Freelance writing is pretty much recession-proof, so take heart if you’ve lost gigs and clients because of the pandemic.
You may need to boost your marketing and visibility, but clients are out there, waiting for you. Look on your losses as an opportunity to revamp and revitalize your business.
Start by discovering the big secret to winning more gigs.
Freelance writing: your secret to winning more gigs
Here’s the secret: many freelance writers are unreliable. They accept a gig, then ghost their client. As a result, clients are nervous when they hire a freelancer.
This means that if you’re reliable you’ll win gigs over “better” writers. You’ll get more referrals.
Your essential strategy: whether you’re a newbie or an experienced pro, commit to meeting and beating your deadlines.
Let’s look at some easy ways you can do that.
1. Look on each client as a doorway to more clients
Are you a new freelancer? You have concerns and doubts, but relax. Building your business will never be as challenging again, because you’re starting from zero.
Your first client changes everything: someone has hired you to write. Moreover, each project you undertake brings the promise of more clients. (See “create your own goldmine” below.)
Each client is a doorway. Consider this. When a client has a need for your services, chances are that he’ll need you again. In addition, you can ask for referrals.
Over the years, all of my best and most exciting gigs came from referrals. I was writing for computer magazines in the 1990s when an editor recommended me to an acquisitions editor at a publisher of business books.
Not only did the editor accept several book proposals, she also hired me for ghostwriting projects which led to an entirely new career.
Clients are the lifeblood of your business: treat them like gold.
2. Eliminate procrastination: create writing processes with checklists
In freelance writing, as in other businesses, time is literally money. You can’t afford to procrastinate. Over the years, I’ve found that checklists are a lifesaver. Rather than staring at a brief and wondering how to approach it, I simply create a checklist from a template and work through it.
Although each writing project you undertake will be different, you can create checklists for projects which are similar.
For example, writing a series of Facebook ads is similar to writing any other series of ads. Create an “ads” checklist. Your list might include items like:
- Initial research;
- Challenges of the target audience?
- Create choice of headlines;
- Choose images;
- Research keywords and taglines…
When you’re ready to work on the project, simply copy a checklist, set a Pomodoro timer and start.
3. Schedule everything: find a calendar app you can use anywhere
Tip: be aware if it’s not on your calendar, it’s not happening.
Task lists are amazing, but it’s easy to stare at a task list with ten items and feel so overwhelmed you never start on any of them.
Block out time on your calendar for each task on a task list.
BTW, this applies to checklists too: add each item on a checklist to your calendar app. Each evening, review tomorrow’s calendar.
4. Stay in touch and SPEAK UP: ask questions, get answers
Let’s say someone has hired you to write web content and an email autoresponder sequence. Your deadline is two weeks away.
Suggestion: set a deadline for the project a couple of days before your real deadline.
What if you’re unsure about something in the brief (project description)? What do you do? Let’s say that you research to find an answer, but find you’re still uncertain. You can waste a lot of time worrying—contact the client and ask.
Nothing is more important than completing the project on time. Your client depends on you.
So, always stay in touch with your client:
- When you’re unsure of something, ask;
- If a project will take longer than one week, send your client regular updates.
5. Create your own goldmine: follow up with clients
The two most important words for any freelancer: follow up.
Clients are the life blood of your business. Follow up after you complete a project. It’s easy to do. You don’t need to write a long screed, just send a few sentences to remind your client that you’re willing and able to help with his projects.
Enjoy your freelance writing career
As a freelance writer, you’re a free agent. You choose what you want to write. Moreover, you can choose the hours you work, and where you work.
Use the above tips to meet and beat deadlines and build a satisfying career.
Today, the opportunities for writers have never been greater. Back in the day a writer who was making six-figures a year seemed a creature of myth. These days, highly successful writers are making six figures a month.
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The Easy-Write Process changed my life; I developed it over several years of struggling with writing. Try it: it works for all types of writing, whether you're writing books, blogging, or self-publishing.More info →
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.