Home > Freelance Success > Bring Writing Clients to You

Bring Writing Clients to You

I believe there are two basic types of freelance writer. On one hand, there is the writer who scours Craigslist and job boards, scrambling for work. On the other, there is the writer who has taken the time to establish their clientele and need not ever query for a writing gig.

Which Writer Are You?

The job board writer has to go through a lot of hoops to meet his goal of landing a new writing client. He must search through countless ads, finding writing gigs for which he qualifie. He must convince the client that he is the best writer for the job, competing against any number of other writers who are just as talented as he is. He must do this consistently, to keep a steady stream of writing work coming in. At times, he may be overloaded, because he can’t afford to say no.

The clientele writer has a wide variety of friends, colleagues, and clients at her disposal. She has carefully built up her freelance writing business, by creating a website that shows off her skills and writing clips. She utilizes social media (moderately!) as a way to connect with new potential clients. Her new contacts find her via referrals, as everyone she knows enjoys working with her, and her thoroughly polished writing speaks for itself. While the beginning steps of her freelance writing career were slow, the time invested in doing it right the first time was well worth it.

This is a Dramatization, Folks!

Obviously, no one person exactly meets all of these generalizations. We could each see a bit of ourselves in each characterization, perhaps leaning one direction or the other. Overall, there is no right or wrong answer here, as each person must choose their own career path.

However, most people would agree that there is a difference between working hard and working smart. Obviously, if you need immediate writing clips, or fast cash yesterday, then job boards will give you immediate gratification. However, if you are into freelance writing for the long haul, you would be wise to invest a little extra time in your work. Besides making sure that each word is your absolute best, the way you work with others is critical. Befriending others on social media sites can give you lots of potential clients, or friends of potential clients, and so on. Each person you treat well is a person who could recommend you to someone else.

Are You a Freelance Employee, or Self-Employed Freelancer?

With job boards, you go through a mini-interview process with each client. They lay out what their project entails, as well as the basic rate of pay they can afford. With some job board clients, the pay may not be all that much. It can feel as though you are at their mercy, as if you quit your full-time job just to collect a bunch of new bosses.

With clientele work, you have already established a cordial, if not friendly relationship with the person in question. Their is a sense of community, of partnership when you work on the writing project for them. You are helping them succeed, which may not be readily apparent (or existent) with job board leads.

Am I Completely Crazy?

What do you think? While I am not knocking all job board leads, nor extolling the virtues of all clientele offers, I believe that the approach you take with your freelance writing career makes all the difference in the world. Do you have suggestions on how to make job board queries seem less like interviews? Or how to bridge the gap between clientele referrals and nameless, faceless Craigslist ads? You tell me. I’d love to hear your opinions!

~Kimberlee

Photo Credit: A.www.viajar24h.com

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  1. December 6, 2009 at 3:14 am

    I think the most important thing is attitude. I approach business as an ‘in-demand’ freelancer. I don’t need to trawl for jobs because I have so much on my plate already and more banging on my door every day. Since I took up the attitude it IS so, and instead of being interviewed or vetted for positions, I do the interviewing and vetting. I pick and choose who I want to work with rather than standing in a line-up of selection criteria.

    But, it takes experience and confidence to build up to this point in business. I began as most freelancers do, putting myself out there and taking on jobs that paid a pittance but offered good clips or exposure. I even worked for free and from time to time I still do depending on what my end goal is for a particular job or client.

    I don’t think there is really an ‘either/or’ aspect to it however. You do one, until you are established in the industry enough to do the other. Having said that, I have some very talented and experienced writer friends who still harvest new gigs from those job boards when they want some extra hard and fast funding.

    One other thing to remember is it’s not the ONLY way to get gigs. It’s not job boards OR word-of-mouth. There are lots of ways to seek out new work, such as letters of interest/introduction, market queries, in-person meetings, and cold calling/mailing. Some freelancers even go door to door through the business section extolling the virtues of professional copy, some send out press releases or begin charity projects, and others start at the ground up freelancing with newspapers or magazines.

    How you freelance is completely up to you. 🙂 One of the many advantages of freelancing is that you’re FREE to choose.

  2. December 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks for all the insights Rebecca! I agree, it’s all a matter of attitude. It’s a matter of scarcity vs. abundance. It really makes the difference in life, and in freelancing!

    Remind me not to hit publish when I’m fighting off a cold! 🙂

    ~Kimberlee

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