Is your freelance writing business in a rut?
You’ve got clients, but you feel as if you should be doing better… Or perhaps you’re new at the freelancing game, and wonder how you can get more and better clients.
Consider that your success may be less about writing, and more about business. Here’s why I say that it’s less about the writing: because writers who are less competent than you make more money.
I see this every day with my coaching students. Competent writers, with great credits, and lots of ability, are making a mere fraction of what their less competent peers make.
A digression. You know that I encourage you to blog. I encourage blogging, because blogging gives you confidence, and your income depends on your confidence.
Here’s an example. Some writers charge ridiculously low fees, because “my clients can’t pay more”. Of course your clients will tell you that they can’t pay more. No one wants to pay for writing.
They’re happy to pay for more business, however. If you can show them how they might do that, your fee becomes immaterial. Everyone wants to do more business, and if you can show them how, they won’t quibble about your rates.
Let’s look at four ideas to help you to boost your freelance writing business today.
1. Raise your rates by 10% across the board
Raise your rates first. It’s a simple step, and most of your clients won’t even notice, I promise. 🙂
Just create a new schedule of fees, and use it. Yes, use it with current clients too, as well as with new clients. If a client comments, just say: “my rates have risen.” That’s all you need to say. You don’t need to explain.
2. Enhance your freelance offerings
Partner with a web developer, and/ or a graphic designer, so that you can take on bigger projects. Your clients want to hire you with the same ease as they’d hire an agency: they want you to manage everything. And you can.
While it’s ideal to form relationships before you need someone’s expertise, it’s easy enough to take on a project, then hire a developer or a designer via Upwork or other freelance marketplace.
Speaking of Upwork, get an account, if you don’t have one. If you’re a new freelancer, bid on some gigs. If you’re experienced, use the freelance marketplaces to brainstorm new services you can offer your clients.
Pick up the phone and call a couple of local designers. Tell them you’re expanding your business. Ask them what they’re charging, so you’ll have some idea on fees when you develop proposals and quotes for clients.
3. Set a goal: one new client a week, every week
Freelancers tend to complete gigs, and then never give the client a thought again. That’s always a mistake, and it’s the primary reason that freelancers go through feast and famine syndrome.
Set a goal that you’ll get one new client a week, every week. Write it on your calendar.
A new client a week not only increases your income, but it means that at the end of the year, you’ve collected 50 additional clients.
Here’s the most important advice for your freelance writing business…
4. Follow up with five clients a week
If someone’s hired you, they will hire you again. Follow up with clients you worked with two months ago, six months ago, and six years ago.
It doesn’t take much to follow up. Just send a quick tweet, or an email message. I sent messages to three clients while I waited for a meeting to start last week.
A tip: avoid over-thinking your follow up process. Create a couple of basic templates, then customize them for each client.
Get creative. Customize your messages by:
- Checking out the client’s website and making suggestions to help the site to sell.
- Checking business news websites for stories about your client’s industry. Mention the news story when you contact the client.
In summary, think of your freelance writing career as a business. Raise your rates, and get a new client each week. Your business will grow, more quickly than you imagine.
Here’s a bonus tip…
Bonus freelance writing tip: hire help on the freelance marketplaces
Often, when I encourage a student to win a new client a week, he worries he’ll become so busy he can’t meet deadlines.
If you’re hesitant to take on a new clients and projects, get help from the outsourcing websites. Flying solo is fine when you’re starting out. As your freelance business grows, think about scaling your efforts.
Most importantly of course, have fun. 🙂
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Updated: May 15, 2021
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.