Cindi, via Skribit, asks me to write about: “The first client – how to approach, pricing, time, etc.”
Excellent question, Cindi, because that’s the number one challenge for new writers — having the fortitude to step up to a prospective client, and get down to business. 🙂
Here’s the answer in a nutshell. It’s very simple: all you do is talk to people. Find out what their needs are; what they want written, and then say: “I can start immediately, how much would you like to pay?”
Just ask, you don’t need to do anything else
New writers want to make it complicated, but just ask. You don’t need business cards, or a business name, or a website, or anything at all. You just need to ask. If you talk to enough people, you’ll get more jobs than you can handle, even as a total beginner.
I know that many people are nervous about cold-calling, but hey — it works.
In “Do you REALLY want freelance writing jobs?” I said:
Cold calling always works, because:
* Businesses need to market, no matter what the economy
* Businesses are short-staffed, so they don’t have time to wade through 500 (mostly useless) responses to job postings
* It shows you’re serious about what you do. Editors and businesses get worn down by incompetent, unreliable “writers”. If you show creativity and innovation, they WANT to work with you
Please take the above to heart. It’s TRUE. I’ve used cold calling many times over the years whenever I needed to fill my order book, and if you talk to other professional writers, they’ll all tell you the same thing. Cold-calling works.
I gave you a process to follow in this article. So sit down with your local Yellow Pages, or look up local businesses on the Web. Make a list of 100 businesses, and start calling. By your fourth call you’ll wonder what you were nervous about, and long before you’ve made your 100th call, you’ll have enough work to keep you busy for the next couple of months, and you’ll have made some friends, too.
Pricing: for beginning writers
When you’re a new writer, you need to get clients. With your first ten clients, take whatever they offer. If you approach people via the cold-calling method, rather than writing for content factories, people will pay you reasonably well. If you think someone’s trying to take advantage, just say: “I’m sorry, that fee doesn’t work for me, I’d like ________ (whatever).”
People are just people. Talk to them. You’ll get work, and you’ll be well on your way to a great freelance writing career. Have fun, Cindi (you will), and thanks for asking that question.
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