Living the dream as a freelancer in sunny Spain — sounds enticing, doesn't it? But if it's so wonderful, why isn't everyone doing it?
The reality is that many people get lost in the "how-to" labyrinth. There's mastering the language, building a social circle, registering a business, wrestling with taxes — all these complexities could make even the most enthusiastic adventurer hesitate.
But that's where we step in! At Xolo, we're champions at simplifying the complex. And today, we're taking you on a journey to uncover the secrets of finding freelance clients in Spain. We’ll start by exploring some proven strategies before getting first-hand experience from some successful solos in the Xolo community.
This guide is your trusty cheat sheet to winning at freelance life in Spain. Whether you're a writer, designer, developer, or consultant, we help you break down the barriers, decode the secrets of the freelance market, and ultimately, find clients who are as passionate about your work as you are.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Spain is basically life goals. We're talking never-ending summers, postcard-perfect beaches, tapas that will make your taste buds dance, and a social calendar buzzing with life.
But Spain isn’t a long-term holiday destination. It’s quickly carving out its place as a hotspot for tech investment and entrepreneurship. Madrid and Barcelona recently made their way onto DEEP Ecosystem’s Top 10 Most Popular Startup Hubs in Europe with Barcelona clinching third place behind Berlin and London. One epicenter of startup activity is in 22@Barcelona, a sprawling 200-hectare neighborhood that’s a bustling hub of innovation, creativity, design, and tech. Already home to six unicorns and with around 15 more just around the corner, 22@Barcelona is buzzing with potential.
This blend of opportunity and easy living attracts heaps of international investment, multinational corporations, and freelancers from all over the world who want to take advantage of Spain’s fertile business landscape. And for ambitious solos like you, that means one thing: clients!
Alright, so you're sold on Spain and ready to make your mark on the freelance world. If you’re one of the lucky bunch with a full-time remote gig for a foreign company, felicidades, amigo, enjoy the security.
But for the rest of us, here’s a step-by-step framework for how to find your first clients as a freelancer in Spain.
First off, take a moment to identify your niche. Are you an SEO whiz? A deity of data analytics? Or maybe a graphic design guru? Pinpointing your unique skills will not only help you stand out from the crowd but also enable you to target clients who are looking for exactly what you offer. Specificity is often a ticket to success. So rather than offering everything and struggling to keep all your plates in the air, focus first on what you’re best at.
Before you start hunting for clients, make sure you've correctly registered as a freelancer in Spain. If you’re not on the books, you can’t issue invoices, and clients don’t take too kindly to that.
Don’t panic, it’s not as daunting as it sounds! In fact, Xolo will register your business for free in just 24 hours, so you can check that off your to-do list 😉.
But that’s not all. If you’re new to invoices, tax returns, and paying your own social security, we’ll make all of that seem like a walk in the park. We’re like your personal business assistant, giving you more time to focus on your work and less on paperwork.
Once you've identified your niche and set up your business, it's time to get out there and mingle! Networking is an essential part of finding clients as a freelancer. Attend local events, meetups, and conferences related to your industry.
Online communities are of course a quick way to integrate yourself and find clients as a freelancer. You can find Facebook groups for almost anything, as long as you’re prepared to filter out the crypto scams and lost dogs. But dedicated platforms like our very own Xolo Slack community cut through the BS so you can connect with potential collaborators and clients, browse job opportunities, and get advice on everything to do with freelance life in Spain.
You’ll miss 100% of the clients you don’t approach, so put yourself out there through direct outreach, responding to job postings, or getting referrals from your network. Work on your pitch to show your potential clients how your unique skills can solve their problems, and keep it sleek and professional.
Finding your first clients as a freelancer in Spain might seem like a distant achievement right now. But like every big journey in life, it starts with a single step.
You’re never going to find clients as a freelancer if you don’t know where to look. So here are some of the top spots to make the right connections, each with a tip on how to get the most out of it.
