Step 9: Filling Up Your Days
Now that you have your first client and it's been a successful job, it's time to fill your calendar with writing jobs. I want you to be really careful with how you do this. I've seen so many freelancers take on way more than they could chew. They tend to offer a really low price and a great deal all around that people take them up on in droves. Their calendar gets way over full and they combust!
Don't do that. Plan to offer a certain number of spots on your calendar. Probably up to two weeks out is a good idea to start. Turn clients down or put them on a waiting list until their turn comes up. You don't want to take their money and then not be able to deliver in a reasonable amount of time. I know it's hard to turn down guaranteed money, but clients will still be waiting if they're already lined up for you now.
Keep a calendar and to-do list handy so you can tell people when to expect their orders. Remind clients that sometimes flexibility is in order since creative projects can take longer or shorter than expected. Try to stick to your deadlines. Simply sticking to your deadlines will zoom you to the top of the list with clients since so few freelancers do it!
Step 10: Scaling Up With Paid Advertising Methods
The idea is to be so innovative, better, and different from all the other freelancers offering similar things that word of mouth spreads like crazy about you
I recommend paying for an autoresponder service, if you haven't already. List building should be the cornerstone of your business, even as a freelancer. You can then contact clients and other list members whenever you want to drum up business-- no need to worry and stress over whether you'll be able to find clients.
There are paid advertising methods you can try, such as Facebook advertising. You can set a low daily budget and target your ads to those who've liked certain pages and joined certain groups on Facebook. That way, you know your ads are super targeted to your ideal clients.
You can also set up joint venture deals with marketers for high-end services. They might get a referral fee for every paying client they send your way. Some freelancers even set up an affiliate program for their services.
Generally, though, freelancing tends to remain pretty low cost as far as business expenses. You'll get to a point where you won't need to advertise at all, short of having a website with samples and great reputation. And yes, this absolutely can happen for you over the next six months if you lay out your roadmap and stick to it with daily action. At the start, just focus on getting your first client and then take it from there.
Your 6 Month Plan To Get Started As A Freelance Writer
This is an overview of what your next six months might look like.
Month 1-- Get your website set up and get your first client. Start networking and getting your name out there as THE freelance writer to hire.
Month 2-- Continue networking. Fill your schedule for the month (ideally to full-time income level).
Month 3-- Begin offering additional writing services and packages and consider bumping your rates, at least for new clients. Continue networking, focusing on what's really been working for you as far as advertising and spreading the word.
Month 4-- Fill your schedule; bump your rates more if nearly overbooked (law of supply and demand). Continue networking, spread your expertise, even consider training new freelance writers about what you've learned (further solidifying your expertise).
Month 5-- Focus more of your efforts on building a list of clients and potential clients you can email with offers at whim. Continue building relationships, giving back, and showcasing your expertise. Build assets on the web that are related to your business.
Month 6-- Definitely aim for the full time income level with a full, satisfying schedule. Evaluate earning level and your client list. Focus on your very best clients. Continue networking, rinse and repeat. Consider adding additional higher-end services.
Adjust this example to suit your needs. Make sure you stick with it and further flesh it out into a daily schedule.
5 Simple Little Ways to Grow Your Freelance Writing Business
Method 1: List Building as a Freelancer
I covered list building as a freelancer a bit already, but let's talk about it in a bit more depth. Many people only consider list building for niche marketing and affiliate marketing. It's actually shocking how few writers build a list. It's something you should do because it's an asset you can grow for your business.
The fact is that, as much as your clients love you, you won't always be at the top of their mind. But if you email them with a special offer every once in a while, they'll remember that project they still need to assign. It's easy to just email you back and take you up on the offer.
You can also use your email list as a forum for showcasing your expertise. You don't have to mail offers all the time. You can easily write informative emails, link to your blog, or talk about other special projects you have going on.
List building isn't really a mystery, although many people like to turn it into one. You need to give people a reason to sign up for your list. In this case, you might create a free report relevant to the needs of potential clients or whatever you think would be most enticing.
Then, you need to set up a place for people to opt in to your list to receive this freebie. This will usually be on your blog and/or on a squeeze page.
Finally, you need to drive traffic to this sign up form. You can do this as part of your networking, forum, and social media rounds. Rinse and repeat! As your presence on the web grows, so will your list.
Method 2: Create a Deal They Can't Refuse
Sometimes, it can be draining to do the same thing all the time. For example, if you're an article writer and you've written your 1,000th keyword article, you're likely ready to head for the hills.
