This is a little-known hack. In fact, I haven’t seen it anywhere else, but it’s how I landed a $1,000/month retainer and then a $2,500/month retainer—$3,500 a month from this one method!
How can you do it? Get familiar with AngelList (Angel.co). It’s a site for startups to find angel investors (wealthy individuals who are willing to invest in a startup in exchange for equity). However, for us freelancers, it serves as a very handy guide for finding potential clients who have the funding to hire top talent.
How to Get More Clients With My AngelList Hack!
Step 1: Go to https://angel.co/companies/trending to see the list of current “Trending Startups.”
These startups are trending because they are either raising funding or just raised funding. That means they have the money to invest in things for their business, i.e. freelancers.
Step 2: Click the startup’s profile and check if they are hiring.
To see if they are hiring, look for “View Jobs.” If they are hiring, see if it’s for “Remote OK” contract work. If you don’t see a job that fits what you do, don’t give up! Find a way you can help them and then pitch your work to them.
Step 3: Scope out all of the startup’s public profiles (social media, website, etc.).
Identify gaps in their current business—gaps that you can fill. Here’s how I did it: I saw that a startup was launching at an upcoming startup launch festival in the next month—but they had no social media accounts. I decided to pitch my social media management services to the startup founder.
Step 4: Follow that startup on AngelList (you’ll need to create a free account), and find out who’s in charge at the startup.
Usually, there will be only a founder and cofounder at this point. Here’s how I did it: The people who are on that startup’s team are listed in the startup’s profile. Find the founder or cofounder. Once I got his name, I Googled it. I found his personal travel blog and found his personal email address on it.
Step 5: Send them a pitch for your services.
This is where you need to be tactful. You want to come across as genuine and helpful—not desperate. In my case, because I knew he had a travel blog and had previously quit his job to travel the world (two things we had in common!), I mentioned that in my email to him. Then I led into the pitch. I told him that I loved his concept, but he needed a social media presence to make a big splash when he launched at the festival.
Here is the email exchange:
The email from me, subject line: “Fellow foodie and world traveler”:
“Hi [Prospect Name],
I watched your [Startup Name] pitch, and was really impressed. I think your plan is super detailed and slightly insane, which is why I think it will work.
I saw you’re planning on launching in March; would you like a marketer to get your launch kit ready? (Website content, social media, press releases, emails, etc.) I am a freelance digital marketer and writer with 5 years of experience in the communication space. I’d love to chat with you on how I could support [Startup Name]’s marketing and PR efforts.
I’ve done product launches for Silicon Valley startups including
[Link to example 1]
[Link to example 2]
[Link to example 3]
You can check out more of my work at my website: [Link to my portfolio site]
I’d also love to swap travel stories. I saw you quit your startup job to travel the world for a year. Right on. I quit my job at a startup 2013 and went traveling last year. I ended up spending 5 months in South America, mainly Peru. Now I’m back stateside. You can read about my adventures here: [Link to travel blog].
Looking forward to hearing from you.
And here’s his reply (with identifying info removed):
Normally I’d send email’s like this my archive, but this is a pretty awesome email — good work.
Tell me more about what you have in mind. Things are pretty basic for right now — we’re starting in an invite-only manner. We officially launch in March.
He went on to sign up as a client and paid me $1,000 per month on retainer to handle his social media needs.
On top of that, you can find startups who are hiring freelancers for contract jobs. That’s how I landed my $2,500-per-month retainer client.
My AngelList brought in $28,750 in income in 2015 alone.