If you're physically in Spain, local networking events can be a goldmine for finding potential clients. There are plenty of events in Spain’s major cities, whether it's a startup launch, a tech conference, or a creative workshop. So keep your ears open for a chance to meet business owners and entrepreneurs who might need of your services.
Top tip: Don't be shy! Engage with people, show genuine interest in their work, and subtly weave in what you do. And remember, you're not just there to sell your services. Networking is about building relationships, so be genuine and focus on making meaningful connections.
In the digital era, finding freelance work is often just a click away. You might have heard of global beasts like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer, but it often feels like they promote quantity over quality. If you’re more into quality, the Xolo Slack community has a channel dedicated to job offers. Members post offers you won’t find anywhere else and you’ll get a weekly round-up of external jobs from our delightful admin, Irene 😍.
Top tip: Craft a profile that showcases your skills and past work. Remember, competition can be fierce on these platforms, so take the time to make your pitches compelling.
Industry events, both physical and virtual, are a great place to find clients as a freelancer in Spain. They’re effectively a way of concentrating all the big hitters from one sector in one place, boosting your chance of making good connections.
Top tip: You’ll rarely get noticed if you don’t participate. Ask questions, share insights, and don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet (within reason, obviously. You don’t want to be that guy). Make sure to have a follow-up plan — a simple LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message can go a long way.
Yes, you read it right. Social media isn't just for funny cat videos or keeping up with your friends. Sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Instagram can be goldmines for finding freelance clients. LinkedIn is beneficial B2B services, while Instagram can be fantastic if you're in a creative field. Obviously, as soon as you’re online, you’re reaching out to the entire world, so spread your net wide for a diverse client list.
Top tip: To get the most out of social media, make sure your profile is professional and accurately represents you. Join relevant groups, engage with industry-related content, and don't be bold, and reach out to potential clients directly.
Content marketing is all about sharing valuable content to stamp your mark and get noticed. Blogs, YouTube channels, and podcasts — they’re all places to share your expertise and personality.
Top tip: The key here is consistency and value. Using content marketing to find clients as a freelancer requires high-quality content that resonates with your potential clients. Show them you're an expert in your field, and they'll be more likely to hire you when they need your services.
Clearly, it makes more sense to hedge your bets here. Hanging all your hopes on one industry event a year is quite a risk, so invest time into all five for your best chance of finding freelance clients.
Great! You’ve found your first few freelance clients. But how do you keep the momentum up?
First and foremost, nothing beats delivering high-quality work. This not only increases the chances of your current clients hiring you again but can also lead to referrals. Word-of-mouth is ideal for finding clients as a freelancer, and satisfied customers are often more than willing to recommend you to their network.
Speaking of referrals, don't be afraid to ask for them! If your clients are pleased with your work, they'll likely be happy to refer you to others. You could even offer a discount or a bonus service for any successful referral to sweeten the deal.
Aside from being a smart way to keep up with this rapidly evolving world we live in, continually developing your skills can open new doors to new clients. For example, if you're a web designer, learning user experience (UX) design could allow you to offer a broader range of services to clients. Online courses, webinars, and workshops are great ways to keep expanding your knowledge.
As we mentioned before, having a strong online presence is crucial in attracting clients. Keep your social media profiles and website (if you have one) up-to-date with your latest work and offerings. Also, take a minute to understand the basics of SEO to increase your visibility on search engines.
If you’re under the pump with work, you won’t have the time — or the headspace — to get out there and sell yourself to the next client. So while being busy helps you pay the bills, it can also lead you to a plateau.
Xolo to the rescue again! Our solos save a massive chunk of time every month by automating their invoice creation and leaving the time-consuming tax work to us.
So that’s the theory, what does it look like in real life?
We spoke to some of the Xolo Slack community about their experience finding freelance clients in Spain.
On using a range of strategies to find clients…
“I use various strategies, such as spreading the word within my network (friends, former colleagues, and past clients). This approach has led me to the most exceptional clients. I also use freelancer platforms like Fiverr, although I have found that reliability can be somewhat inconsistent there.
