Step 6: Start Networking
Now that your website is up, you can start advertising your services. The ideal way to do this is by networking. Over the next 6 months, you should become known as the "go to" freelance writer offering what you offer. How can you make a name for yourself?
First, consider that most people are considered experts only because they've named themselves that. The best writers and copywriters have a reputation for being the best because they tell people they're the best and they deliver on what they promise. That's not all that hard to do, particularly since so many freelancers are unreliable.
It's so important for you to start networking. Join Facebook and Twitter. Find Facebook pages and groups targeted to the type of people who are likely to hire you. You should never spam these pages or even directly offer your services. Answer the questions you know how to answer. Strike up conversation. Make sure your profile links out to your site.
When it's appropriate, you can refer to the projects you work on for clients or the work you're doing. You simply want people to know you're an expert and that you're for hire.
You can also network with other freelance writers -- getting overflow work from others is an easy way to get experience and boost your income.
You should pop into the social sites at least a little every day. Join relevant forums and market yourself appropriately there. Start to write guest blog posts for relevant blogs, and more. Draft a plan for the next 6 months on how you can get to know other freelancers and your ideal clients.
Where do they hang out? How can you make yourself known to them in a non-spammy way? How do already-successful freelancers in your field do it?
You have the talent, you have the website, now get out there and rub some virtual elbows.
Step 7: Free Methods You Can Use To Advertise Your Services
Besides networking, there are many free methods you can use to get your name out there as a great freelance writer to hire. Pick and choose from these strategies and add them to your daily plans for the next six months.
Article marketing-- Start posting informative blog posts related to the service you provide. This information should be really helpful, with the call to action to hire you for a job well done. These can be posted on your website to encourage search engine traffic. They can also be posted in article directories and as guest blog posts.
List building—This is a great way to start marketing yourself now. First, GetResponse often offers a free trial for their autoresponder service. Write a free, helpful guide on effective web content. In the guide, note that you're available for hire. Give this guide away in exchange for an email opt-in. Your guide will sell for you and you can email your list with special offers. You can get people on this list with free search engine traffic, by networking, article marketing, social media, and more.
Contacting those who need help-- Business owners are advertising, or trying to, all over the web. Find where they are and where they might need help. Maybe someone has awful copy on their ad. Maybe someone has a really poorly written product. Find a socially appropriate way to approach these people with a helping mentality and you're likely to get some people to hire you to fix their writing.
Social media-- This goes along with your networking, but it bears repeating. Social media, networking, and community are the best ways to grow your freelancing business. Use social media, get to be known as an expert in what you do, and you'll rarely have to hunt for clients-- they'll come to you. This can happen much more quickly than you might think.
Step 8: Getting Your First Client
You want your first client fast, right? That might seem like a tall order, but it's absolutely not. In fact, it's one of the easiest things you'll ever do.
The first thing you have to do is turn off that doubting voice that's telling you that you can't do it. You can. It's been done many times before by people with far less skills and ambition than you. I've worked with many freelance writers who've told me they were shocked that they were able to find clients so quickly and easily.
Yes, you have less experience than your competition, but also remember that they all started with zero experience in the beginning also.
Let's not focus on getting tons of clients for now-- that can seem really intimidating when you're first starting out. Let's focus on getting your very first client. Your first PAYING client!
I recommend you hit this 10 different ways. Make a list of 10 different places your potential clients tend to spend their time online. Maybe a certain Facebook group, a Skype group, a forum, a blog-- wherever.
Now, come up with a really great "Grand Launch" service or even a great package offer that you're only going to give that one person.
You're offering to ghostwrite an eBook, but for the first client only, you'll also write their sales letter
You get the idea. You're putting some really great, can't miss it, offer out there for just ONE person. You're new, so you really have to prove yourself. You don't want to compete with a rock bottom price (though, starting low does help). So you compete with an offer they can't get anywhere else.
If someone is in the market for content, you can bet they are quickly going to take you up on it—maybe even the same day if you get your offer out in enough places.
Tweet your offer, write on Facebook about your offer, and add it to your signature file on relevant forums. Look at the list of 10 places where your clients hang out (is LinkedIn one?) and get your offer out in those places, too. Remember, do this without spamming-- subtly if necessary. You can very quickly get your first client with this method.
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.
In our final episode about freelance writing (tomorrow), I’ll introduce you to a 6-month plan on how to get started as a freelance writer (and don’t worry, it won’t take you 6 months to begin making money).