We talked about the freelance writing goldmine many (most) freelance writers ignore. Thank you for all the comments, it’s a super-easy strategy and it works for everyone. Several newbie freelancers asked: “how do I get my first client?”
Good question. 🙂
Easy tips to get your first freelance writing client
To get your first freelance writing client, ask yourself a question: what do I want to write? — because clients pay for what they need.
Digression: you may know that my first question to writers is ALWAYS “what have you written today?” No one will pay you to write if they’re not sure that you can actually write, so your writing comes first, last, and always. End digression. 🙂
I started my professional writing career as a romance novelist. Then I wrote magazine articles because my father told me I couldn’t do it. To prove him wrong, I got published in Australia’s top-selling magazine… 🙂 At around the same time (mid-1980s) I wrote some press releases for a business, and got hired to write marketing collateral for other companies based on the excellent results of those releases.
So that’s our first tip…
1. Write something people will pay you to write
Yes, I know, I’m fond of telling you should never to write for free, but no one will buy a pig in a poke. You need to show what you can do. (This brings us back to my favorite hobby horse — blogging. Blogging’s a wonderful way for you to display your skills to those who can hire you.)
Today, every business, small or global, needs content. There are endless opportunities to get clients. So start writing,
2. Write pro bono: you need to build your book (portfolio)
You’ve decided on what you can write, and you’re busily writing. Now it’s time to write for free, to build your book.
Contact organizations and companies and offer to write them something pro bono. Heck, join a Facebook group of small business people or entrepreneurs and offer to write something for free. You’ll get LOTS of takers.
Important: let people know you’re writing to build your writing samples, AND ask them for a testimonial. The testimonial is your payment.
Oddly enough, 99 times out of 100 someone for whom you’re writing for free will give you your first paying gig, or they’ll recommend you to someone who will pay.
3. Woo your dream client, but expect it to take time
Over the years, I’ve wooed clients many, many times. I wooed one magazine with a query (proposal) a month for nine months, until finally, the editor called me because he had a hole in an upcoming issue. That gig turned into a 15-year gig writing for the magazine, so that nine months of querying paid off big.
If you commit to getting hired by your dream client, you can do it.
- Work out what the client needs;
- Show that you can provide what they need;
- Keep communicating, and show your wares;
- Get hired.
You’ll need patience, but you’ll get there.
4. Avoid companies which advertise for writers
Here’s why: the pay’s lousy. No company which pays well needs to advertise for writers. They either hire an agency, or they approach writers themselves.
Just after I created my first website in the 1990s (before blogs were even dreamed of), I was approached to write for Barnes & Noble University, which is long defunct. It was a fun, excellent-paying gig…
My point is, the company didn’t advertise: they knew what they wanted, and they found someone who could give it to them.
5. Hustle! Write and hustle, and earn a six-figure income
Writing comes first. Always be writing. Only writing makes you a better writer.
Join LinkedIn. Make contacts, and display your wares.
And as we’ve said — be patient. You WILL get your first client, and you can parlay that first client into a six-figure income without breaking much of a sweat. Today, there are more than enough opportunities for any writer who wants to freelance.
Finally, to repeat…
WRITE! Keep writing, and make contact with your clients
As I said in Freelance Writing Goldmine:
… 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.
Have fun. 🙂 I won’t wish you luck, because you don’t need luck. All you need to do is write.
Resources to build your writing career
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