I’ve also gained clients through family members. It always catches me off guard, as they are typically not the first people I consider. Since I don't wear my professional hat when I'm with them, it's always a nice surprise to gain a client through them.”
On growing her client base…
“I have expanded my client base by exploring different ways to connect with people. This includes utilizing freelancer platforms, engaging in Slack communities, leveraging LinkedIn, and nurturing relationships with people I worked with. I found that staying active and actively discussing my work helps to increase awareness among people.”
On his best methods for finding clients…
“Word of mouth has always worked best for me. If you do a good job for a client, then they’ll talk about it to other people in their company, who might give you work. However, all you can do to make this happen is do a good job, which is not easy to guarantee when you’re starting out. ”
On making the most of first introductions…
“I started very late in the day to actively try and find clients as a freelancer. For me, the number one method is getting an introduction from someone you know. Ask anyone you know (a friend or maybe an existing client) to try and introduce you to someone in an email with you in CC. Once they’ve done that, go straight in with your follow-up email showing what you do, and see if you can get that person to agree to a (very brief) video meeting. Keep the person that introduced you in CC. Don’t wait for that person to get back to you, get ahead and lead the narrative.
What should you say in your video call? Just introduce yourself, make conversation — 90% of this call is for the client to just get to know you as a person. Try to avoid just talking about your work, ask them questions about themselves and their company and identify their pain points.
I definitely could have done this a lot earlier in my career, but the benefit is that the longer time goes on, the better you are at your job, so the more impressive your portfolio will be.”
On finding her first clients…
“I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the freelancing world through a dear friend. She taught me marketing and got me started with my first clients. Once I was ready to fly solo, I quit my 9-5 and went all-in on freelancing.”
On finding new clients…
“I always use Upwork to get my clients. I’ve been working fully remote since 2016 and I only want to have online clients, so I don’t advertise locally nor focus on doing any SEO for my website.
I’ve built my profile on Upwork for seven years, gathering reviews, hours, and a top-rated status. That helps me get my profile noticed when applying to new tasks, jobs, and clients. My suggestion is to be patient and build your profile from the ground up. Even if that means starting with smaller jobs, in due time, you will see the results. It’s also a safe way to get to know your clients, and for them to get to know you as well because the platform handles payments and registers working time.”
And a bit of advice for new freelancers…
“I prefer quality over quantity. For me, it’s really important to have a good personal-professional life balance. I used to overwork myself by accepting all the job offers I got on Upwork, to the point that I didn’t have a life anymore. Now it’s the opposite, I have a target salary in mind per month and that’s what I aim for. If I can reach it with only one or two clients, I won’t push for more.”
Building a successful freelance career in Spain is more than just finding clients. It's about community, support, and having the right tools to manage your business smoothly. And what if we told you there's a place where all those elements converge?
We're talking about the Xolo Slack community. More than a simple chat tool, it's a vibrant and welcoming community of freelancers like you who've dared to dream and make Spain their work and play hub.
Joining the Xolo Slack community is like gaining a whole team of freelance buddies ready to share their experiences, advice, and even leads for new gigs. Here, you can connect with freelancers with other specializations, ask your burning questions, share your little victories or vent about the challenges — and know that there's always someone who can relate.
If you’d like to join solos like Alice, Nathan, and Luna, it couldn’t be easier.
As the saying goes, don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. So, why wait? Sign up for the Xolo Slack community and start building connections today.
A place to ask questions, share resources, find job opportunities and connect with your fellow fiercely independent freelancers!
James McKenna has been a freelancer since 2017, working in subtitling, translation, and his main passion — writing. He loves nothing more than falling down a rabbit hole, a habit that has helped him specialize in areas as diverse as biotech, climate change, higher education, and business strategy.
Based in Barcelona, James learned the ropes the hard way, making mistakes that turned into valuable learning experiences. After working hard to establish himself, he is now working smart, and is always on the lookout for ways to streamline his business.