Advice From a Fellow Freelancer: How to Get Your First Client on PeoplePerHour


Congratulations on registering with PeoplePerHour and joining the community of people taking part in the new cool gig economy! But joining is not enough; now you need to get your first client. PPH provides an infrastructure but getting a customer is your job, so you have to be proactive.

Bring Your Profile to Life

Start by filling it in. List your qualifications and experience but don’t over-egg it. Upload a picture because customers like to see a face behind a CV. But you better keep the image simple, passport-style – a picture of you in Ibiza waving a pint doesn’t inspire confidence in your business qualities.

Supercharge Your Portfolio

The next step is to upload your portfolio – the evidence that you can do what you say you can do. A student project or that site you did for a cafe that has never taken off will do, too. Don’t have a single web link or a picture to present your projects? Helping a local charity (they always need volunteers) for free is a neat way to get some samples and references.

first client

A great portfolio will help you get your first client faster! Portfolio example from Max R.

Get Your References Sorted

When it comes to referrals, it’s a great idea to invite people who worked with you before to leave their testimonials. As I said before, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a paid job and may not be in the field you are selling your skills in. You want to work as a digital assistant, but never did it formally? But you did organise a Harvest Festival at your child’s school… You can ask a teacher to leave a testimonial about you being dependable and highly organised.

Apply early, apply often

Hourlies – the special PPH advertisement of a job you can do for a set price – are a great thing, but you shouldn’t expect clients to randomly stumble into you. You have to apply to job ads. Don’t be fooled by “You were invited to submit a proposal” message. It’s not a buyer contacting you directly – it’s a result of an algorithm matching keywords of your profile and searches to the Job. You still need to apply and persuade the client that you are the best person for the job.

And don’t go on PPH twice a week, expecting to go through the adverts and select those that are worth your attention. In the beginning, before you acquire your regular clients, you have to monitor ads often and apply ASAP. Being proactive and prompt increases your chances of getting the job. The customer will not wade through all 50 applications and will not wait a week before selecting the winner. A quick response also advertises your immediate availability.

Don’t wait for the reply to come in, apply to the next one. You’ll negotiate the conditions when you win the job.

Hourlies are wonderful way to package your hours into off-the-shelf offers, but don't forget to constantly bid for Jobs too! Hourlies offered by Letitia C.

Hourlies are a wonderful way to package your hours into off-the-shelf offers, but don’t forget to constantly bid for Jobs too! Hourlies offered by Letitia C.

Show that You Care

As with the CVs, a standard one-size-fits-all application indicates that you are not interested in the job, not really. You need to tailor your application to the job each time. Yes, it takes time, but it’ll improve your client-winning skills.

Set a Reasonable Price

Have a look at the profiles of other freelancers who offer similar service. You’ll notice that there’s a range of options – from the lowest to the highest bidder. The highest bidders are usually experienced people with tens and hundreds of positive reviews. Remember that your work quality is unproven yet, you are an enigma, so even if you’re positive that your service deserves a lot, don’t go to the high end just yet.

On the other hand, don’t try to underbid either because low price can raise suspicion about the quality of your service. The best would be to set your price at the lower end and explain in the application that you are trying to get your first client and therefore extending a discount.

Don’t Get Discouraged

It’s not easy to get the first client. Expect tens of applications where the job is awarded to somebody else. Please, don’t be discouraged. You only need to get the first job; more will follow.

Good hunting!

About the Author

Vicki Doronina Vicki Doronina is a freelance copywriter and marketing coordinator. Her writing appeared in Science (Careers), The Scientist, Her View From Home, Soapbox Writers, and biotech blogs as well as in Russian and Belarusian media outlets. She lives in the UK. You can hire Vicki on PeoplePerHour. 

Want to contribute to PeoplePerHour blog? Get in touch via!

Browse All Marketers


  • Sandeep Jethwa

    Nice post!

  • John Crowley

    You make some nice points. The only point I slightly disagree with is the point you make about setting your price point. I think you’re absolutely right if you’re talking to somebody who has never freelanced before – inexperience should always be accompanied by a lower price. However, if you’re approaching the platform as a newbie to the website but an experienced professional, I think you should start out from the very beginning charging whatever rates you would charge elsewhere.

    Whenever I have started out with a new freelance platform (such as PPH), I have always made a point of doing this. I tend to find that most clients who find me want to work with me again, and so if I were to place bids lower than I would elsewhere in order to gain some traction, then either the clients will expect me to continue at the same rate, or I will have to have that awkward conversation whereby I explain that rates will be increasing.

    If you are a professional service provider with experience in the field, my advice would be to not even look at the bidding range others have set. Work out your rates and place your bid. On the one hand, you might get a few messages asking “Are you serious!? This is 3 times higher than the nearest bid!”… but on the other hand, you’ll never end up working for less than you value your services at, and you won’t accidentally low ball yourself by relying on somebody else’s pricing structure as a benchmark.

  • Clementina James

    Thank you, John Crowley, that is precisely how I feel. I should not need to undervalue myself just because I’m a newbie. If I work to a professionally high standard then I think I should charge according to what I am capable of delivering.

    I’m learning the ropes, though.

    Clementina J

  • Ezat El-Dkak

    Helpful post and comment. Thank you Vicki and John.

  • Omar M.

    Thank you for the post and advise which is very useful for newcomer in PPH sites. The promotion of self profile with decorum of presentation is well briefed. I personally agree your advise and remark the same to all the freelancer should follow in order to represent themselves to the global platform.

    Further more I believe freelancing is all about speed & accuracy . Freelancing is a multi tasking professional activities not fixed for one specific employer. A freelancer is an independent contractor to undertakes multiple jobs from employers with responsibilities.

