How to Search for Clients as a Freelance Writer
The life of a freelance writer has its pros and cons.
You have the freedom to work when you want, where you want, and how you want.
You are rewarded according to the work you put out, and not have to share the glory with your co-workers or supervisors. There are no office politics and no drama. You are your own boss.
On the other hand, there is no job security.
You have to find your own clients, and it can be tough.
Thanks to the Internet and the unremitting need for good web content, there is no dearth of work.
However, there are also many other freelance writers offering the service, some of which are willing to do the work for peanuts.
You might think you have no choice but to play that game, but you will only end up stressed out and poor. You need to have a good strategy to find and keep quality clients who are willing to pay you properly.
You have to keep looking for clients even if you have a full roster. You never know if a regular client will drop you at any time.
Here are some strategies you can try.
1. Choose a reputable job board
The first thing you have to do is to make sure you sign up for freelance job boards. This is where clients go when they need freelance work, including writing, done.
However, there are thousands of job boards, and not all of them will present you with the opportunities you need to find a quality client.
Some job sites attract only clients that are out to get cheap labor, and may not be willing to pay reasonable rates for quality work.
Some are shady, and do not vet the employers to make sure they are legitimate.
You can probably take your chances with these, but you really shouldn't bother when there are reputable ones around.
Another site, Crowded, curates freelance job postings from different platforms to which its freelance writer members can apply.
Some job boards will also hold your payment in escrow once the client gives you the job, so you can be sure you will get paid.
It is important that you choose your job boards carefully, because you will be spending a lot of time on them.
Make a point of using any assessment, free training, and tips the job board may have to offer.
You can also check on the hiring history and feedback for employers, which will give you an idea if the company is going to be a quality client.
2. Keep bidding
It is not enough to choose good job boards. You have to use them.
Some sites are exclusively for writers, so this is where your competition is likely to be fiercest. However, don't get discouraged. The market is big enough for everyone if you are persistent.
The trick is to keep bidding on all likely job postings within a reasonable rate range. Bid for or apply to as many as you can to increase your chances of snagging a client.
It is possible that your will go through 50, maybe even 100 job postings before you get a bite, but you never really know which one will be the winner.
It may sound like a lot of effort, but it is just applying for a job. You need to put yourself out there so employers will see your work.
On the other hand, you also need to do your due diligence on the job postings you choose.
Legitimate job posters will provide a complete job description, be upfront about the rates they are willing to pay, and will often ask for samples of your work.
3. Contribute to blogs
Many clients want to see a sample of your work before they will entertain your application. You can send them one, but it would be better if you can point them to published work.
Contribute articles as a guest to sites in your niche so clients can see how you write.
Many blogs will accept good quality articles, and some will even pay you for it (Note: TopTenz no longer accepts guest articles).
You should know that these sites that pay for guest blog articles are usually very specific about what they will accept.
Make sure you follow instructions to the letter so your efforts will not be wasted.
4. Make cold calls
There was a time when freelance writers had to do cold calls to get a gig, usually to newspapers and magazines.
The market is much wider now, but the concept of actually calling on a potential employer to offer your services is a bit of a foreign concept to online only workers.
You might be surprised at how effective cold calling can be. It continues to be an effective marketing strategy for many businesses, so why not freelance writing?
Granted, it is not the most comfortable thing in the world. The idea of going up to an employer (in person or on a call) and boldly offering your writing services is enough to make anyone nervous.
However, if you do your research and know that you can be useful to the employer, you may get a better reception than you think.
Know what they may want before you go to them so your pitch will be relevant.
Here are some tips on how to make successful cold calls.
5. Set up a website
You may not think of yourself as being "in business" when you first take up freelance writing, but you really are.
Right now, you may think it is a bit of a joke, because you would be grateful to have just one steady client to enable you to pay your bills.
However, many of the best writing services started out with one good freelance writer looking for clients.
The main purpose of setting up a website is to generate leads. You can demonstrate your ability as a writer (from the content in your blog), and you gain visibility.
Eventually, it may even grow into professional writing service like Online Essays Scholaradvisor.
Don't think it will happen overnight, however. It may take months before you get your first hit, and even longer before you can think about converting it into something else. '
You need to optimize it for search engines, and you need to establish yourself as a writer, but you can do that while you're waiting for any of your leads to pan out.
If you do it right, a website featuring you may be the magnet that pulls in all those quality clients.
6. Pool your resources
Freelancers are all after the same thing: new clients.
You can team up with freelancers you know offering complementary services such as web development, graphic design, and SEO marketing.
If you work together as a team, you can pool your resources and share your leads.
You can even develop a website together, contributing your individual skills to make a kickass one for lead generation.
Freelance writing is no sinecure. You do need to go through a lot of effort to find clients that will pay you a reasonable rate.
However, you do not have to go into it blind. There are a few tried and tested strategies on how to search for clients as a freelance writer.
You can try one or more of these suggestions, and see what works for you.