Cover art for podcast The Freelance Podclass

The Freelance Podclass

85 EpisodesProduced by Craig CanningsWebsite

The Freelance Podclass is not your ordinary podcast! It features a series of actionable lessons designed to help you solve the biggest challenges you are facing in launching and growing a profitable Freelance Business. Join the founder of Freelance University, Craig Cannings, and an amazing faculty … read more


The Referral Marketing Class

In this class we talk about referral marketing - one of the easiest ways to find clients and one of the best strategies to grow and scale your freelance business. But how do we do it well? How do we get ideal clients referred to us from people who know, like and trust us? I will show you a three-step system for how you can build a referral marketing machine into your freelance business!


Podcast Outline:


0:00 - Opening thoughts

0:49 - Introduction to the topic of Referral Marketing

5:00 - Two Types of Referrals:

  • Indirect Referrals (e.g. Facebook Page Reviews, LinkedIn Recommendations, testimonial or video case study on your website)
  • Direct Referrals (e.g. Someone directly passes on your name to another relevant contact.)


7:02 - Two Keys to Getting New Referrals:

  • 1) Be referable.
  • 2) Build an effective referral marketing system.


8:47 - Three Simple Steps to Building an Effective Client Referral System


  • 8:54 - Step #1: Determine your ideal client referral.
    • Identify three ideal clients.
    • Identify the clients’ pain points (e.g. technical struggles, difficulty organizing their business, lacking bandwidth and time to do all that their business demands of them).
    • Articulate this information to the people who will be referring you business.


  • 14:38 - Step #2: Identify your best referral sources.
    • Five common referral sources:
      • 1) Current and past clients (absolute best referral source)
      • 2) Family and friends
      • 3) Past employers and colleagues
      • 4) Local connections (e.g. businesses, shops, restaurants, accountants)
      • 5) Other freelancers or virtual assistants
    • Never be afraid to ask for a referral.


  • 20:10 - Step #3: Build your referral outreach plan.
    • Five questions (Five W’s):
      • 1) Why are you asking for a referral?
      • 2) Who are you asking?
        • Make a list of 5-10 people who you could ask for referrals.
      • 3) Where are you asking? 
        • I.e. the best medium to reach out to your referrer ( person, phone or video call, email, direct message in social media, survey at the end of your service)
      • 4) When are you asking?
        • Friends and family or colleagues - Ask right away.
        • An existing client - Ask once you’ve established trust and built credibility with that client.
        • Be careful not to ask prematurely.
      • 5) What are you asking?
        • First, acknowledge your appreciation for your client or friend (the referrer).
        • Be clear that you have some spots open for new clients.
        • Be specific on who your ideal audience is and the services that you provide.
        • Include an incentive.
        • Thank them for their support.


28:32 - Encouragement to never ever be afraid to ask for a referral.

28:51 - Closing thoughts

Resources and tools discussed in this episode:


Nielsen Insights: 


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini: 


Facebook Page Reviews: 


LinkedIn Recommendations: 


Starbucks Gift Cards: Gift Cards:

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