Whether you’re new to freelance writing, or you’ve been doing it for a long time – like me – there is always room to grow your business. I’ve written a lot about getting more clients, and other issues related to freelancing, but I’ve come across five tips that, taken either individually or combined, will help to ramp up your freelance business… and also help you to make a better living.
Define your “best” client
Before you market your services to that first or next client, define who you want to work for. Ask yourself: Who do you enjoy working with – what types of businesses or clients or industries? Identify their values, and how they align with yours. Determine their struggles – know their problems, and what they need. Does your writing experience and ability fit this client? Where can you get these clients? How do you get referred to them? These are all important questions to answer before doing anything else.
Approach a potential client and be generous with your offer
Once you know a possible client’s needs or pain points, talk to them about in their language, and explain how you can help them to solve that problem. It’s not about selling your services – it’s about addressing their need, helping them to get better, finding a solution. Be prepared to WOW them with a generous offer. Create a targeted trial solution that solves a specific need, and that will fit into their budget, so they can see what you do without breaking the bank. (I don’t advocate giving anything for free – expect perhaps a consult – or heavy discounts. But I do like the tripwire offer, or the small but powerful offer that gives a lot of value.)
When you do an assignment for a client, go above and beyond. Do a great job, and then WOW them with something else – completing it ahead of schedule, following up with a small gift, calling to ask what they thought. Of course, always do a great job.
Don’t come off as the same editor or writer or designer that they’ve worked with in the past. Show that you are supportive of their needs, and not just doing a job to get paid. Find ways to make them better – offer help where you can. Exude positivity.
Ignore everyone else – including what I just wrote
Do what works for you in your business. Everyone has advice and tips on what has worked for them. Do what works for you. Take all the advice, learn from it, apply what works for you – and forge your own path.
A few more words of advice
- Niches are great, but consider focusing on a theme rather than a niche, which allows you to work across more markets – and yet still focus your writing and editing.
- Websites are nice, but referrals are more effective at building your business and getting great clients.
- Don’t compete on price – it’s a race to the bottom. Higher rates will make you more attractive to certain clients, who also pay higher rates.
- Charge according to your value, not by the hour or the word. There are situations where you will charge by the unit (hour, word, etc.), but look for opportunities to quote based on the value you provide.
- Before quoting anything, know your living wage, and what you need / want to earn.
Let me know your thoughts, or if you want to discuss ramping up your freelancing business – email@example.com.