This week I’m going to be sharing the five proven strategies I use to get freelance writing clients. This episode is aimed more toward beginners, however there are definitely some good reminders for those who have been freelancing for a while.
Although I now make money online in multiple ways, I often times joke that freelance writing was my gateway drug. I started freelancing back in 2010 because I couldn’t find a job. I literally Googled “how to make money writing” and went from there.
Back then I was still dealing with content mills, terrible rates and a lot of confusion. To be honest there weren’t a whole lot of examples of people making a living writing, at least not like there are now.
Fast forward a few years and entrepreneurship is on the rise. According to an MSN Money report from 2015, freelance and contract work has risen 24% since 2003. That’s insane!
It also shows that there’s plenty of work to be had. There are certainly far more opportunities now than there were six years ago.
So how do you get in on this work revolution? How do you get in on the freelance economy? By following my five strategies for finding freelance writing clients.
Strategy #1: Realize you are a marketer.
If you want to find freelance writing clients, you have to make an extremely important realization: You aren’t just a writer, you’re a marketer.
You help people with their copy and content. You help them get leads. You help them keep up with the Google Game with your words. You save them time. You help them make sales with the content you’ve written.
The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll start seeing yourself as a serious contender for writing gigs. Additionally, prospects start taking you more seriously as well.
Strategy #2: Patiently try your hand at job boards.
I know that job boards have gotten a bad rap, but to be honest with you I have found some of my best gigs there. Additionally, not only have I found writing gigs with cool companies, those gigs have also turned into other opportunities like consulting and video work.
Most recently a company I found via a job board flew me to Orlando to film a class about starting a business online. It is by far one of the coolest projects I’ve ever gotten paid for.
This is to say that you shouldn’t totally give up on job boards when you plan to find freelance writing clients. You just have to remember to be patient and use some tricks:
- Use a service like IFTTT to get job board updates immediately sent to your inbox. Michelle Nickolaisen has a great video tutorial on how to do this.
- Respond quickly. It’s all about timing.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Just because it says a certain number on the ad doesn’t mean they won’t budge.
- Learn to craft a killer pitch. I cover pitching in my Be Your Own PR Agent workshop.
As time goes on you can layer in other strategies like referrals and pitching companies directly, however you can start with job boards.
Strategy #3: Figure out your niche.
The phrase “The riches are in the niches” exists for a reason. The sooner you specialize in the kind of content you write the sooner you’ll see more money coming in. People are willing to pay more money for specialists. Additionally, by specializing there’s no longer any doubt as to what you do.
Strategy #4: Position yourself as a subject matter expert.
Just like people are willing to pay more money for specialists, they are also willing to pay more money for proven subject matter experts. It takes time to build yourself up as an expert, but it is totally worth it. There comes a time when you’ve created so much content that you reach a tipping point. From that point forward, people start coming to you.
Here are some of the ways you can position yourself as an expert to find freelance writing clients:
- Start a blog.
- Create good content on your own.
- Build your social media following.
- Get interviewed and learn how to get media placements.
I cover exactly how to become a subject matter expert in my Blogging for Business class.
Strategy #5 Hustle.
I’m about to burst some bubbles here.
In the very beginning stages of your business, you’re going to have to hustle to find freelance writing clients. There is no “build it and they will come”, at least not at first. And even when they do start coming it takes a while to get there.
That means you have to put in the work. You need to approach people. You need to show up to events. You need to put in the time.