Getting Outsourced Work as a Freelancer?

So, I’ve just started freelancing. I’m reaching out to local design agencies in hopes of getting some work.

I feel like this is different than applying to a job, in the sense that you are coming in unsolicited asking for work as opposed to applying for an open position.

I am not the best at writing cover letters. If anyone has any examples or advice of how to get agencies to farm out work to you, that would be awesome!



This is a problem.

I’m not suggesting that cover letters are the only avenue leading to freelance work from agencies, but I am suggesting that you need to sell yourself to them in a memorable and positive way.

Cover letters are one way of doing that. Calling up the appropriate person at the agency and having a chat with them is another. Making an appointment to show a portfolio is good too. A combination of all these things is even better.

What I’m really saying is that a great portfolio is only part of the puzzle. Most of the pieces to that puzzle have to do with establishing a relationship.

  1. Establish the appropriate contact. Don’t ever send work to “whom it may concern.”

  2. Show them killer work.

  3. Let your intentions be known up front that you are looking for overflow work rather than to get hired.

  4. Follow up on a regular basis – something as simple as showing them a recent project on a monthly basis. This will help keep your name on the top of their minds.

Instead of a single page cover letter on a letter head, I’d suggest making an in-depth presentation/PDF that shows your capabilities. (often referred to in the industry as capabilities deck, you can probably find examples online)

Have it cover something like: who you are, what you do, your work process, a case study and/or additional work pieces. If it’s a good opportunity, and you are able to do some research, tailor it with some common “problems” they might be facing and how they can solve them by using your services.

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Thanks, I will look into creating a capabilities deck!

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I’m not sure how much experience you have, but doing overflow work for an agency is a lot like working for a temp agency. They won’t take you on unless you are plug-and-play. Usually that kind of work goes to former employees who are now freelancing, ie a known entity. Doesn’t hurt to try but unless you have 5-10 years of solid experience, a rock solid portfolio and at least a couple of really good references, I wouldn’t expect too much in the way of replies.

Fair enough. I’ve been on and off doing graphics… so I think I have a total of 8 years of working experience. I am always updating and improving my portfolio.
I figure reaching out to local agencies is better than just sitting around hoping clients will find me lol

Off to a networking meeting now (bleh)…

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