Today, more than ever, freelance writing can be an absolute goldmine. Companies need content, and they look to freelancers to not only provide educational content, but also to provide promotional content. Once you get your first client, you’re made, because you can parlay that single client into many clients.
My current class of freelance writers has five students. When we started the class, one was a beginner; she hadn’t yet made her first dollar. The others were in various stages of their writing careers.
I decided to try an experiment to see how quickly the class could increase their incomes, by encouraging them to focus on their clients. (No matter how many or how few clients they had.)
Your freelance writing goldmine: your clients
I’m fond of saying to freelancers: “your clients are the lifeblood of your business.” It’s true. They are. However, very few writers take this to heart.
While I was encouraging the newbie student to get her first client, I suggested that with just one client, she could have a highly profitable business within six months. She didn’t believe me, I’m sure. I also suggested that with a little encouragement and guidance, and some hard work, she’d far outpace her former corporate income.
Where six-figure incomes used to be uncommon for freelance writers, today such incomes are becoming the norm for established writers. If you’re working full time in your freelance writing business, and aren’t making six figures yet, the solution lies in your client list.
Increasing your freelance income can take an amazingly short amount of time — just minutes a day.
Mine the gold: “Do one more thing today, get in touch with a client”
If you’re following our Facebook page, you’ll notice that today’s writing exercise was: do one more thing.
With my freelance class, I made it a requirement. Each day, they needed to do one more thing when they’d finished writing for the day, and that thing had to be client-related… and could take no longer than five minutes.
In less than five minutes, they could:
- Tweet a direct message to a client;
- Pick up the phone and call a client;
- Send a client a link to a news item or blog post;
- Send a client a “what’s new, I’m here for you when you need me” message…
Why five minutes? I made that a requirement because I wanted them to establish a habit not only of doing one thing extra each day, but also of thinking creatively. I wanted them to ask themselves each day what they could do in a tiny amount of time that would impact their business positively.
The shocking results: a writer’s 400% increase in freelance writing income over six months
Here’s what happened over six months with the class when they focused on their clients: each writer increased his or her income substantially. The established freelancers all increased their income over the previous year, in one case, by 400%.
My newbie freelancer student parlayed her first client into ten clients. She’s rapidly replacing her former job’s income, and is much happier, because she’s working less. She and her family are going to Europe over the holiday season this year — the money for the trip is coming out of her freelance income.
Your clients: the end of a freelance project is the beginning of a relationship
I’ve no idea why it is, but when freelancers get paid for a gig, they forget the client. That’s unfortunate. It means that they need to hustle, and hustle some more, because they start from zero with each new client. Look at it this way. If each client refers you to just one new client, you can increase your client list rapidly.
Once you’ve got a few clients on your list, you don’t need to flail about, looking for new clients. A new client is high-maintenance — it’s much more efficient to ensure that you’re working with people who already know you. How long does it take you to get a new client on board? It has to take at least an hour: phone calls, a project scope and quote, questions about the quote, sending an invoice… And that’s if everything proceeds smoothly. If a client drags his feet in sending you material, that hour can stretch into two.
Consider that if you remember to follow up with your clients regularly once you’ve finished their projects (“do one more thing”) you save time, because they’ll find more projects for you to do for them. A client who’s worked with you before has confidence in you. You have confidence in the client too. Setting up a new project for a previous client can take just ten minutes.
Freelance writers who constantly hunt for clients are wasting time, energy and money. They’re leaving money on the table. You can parlay one client into many clients, and once you have many clients, you never need to hunt for new clients.
Just remember to do a five-minute one more thing task that’s client-related, every day.
Try it. Let me know how you get on. Doing one more thing every day can change your freelance writing life. 🙂
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