    Pph sites is a well elaborated user friendly freelancing jobs portal and very helpful sites for freelancers. Opportunities are enormous and any independent freelancer can make his debut using PPH sites for establishing his financial out break.

    Lastly I am thankful to the writer of this post to encourage freelancer like us to continue with self dedication passion honesty and sincerity to carry forward with freelancing career related job in the platforms.

  • How to Get Your First Client on People per Hour | Go Yeast

    […] People per Hour  (PPH) blog.  PPH is a British freelancer platform like […]

  • Zoe S.

    Great article, but I have to agree with John – your price is your price. I’ve tweaked my Profile several times since I started here, but I think it read something along the lines of “after 15 years of successful freelancing, I can now offer my services through PPH”. I absolutely scattergunned my first 15 proposal credits on anything and everything where I knew I could do a great job – for example, if you’re presenting yourself as a writer, you’ll also have good research skills, and you’re probably a pretty quick typist too. I was also very sneaky and looked for CLIENTS that were new to PPH. One of them took a chance – he was a great client, and I tend to hear from him once a year for short research tasks even now.

    Also, make no apologies – just tell the client what you can do for them and why you’re the right person. And be you. I won a job a few weeks ago because I was the first proposal that had made the client laugh out loud!

    It’s tough to get a start, but no one ever said that freelancing was easy…

  • Mazedur Rahaman

    Thank you for the post.Great article

  • Engr.Farooq-uz-Zaman

    Good Article!!!
    Thank You. . .

  • bayzid Islam

    Thanks for Inform me

  • Waleed

    a good read , i myself am looking for my first job in the writing industry, hopefully this helps.

  • sumonneoaz


  • mohammad jakhbir

    great and nice

  • Eyasin Arafut Robin

    Great thank you

  • asitab pa

    Hmm… Thanx!

  • MOhammed


  • Tanim Ahmed

    Thank you

  • Towhidul islam

    Thanks for this helpful post!

    As a newbie it’s help me to understand about job’s price and many more.

    Thanks again!

  • Diyadinesh

    Freelancing is one of the best career for individuals who want to work from home. Hundreds of freelance jobs opportunities are available on internet. But finding the best freelance job is a difficult task. This article is very useful for the beginners who are seeking for a freelance job. Thanks for sharing this valuable article.

  • sutopa saha



    Very helpful for the new comer in the field. Thanks for the guidance.

  • Prayitno Dulman

    Thanks for the post
    I am looking for the first job

  • Dheeraj Kumar

    Thank you for the post and advise which is very useful for newcomer in PPH sites. i have 5+ year experience looking or client and this article gonna help me thanks

  • Dheeraj Kumar

    Thank you for the post and guideline which is very useful for me in PPH sites. i have 5+ year experience looking or client and this article gonna help me thanks

  • Amine El Amraoui

    Very helpful tips. Thank you

  • Liam O'Neil

    Well written and thank you. I have been in my industry 14 years, and only in the last two years or so I have branched out on my own. There is a few points would like to add…

    RE: Show that You Care
    I cannot stress how important this is. I have worked with clients from all around the world. The one thing clients and freelancers alike share is that we are human, and have a need to have a sense of humility. Both towards our clients and with the clients end users. Empathy goes a long way. Every design I create, I create with the user in mind and bringing a humanistic approach to their needs. Knowing that an interface/article, or whatever is your field is, has an actual person behind it, that shares this humanistic approach betters everyone.

    Time zones & communication
    The freelance world is an international arena of professionals and newcomers a like. Although I am Canadian, I am based out of Tokyo. I have worked with clients from all around the world. Being in sync with the clients’ working availability or time zone, helps in many ways. Being able to communicate in the client time zone is key. Does this mean you score a client halfway around the world and this means you might have to be working at unusual hours? Yes. Does it suck? Maybe but ask yourself, how much does my client appreciate that I am working with them at their available time and not necessarily only when you are awake and working on your time.

    Lastly(ok, 3 points, lol),
    Have fun… While some freelancers may feel that you should not be ‘friends’ with your clients, I differ. I make a connection. I try to create a production path that is an enjoyable, educational and lastly professional at the same time. You would be surprised at how this enhances your referrals, and referrals in our fields is what keeps work coming in.

    Sorry for the long winded post, just wanted to share what has helped me make that extra Yen.

    Have a great day, and now go create something awesome…

  • Amir Mahmood

    Dear Vicki,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. But it is so frustrating to wait for the first order. I’m worried about this. Please help me.

    Very very thanks

  • Jayne Livingstone

    Hi Vicki , you said that you should get past clients to post testimonials but when I tried to get past clients to endorse me they were not able to because they were not part of the pph website.

    Can they post testimonials if they are not part of the pph website ?



  • shohag hossan

    very helpful articular for me thanks…
    by ,shohag hossan

  • Faheem Shaikh Rafique

    I am a new freelancer and having a good Typing experience so how can i get a good typing work project and how can i joint people per hour website to work as a freelancer and really we get the typing jobs from this site please help me out how can i get a typing work project as a freelancer

  • moranga wycliff

    A great article I have gone through it and has taught me a lot as a new freelancer

    Thank you.

  • Rinku Singh


    I have registered, I did not even upload the portfolio. The project is not coming. I have 12 years experience. What do I need to do? Please help me in this website.

    I have not got any project, please help me

  • Fin O'Suilleabhain

    Very helpful, and I’m sure still relevant. Am I write in thinking people need to be signed up up to PPH to post an Endorsement? That’s the impression I get from the experience of inviting five people (one of whom is signed up) to write one for me.


Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.