What can you do to shake things up? This is good for you because it gets you away from the boredom. This is good for your clients because it adds something to the list of things they can hire you for. It's also good to attract new clients who will be interested in what you have to offer.
One of the best ways to get new clients and make more money is to offer package specials. Maybe you could offer to write an eBook, a giveaway report, a sales page, and a squeeze page as part of a package offer. The great thing about these packages is that you can obviously charge more, but you're already in the flow of the work so it doesn't take that much work to go the extra distance.
Now it's your turn-- brainstorm a deal your clients won't be able to refuse. You can upsell your current clients on this or offer it to entice new clients. Think differently from what's already being offered by other freelancers but is high in demand and you'll no doubt have people taking you up on it, over and over again.
Method 3: Partner Up
There are many different ways to work with others as a freelance writer. While many people prefer to work independently, you certainly don't have to. You can partner up with someone who offers complementary skills. Let's say you ghostwrite Kindle books and you know someone who makes killer Kindle book covers. You can offer a one-stop shop for your clients.
Start to be on the lookout for opportunities like this. Who do you know? What do people really want that's missing from what's already out there? What kind of offer could you come up with that lightens your own workload while helping you make more money?
Partnering with someone can be a scary step or it can be a really exciting step, depending on how you look at it. Make sure you protect yourself with agreements and choose someone who will deliver on their promises.
You can work with people in other ways as well. Earlier, I mentioned you can joint venture with other business owners. They'll find you clients and they'll get a cut of the deal. You can even outsource lead-generation to others, giving them a percentage for every client they find.
Partnering can certainly be a way to take your business to the next level, when it works well. It can be fun to work with others and you get the benefit of getting to use their expertise, reach in the market, and client base as well as your own. Pooling your resources is often the way to go to reach the next level as a freelancer-- or in any business, for that matter.
Method 4: Offer Premium Packages
You've no doubt noticed that certain clients are more willing and able to pay higher prices for your work than others. When you think about scaling your business up, think about how you can target this higher caliber of client. They are primed for ordering higher end services from you.
These premium packages can take many shapes. If you're a copywriter, you can offer your standard Warrior Special Offer length sales letters. You can offer a typical length sales letter as standard. Then, you can offer a premium package of two versions of exceptional copy, 5 headline variations to test, and ongoing testing and tracking.
You wouldn't charge just peanuts for a premium package like that. You certainly wouldn't charge your standard rates. This would be a package higher end clients choose to pay for. In the end, you might choose to focus solely on packages like this, which will absolutely take your business to the next level.
I've given you the copywriting example; now consider how that might work for your writing services. Think about what you offer as standard and what a higher-end, higher-paying client would be willing to pay extra for. Make your new offer extremely exclusive and out of the price range of most of your clients.
Even if no one ever takes you up on it (and they will), having that higher end offer there automatically makes your services look even more premium. It can be very impressive to offer something that's well worth the money, but much pricier and in depth than most freelancers are offering.
Method 5: Make Yourself Scarce
Some of the very best freelancers are almost impossible to book. They only work with their favorite clients on very exclusive projects. If you're available immediately for a new client, it can signal that you're new or that you're not that great at what you do. Now, that may not be a fair assessment but unfortunately that's how it comes across sometimes.
The best freelancers tend to be booked well in advance. Clients come to then, expecting the wait, because they have a great reputation and always deliver on their promises. Other clients wish they could hire the freelancer but they're basically unattainable. These freelancers tend to make a lot of money.
How do you get to that point? First, you can start to exclusively target clients you love and who are willing to pay for higher end projects (Remember the 80/20 rule? These are the 20% of your clients that account for 80% of your profits.). Don't accept, or even offer, smaller jobs that pay a few bucks here and there. Market yourself as someone who's exclusive and only does premium work.
Instead of doing many jobs for many clients, do a few jobs for a few clients. You'll be making more money in the end, and there's a certain allure about you that newer freelancers will be envious of. It's like you're playing hard to get for your clients but you really are impossible to get because you're booked solid.
In case your very best clients no longer need your services, you can maintain a waiting list that you contact when a spot opens up.
Making yourself scarce can make you happier, wealthier, and more productive.
Get Started As a Freelance Writer
If this sounds like the business model for you, get started right away. Seriously… it’s not that difficult to get started if you follow the advice I’ve laid out for you here. And there’s fantastic income potential here. You just have to take the first step.