIn for Attracting New Medical Writing Clients—Dr. Kalpana Shankar
DeLene Beeland, MSc
Kathleen Labonge, MBA
Lori De Milto

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