As a freelance writer, you wish to have a constant inflow of clients. Something you could instantly tap into any time and voila, there’s a new client enquiry in your inbox!
And until now, you probably thought it’s unreasonable, even foolish, to expect that, right?
After all where would you find such abundant sources where real clients hang out?
Well, you might be surprised.
Because it’s absolutely possible. And no, you’re not being unreasonable or lunatic to ask for it.
In fact, you’re being smart.
In this post, I explore 3 ways I source my clients. You may have heard of these before, but not in the way I use them.
Here Are 3 Little-Known Ways to Find Freelance Writing Clients
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: LinkedIn is by far the most lucrative social media platform out there to source freelance writing clients.
The big reason LinkedIn works so well is because, unlike Facebook, it’s not a personal profile. Your prospects can check your profile out and decide if they want to hire you.
But you don’t have to be so passive about it. Be proactive and reach out to prospects in your niche by doing a simple search.
For example, if you’re after an editor of a trade magazine, you can easily source their details from LinkedIn and put your best foot forward in your pitch email.
There’s another neat LinkedIn feature that I use a lot. If you go on the Profile tab and hover your mouse on it for a second, you’ll notice a link to “Who’s viewed your profile”.
Upon clicking it, you’ll see a list of people who’ve recently clicked on your profile.
Tip: If you have a premium membership, you’ll see a “full list” of people, not just a recent few.
Now here’s what’s interesting:
These people may be your ideal prospects and it only takes an email on your part to nudge them into action.
I use a 4-step strategy below – feel free to steal it:
- Ice breaker: In the email, I like to introduce myself and highlight pointers from their profile that I find interesting. For example, if they recently had an anniversary, I congratulate them. I like to find common themes between us and just say “We have a lot in common” and state what it iss, such as a background in marketing.
- Getting to know them better: I get curious about their current projects and if they are facing any hiccups.
- Networking and relationship-building: I help them with the issue or suggest ways to do something better. For example, if I notice grammatical mistakes or a broken link on their website, I’ll ask for permission to share this and let them know of it. Sometimes, if it’s a missing blog, I’ll let them know why a blog is a good idea for their business and how they can start. You never know, they might end up hiring you to ghost-blog for them.
- Pitch: Lastly, I ask if I can be of any help and point them toward my services.
By step 3, I already know a lot about my prospect and can qualify whether or not they are my ideal client.
You can say this approach is subtle, but it works nevertheless and has gained me retainer clients. I prefer to build a relationship before asking for business.
I run three meetups in my community via Meetup.com. The groups have a combined membership of 500+ women. Most of my online marketing and mentoring clients come from there.
Just yesterday, I had organised a mastermind meetup and it was five of us. By the end of the hour, one lady came up to me to inquire about my services. Two hours later, we were on phone and after a few simple email exchanges, she’d signed up for my Platinum pack ($1,000).
My point? Networking really does work. But you got to be doing it right.
Here’s why: One of my groups for example is called “Women Entrepreneurs in Business” – it’s an ideal fit for my target audience; that is women entrepreneurs based in Melbourne.
The thing with meetups is you can’t be pushy or too promotional – it’s again a networking platform where you build a relationship and help your target market.
Think of it like blogging or content marketing – why would Pat Flynn, Ramit Sethi, Jon Morrow and others write super-helpful information after spending hours behind each post and give it all away for free?
Simple – they are forming a relationship with their reader. When the time’s right, they may pitch you their services, but it’s almost never at word “hello”.
To source clients from this platform, you can either join a meetup group that targets your market or become an organiser of one yourself. It works pretty well if you don’t mind meeting people face to face.
Tip: Don’t just start a group for other writers if you’re after some real paying clients – other writers won’t hire you!
So if you’re a copywriter for corporates, it may be a good idea to start a group for marketing managers who are looking to meet other professionals. But it won’t be smart to start one for other copywriters.
I’ll admit – I don’t spend a lot of my days pitching magazines because I enjoy working with entrepreneurs and businesses more.
But having sold my work to national magazines and paid $1 per word, I find these gigs are very lucrative. Once you set your foot in the door and do all the yards, you will start enjoying the process.
Always be on the lookout for potential stories. Here’s an example of what I mean:
I’m writing this post from a hotel in Darwin, Australia. We are in the “Top End” for my partner’s work, but we’re also doing quite a bit of sightseeing around the city.
The other day we went for the Jumping Crocodile cruise a few kilometres on the outskirts of Darwin. I was very scared to step in to the cruise in the beginning. My partner, being his adventurous self, had booked our tickets for the smaller cruise where you could spot the crocs at a much closer distance. Hardly 3-4 feet away if you ask me.
So I reluctantly jumped inside.
After assuring us that if we stuck to the rules, the crocs won’t chew off our arms during their safety information, the driver took us a few hundred metres away from the bank and used her tricks to attract crocs toward our boat. The first croc was spotted only 100 metres from where we started.
What an experience!
I won’t get into the details, but suffice it to say I’d discovered a very exotic wildlife and experienced it real up and close. Our driver, Susan, was amazing with the Q & A. She had boatloads of knowlegde (no pun intended!) about the habitats of the area.
By the end of the hour-long cruise, I was so thrilled with the experience that decided to interview Susan and write a story about the adventure. I took her email address for the interviewing her via email later.
So my point? As a freelance writer, be on the outlook of juicy ideas that sell. You’re surrounded by them. Give it your best short.
Of course, the first step is to research magazines that accept adventure and travel stories (there are plenty). Next, study their guidelines and what they publish. Only then it’s time to pitch the story with a kick-ass query email. And if I get a “Yes”, I start writing.
This post explains more about magazine writing if you’re interested.
How do you source well-paying clients in your freelance writing business? Share your thoughts below.Featured Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
LOVE LOVE LOVE – this has to be one of my favorite posts of yours, Pooja! Kudos on the Croc Cruise! I went on a Gator Cruise in Florida, and that scared the heck outta me 😉
My mentor always asks me to ‘seek stories everywhere’ and your success validates this #HUGSSSS
I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Haha, yeah they can get scary so I like to keep a good distance.
Are you a freelance writer in the making?
And thanks for the shout out on Facebook BTW. 🙂
Great post – I definitely have to learn more about LinkedIn and using Meetup.com.
And wow, jumping crocs. How memorable!
Definitely, meetups are pretty cool and you have a ton to talk about, if not business. 😉
Thanks for swinging by!
Excellent post Pooja!!
The LinkedIn suggestion is fantastic. I’ve not really considered updating my profile and changing it from focusing on my day job to what I really want to do – write about sport for a living.
I guess it actually reflects that subconcious fear of admitting that you want to ditch that corporate day job!
Thanks, yes LI works like a charm. I always make it a point to engage with my new connections and this brings in a LOT of leads.
You can always use a “pipe” symbol to state the two things you’re doing professionally — your current day job and freelancing.
That said, I want to add that just updating your profile won’t help. You got to be proactive and seek out connections, as well as engage the ones who invite you to connect on LI.
Great post you have there!
I like the linked option with the practical step by step action plan.
My favorite method is Twitter, I would often search for terms like ‘looking for writer, need writer, looking for blogger or need blogger’. I usually pick up leads this way.
Great idea Aisha. Twitter works neatly. Have you found those leads to convert? Love to hear your experience.
Love this post!
I have clients asking me all the time about freelance writing and I will send them to your site, Pooja.
Thanks for the great info.
Great to see you here. Sure, I’d be happy to help 🙂