1. Subcontract from Others: Many freelancers forget this strategy, or don’t use it because they are reluctant to contact other freelancers because they are the “competition. "
However, many successful freelancers often get overwhelmed and need help. To make the contact professional and “non-threatening", say something like the following:
Dear Ms. /Mr. Smith:
I noted from your website that you are a copywriter specializing in corporate finance. I read several of your articles and your list of clients. I was impressed with the quality of your work and the breadth of your experience.
I’m contacting you today because I would like to form a mutual alliance, eg, if you are ever in need of help on a project, or need a reliable person to outsource work to, feel free to contact me.
FYI, I am a copywriter specializing in general finance. I have written on everything from mutual funds to personal wealth management (samples at www.mywebsite.com). A list of references attesting to my professionalism and reliability can be forwarded at your request.
If I ever come across a project I can’t handle, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you. I look forward to hearing from you.
P. S. : I advise contact via email, and a follow up with a phone call after about a week.
P. P. S. : The first paragraph of this correspondence is particularly important. You want to establish that you know what they do and have taken the time to review their website and several samples of their work.
This does two things: 1) it lets them know that you are not just collecting addresses and sending out a form letter to everyone; and 2) by doing this, it shows your professionalism. For added measure, you may even want to mention the title of several pieces of their work that you have read. This makes them much more likely to contact you.
NOTE: When you subcontract, the pay is probably going to be much less than what you’d make if you’d garnered the assignment on your own, but hey, it’s a job – a job that you didn’t have to market for.
2. Build Basic Websites: With all the “ready to go" software available now, there is no reason that freelance writers can’t build basic websites for clients.
Most clients just want a web presence. Template software makes it as simple as clicking and adding text (which you already provide anyway). As a one-stop resource, this is an easy service to add to your existing business.
Nervous about delving into this realm? Don’t know HTML from a hole in the ground? Don’t want/need to learn anything about building websites? Guess what? You don’t have to.
Team up with a web design company and/or another freelancer who offers this service and outsource it. You can pay them the full fee, or get a cut off the top of every client you refer to them. Either way, it’s a good vehicle for bringing in more clients.
3. Target a Business Niche: Most freelancers know that the real money to be made is in the business community, ie, commercial writing. But, with so many types of businesses to target, it can be hard to focus.
Solution: Target a niche. For example, I target realtors and mortgage brokers. Why? Because I have been both in my professional career. Hence, I know a lot about these markets.
The best way to find a niche is to start with your professional/personal background and write down all of your skills and knowledge in each particular area. If you don’t find a suitable niche from this exercise, try your hobbies.
No luck in hobbyland? Try what you would like to learn about/have an interest in. What makes freelance writing so exciting these days is that with the advent of the Internet, it’s easier than ever to research a particular niche and gain a wealth of knowledge in a relatively short period of time.
So, no matter where you are skill wise, don’t let lack of experience be a barrier to targeting a market.
4. Have More than One Income Stream: However, try to make your second income stream compatible with your first.
Eg, build websites; create an e-book and sell it via Clickbank.com, or on your own website; create your own line of writing paraphernalia (eg, t-shirts, cups, mouse pads) on cafepress.com do logo design – the possibilities are endless.
5. Become a Resource for Others: I forget who said the following, but to paraphrase: “To get what you want, help others get what they want. " Ie, become a go-to resource. How?
Build a website with helpful resources and links
Participate in forums and ask questions
Have a helpful Q&A on your website
Publish an industry “must know" list
Create a forum on your website
The list is endless on how to go about this.
But, once you are known for being a resource, you become the go-to person, the industry “guru. "
NOTE: This is a roundabout way of getting business and takes a longer time, but over time, the amount of business it can bring in is immeasurable. Projects will seem to come to you effortlessly once you build up this kind of reputation.
6. Develop a Marketing Plan: When I first started freelancing, I was doing a lot of work in the legal field, because that was my background.
Not relying solely on freelancing, I just kind of took what came my way, eg, I didn’t devise a marketing plan. Once I decided that I really wanted to make a go of it, I finally did this.
Drawing on all of my experience and what I liked to write about, I decided to target the real estate and mortgage industries. I wrote 5 articles within each specialty and developed brochures and postcards introducing myself as a freelance copywriter specializing in newsletters for real estate and mortgage professionals.
Focusing my marketing efforts did two really important things for my business: 1) it DECREASED my advertising budget; and 2) it INCREASED my income. How?
Focus helped me to hone in on a specific market. Not trying to be everything to everyone, I could deliver a concise message to a defined group. Therefore, I spent less.
I increased my income by being more productive. I could sit down and pump out 10 articles at a time because I knew the industries I was targeting. I always had a cache of new material on hand. And, the old material I had could be rewritten with a different slant, then sold.
As demonstrated here, writing for a defined market saves time (eg, reslanting old material and writing numerous articles at once). This goes directly to the bottom line, which leads to my next point.
7. Market Incessantly: When freelancing, time literally is money. You should always be marketing for new clients. When you are busy, it’s easy to forget this.
The one thing I like about writing for a defined market is that you have so much more time to market for new clients, because, as outlined above, the work flow is so much smoother.
In conclusion, the problem many of us have when we encounter a list is that we try to do everything on it and wind up not doing any of them well.
So, take 1-2 ideas from the above and really own it (work it!) and watch your income increase.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article tomorrow.
May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less - Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com to learn how.