I had to giggle yesterday. Here’s the backstory.
One of my writing students was in dire financial straits. Libby lost her job a couple of months ago, and her money was running out — she was in danger of losing her house.
“Pick up the phone, and start calling,” I said. “Make 200 calls, then get back to me.”
Well, shock and horror, poor Lib made 200 calls, and nothing… zero, zilch. She sent her profile to several dozen companies, but no gigs. “Make 200 more calls,” I said.
Yesterday, three days after her “I made 200 calls, but…” call, and after making 219 prospecting calls in total, Libby landed two gigs to write Web content. One was an on-going blogging gig, and the other was ten pages of straight content. Better yet, she had $2300 in her PayPal account, and $1,900 in her bank account. Six prospects had emailed or called for quotes.
I giggled because she could barely speak. She kept saying “I can’t believe it, it works!”
Yes, it works, as long as you do.
“Keep making calls,” I told her. “You need at least ten current clients, and a full pipeline. Don’t get too comfortable yet.”
Forget the BLAH
These days, everyone and his brother is a “writer”. This means that you need to stand out in some way.
I love Small Girls PR’s site, their tagline “Small Girls Big Business”, as well as how they describe themselves: “A NYC social interaction agency.” They’re memorable.
I discovered their site via this post, by Gary Vaynerchuk:
“This was cofounded by two actual small gals (5’3’ and 5’, I think), Bianca and Mallory. Two young ladies whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a little bit, and who have enormous drive and enormous hustle. One of my favorite things about them is that they started their business with a bootstrap mentality. “
PR agencies are everywhere, especially in New York. Small Girls PR’s managed to make their agency stand out.
Think about what’s different about YOU.
I forwarded Gary’s blog post to Libby, and asked her to brainstorm a tagline, something which would make her memorable. That’s the next step for her, to stand out from the crowd. Once she has ten clients, she’ll have a little breathing space so she can do this.
For now, until she gets those then clients, I want her to HUSTLE.
Get out and hustle
Getting GREAT writing jobs is simple. You’ve got to hustle.
One thing: don’t lower the fees you charge. Libby charges $150 an hour for her writing services. I think she can charge more than that. She’s an excellent writer. I suggested that once she’s got a few more clients, she lifts her rates.
As I said here, if you charge too little, you’ll cripple your business. Clients want the best writer they can afford. If you lower your rates, your business won’t be sustainable. You’ll burn out. Worse, clients won’t trust you, because you’re charging too little. If you’re making money for your clients, you need to make money too. You need time to think and plan. So please, charge appropriately.
I’m proud of Libby, because she hustled, even when she was going through tough times.
There are unbelievable opportunities for all writers today, but you need to go after them. They won’t come to you. Forget “blah”, and hustle. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you do. Onward! 😉
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