Do you cringe and trip over your words as you ask for freelance testimonials? You’re not alone! Asking for clients to hand over the love nuggets (wait, what?!) can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be.

Are you ready to learn how to ask for a testimonial as a freelancer? Let’s do this thing!


banner reads how to ask for a testimonial crossed out and it says hug

Art by Jessica Harkins of Six Onions

When a client expresses joy, act on it!

Throughout the life of a project, our clients are naturally ponying up the love. The trick is acting on it as it happens – or circling back to it to reimagine it.

If you’re in a Zoom call or a client pops up something favourable as feedback on your work during the project’s development, act on it. Seize it with both hands.

Try something like:

“I’m so glad that’s your experience of working with me. Would you mind me sharing that as a testimonial on my website?”

And when they say, “SURE!”, consider sending them the Google My Business, LinkedIn or Facebook page review link to help them write the review where others will see it.

Offer to write something they can edit

Sometimes, the hardest part of writing the freelance testimonial is producing the words to say. If you kick start the process (including those lovely jubbly compliments you’ve received along the way), it can really help!

And if the client isn’t feeling so comfortable about you writing the testimonial, offer the middle ground of drafting some questions and editing the responses instead.

That way, the client doesn’t have to sit and stare at a blinking cursor, wondering what to say.

Great testimonial questions include:

  1. What did you enjoy about collaborating with me?
  2. What parts of the project exceeded your expectations?
  3. How did you feel when you saw your new campaign/website etc?
  4. What was the most rewarding part of collaborating on this project together?


Leverage dates to prompt action  

Learning to motivate behaviour from clients is great for making your life easier. By using the wrap up of a contract and the competition of a project, you can prompt for action on the testimonial stakes.

You can also leverage the time since you asked, the end of the financial year and different dates around the calendar to revisit the testimonial ask.


“Hey Fred, I can’t believe it’s been three months since we launched <project>! How has it gone since then?” 

And when they say “well”, jump on in and ask, including the wonderful increase in traction the business has enjoyed because of your work.

“Hey Fred, I can’t believe it’s been three months since we launched <project>! I am about to work on a similar project–do you mind if I ask you for a testimonial I can share with the new client?” 

Can help you circle back to an old client if some time has passed.

“Hey Fred, I am updating my website and portfolio. I was wondering if I could include a testimonial from you and an update on how the project we completed is performing?” 

“Hey Fred, it’s the end of another year (or EOFY), so I am gathering up all the projects I’ve completed in the last twelve months to add to my website. Fancy some free promotion on my website in exchange for a testimonial?”

As you can see, leveraging dates and events can really help you get to where you want to be!

Consider video for freelance testimonials

Some clients don’t like to write testimonials because they don’t know what to say, but they also don’t want words in print or to give up control. However, you can have some success with video format.

Asking a client to take part in a short Zoom call to ask them questions can help you:

  • Create video testimonials in full and edited formats for social media
  • Add audio testimonials to your podcasts
  • Create a show reel of various projects for YouTube or Vimeo you can share with prospects and on social media
  • Give you a transcript for a testimonial or case study

That takes the heat off testimonial writing while also giving you some great content to share in a variety of different formats.

Build a freelance case study instead

Freelance testimonials are great – but they also attract cynicism. After all, we don’t put the unfavourable feedback on our websites, do we? Also, a testimonial is limited in size and depth. With a case study, you can dig into the problems, solutions and how you and the client worked together.

However, freelance case studies leave a lot to be desired as well. Most are simply pictures of a project with backlinks. That doesn’t provide a persuasive argument for choosing you over another freelancer.

You can check out this guide to writing freelance case studies to find out more.

  1. Skip the client testimonial and ask for the referral instead

We use freelance testimonials to attract clients. What’s saying you can’t just go straight ahead and ask the client to refer you on to another?

Asking a client for a peer referral makes it easier on them because:

  1. It’s easier to frame it over conversation between peers than sit and formally write something
  2. It bypasses any issues your client may have with the company not allowing them to give testimonials for work completed

It’s also a far more fruitful approach because a referral reframes the focus on actively seeking work instead of praise. And asking for that kind of help has far more longevity in front of mind. It also primes your previous clients to think about you if a peer or someone they know asks for help months or even years later.

Setting the stage for a client referral looks a little like this:

“I had such a great time working on <project> with you. Who knew <topic> was so fascinating! I’d love to do more work in this industry. Can you suggest some tips on how to approach other professionals in the space?”

“You were great to work with – and I’d love more clients that share your passion for <topic>/attitude. Have you got any tips on how to meet more clients like you?”

“I’m actively seeking <type of> work at the moment. Do you know anyone who needs a hand?”

Offer to exchange testimonials

Ever wondered what it was like to collaborate with a client? Or had a client that you really liked that everyone should work with? Why not offer to write them a testimonial, too?

Qualifying and quantifying what it is like to work with a company is a deciding factor in traditional hiring circles. That’s why companies now receive reviews on online job sites. There’s nothing to say the same thing cannot be done on a company LinkedIn page or a person’s professional LinkedIn if done well.

Client testimonials should focus on:

  • The working relationship between freelancer and client
  • The elements of the project you have completed together
  • The ability, reliability, adaptability, and attitude during the project
  • Covering off points other freelancer’s care about, such as being valued for their opinions, paid on time, treated with respect, allowed to stretch their creative wings, etc.

A couple of DON’Ts for a client testimonial:

  • Don’t review the products and services from a customer perspective to avoid issues of bias or conflict of issue (employment is still employment, however brief)
  • Don’t speak about the abilities of the project to transform people’s lives or change the game. Client testimonials need to be an accurate representation of the working relationship you shared
  • Don’t compare clients that are great with ones that are not. It’s not attractive to see testimonials that hold one person or company up while sledging others

You should always check the rules related to reviewing and testimonials on specific platforms and industry best practices and regulations.

Want more help sharing the love with your clients? Download the Client Communication Toolkit via the Hug a Freelancer campaign page now for tips and templates to make great freelance testimonials now

Thank you to our sponsor, Rounded, for supporting this blog post and making it possible. <3 If you’re looking for more advice to make your freelancing sing, check out their whopping 71 pieces of advice from successful freelancers. 

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