If you’re a freelance writer, or want to be one, you’ve obviously got to find people to pay you for your writing. While that may look like submitting to various magazines and publishers, most of us need to find other kinds of customers.
People who buy writing come from all sorts of walks of life and all sorts of businesses. For example, I now earn most of my income from my blogs and from ghostwriting books. But I’ve done corporate writing, worked inside for websites, magazines and newspapers, done some Search Engine Optimization, written tech manuals, etc.
Most of my clients I’ve found, one way or another, because I tell people that I’m a writer.
I do this in a variety of ways:
- I’ve had a website up for years. If you don’t have one, get one up just as soon as you possible can. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg. Providers like 1and1 offer tools that let you build your own site quickly and easily. In fact, most of their packages include their 1and1 blog which makes getting started blogging a snap.
- I have business cards I pass out freely. And I do mean freely – often giving people two so they can pass one along.
- I selectively answer ads, even some of those I post here.
- I stay alert. When I’m out amongst people I pay attention to writing needs. Sometimes these occur in conversations. More than once I’ve landed a client when they mentioned something about needing writing or marketing or websites. I may engage them in conversation or just slip them a business card. I’ve also gotten clients when, while doing other business, I see a need for writing. I may ask who hires the writers or just ask if they’d like some help. I’m not pushy, but have an attitude of how can I help.
- And yes, in the past I’ve done cold calling. Not my favorite activity, and hard to get started, but darn it, it works – usually the same day, almost always within a week.
- Years ago I got my start in tech writing by attending a computer conference and passing out cards at every booth and telling them I could write tech manuals. Sure enough, a week later I got a call and landed a contract.
If there’s one constant it’s that I more or less toot my own horn. I’m not at all shy about it – after all, who better?
The other constant is that alertness I spoke about in the list. I really do seem to have developed a sort of radar for which people and organizations might benefit from my services.
Try both approaches for awhile and see how they work for you.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu