Have you wondered whether you could get started as a freelance writer? Over the past months, I’ve received many questions from aspiring writers.
These questions boil down to: how do you get started? How do you get your first client?
Get started as a freelance writer today
Companies and people hire writers every day. In Your Writing Side Hustle: 4 Steps To Thinking Like A Writer, we said:
Words are everywhere and someone paid for them.
The above article gives you a process which helps you to start thinking like someone who gets paid to write. (Try it.)
Start by creating your calling card.
1. Introduce yourself: create your calling card
Listen up: people hire people they know.
Getting known starts with an introduction to you and the writing services you provide as a freelance writer.
Before the dawn of the web, introducing yourself to potential clients cost money. You’d send out letters of introduction (LOIs) via postal mail. When you got a nibble, you’d send an information packet to the prospect. Sending out ten or 20 of these packets a week became very expensive.
Today, you can introduce yourself and your services for next to nothing.
Start by setting up your own blog. This is both a learning experience (you’ll learn skills you’ll need in your new career) and a way to get clients.
Write a couple of posts on the blog. These posts are both an intro and your starter portfolio.
2. Nothing happens until someone sells something: get a client
Got a blog? Excellent. One or two posts will do, because in the beginning, you’ll focus on local clients.
Confine your marketing to your local area initially because it’s much easier to get clients. Do a Google search for local businesses. Some will have websites. Send them a LOI.
A quick email message will do. Say who you are, why you’re getting in touch and add a link to your new blog.
Here’s a mistake to avoid. I see many writers promoting themselves as “content writers.” Please don’t do this. Your prospective clients don’t want content. They DO want customers.
Frame your offering like this: “I can help you to double the customers your website is currently attracting.” With more content (of the right kind), your prospect will get more traffic to his site and more sales. That’s what he wants: all you need to do is offer to help with that.
If you frame your offering from your customers’ point of view, rather than your own, you’re much more likely to get hired.
3. Get testimonials: it’s easy
When you’re new, you need credibility. Your clients give you that, via testimonials.
But as a new freelance writer, you may not know how to get them. Clients are busy and they’re thrilled you’ve completed the project. They won’t automatically write you a testimonial; you need to ask.
Here’s how. When you complete a gig, ask your client a couple of simple questions:
- “Would you say that your experience with me was positive—would you hire me again?”
- “How would you describe the experience?”
Hey presto—you now have a testimonial.
As a new freelance writer, don’t overthink it
I work with many writers; overthinking is pretty much an occupational hazard. And yes, I do it too. 🙂
Start sending out LOIs. Then send more. You’ll get clients and you’ll be launched on a brand new career.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.