A lot of writers I talk to are eager to land clients — but they aren’t trying to land clients. Usually, they’re waiting for something.
Most of the time, the key for them to move forward is to stop waiting and start doing… even if they don’t feel ready. But when you’ve found a reason to wait, it can be tough to let it go.
Maybe that feels familiar.
If you’re waiting to start approaching clients, there’s a really good chance you don’t need to be.
Let’s look at three common reasons why you might be putting off this crucial step.
I’m waiting until I have writing samples to show.
On its face, this is a perfectly rational reason for waiting to start pursuing clients.
After all, if you don’t have a way to show them what you can do, why would they hire you?
But, when I talk to writers who are stalling on their client-getting efforts until they have samples, I usually discover one or two things at play… both of which are completely within your control to change.
The first is the idea that there isn’t a way approach clients if you don’t have samples to show them.
If you have value to offer, you should feel good about approaching a potential client to help them. They may say no. And that’s okay. But they might say yes.
And, it’s true, they might ask for samples. If that happens, I suggest saying something like, “I don’t have a sample that’s a good reflection of how I would write for you and your audience… what if we do a test project together, something small like an email message or blog, so you can see how my writing works for you?” (Seriously… practice saying that.)
The second thing I uncover in the sample discussion is that often the writer isn’t thinking about how to create samples without clients. Yet there are ways you can generate some, even before you have paying clients. For instance, you can write an article and publish it on your site or on LinkedIn. You can take things you find on the internet, rewrite them, and then present them as a before-and-after comparison of what you can do. As long as you don’t mislead anyone about these samples being done and paid for by clients, these are perfectly legitimate ways to show people how well you write.
I’m waiting until I learn one more skill.
There’s always one more skill.
I talk to writers who are wonderful at writing emails and blog posts, but say they’re waiting to approach prospects until they can offer social media, too. But then, if I run into those writers again later, and they’ve learned social media, they might still be waiting… this time until they learn video script writing.
As a digital copywriter, you are forever a student. The environment we work in changes… sometimes at a dizzying speed. Those changes mean new opportunities… and yes, new things to learn.
But those changes don’t mean you can’t do what you already know for clients who need it and get paid for your efforts.
If you have a writing skill you’re confident in or even just comfortable with, then you’re ready to approach clients… so get started!
I’m waiting until xyz marketing materials are in place.
Maybe you’re waiting until you’ve perfected your LinkedIn profile, launched your website, set up an email funnel, established a presence on seven different social media platforms…
Yes, you need marketing materials to put yourself in front of prospects, but you don’t need 16 different marketing assets, all perfect and polished.
Really, you need a LinkedIn profile and a willingness to write short, customized email messages. That’s it.
Yes, you can build on those things, but you don’t need to wait for all the other bells and whistles to start approaching clients, landing projects, and getting paid.
Most of the time when I dig down, all these reasons for waiting stem from fear. Fear of looking silly, fear of rejection, fear of landing a project and then not delivering what the client wants.
The nerves are normal. The trick is to get comfortable feeling nervous and move forward anyway. Think of it like waiting in line for the roller coaster. You may be absolutely terrified (and thrilled) to get on the ride, but when the line moves forward, you do too.
So what’s your next step? Share in the comments.
I’d like to congratulate Jennifer Ayling, the winner of our Information Packet Challenge. Jennifer put together a beautiful, engaging package that will make it easy for clients to say yes to working with her. Stay tuned… coming up, you’ll hear more from Jennifer on what the process was like, the decisions she made, and what she learned along the way.
Don’t forget! There’s a Practice Assignment open right now. Practice Assignments give you a chance to hone your skills by working to a real-world-style client brief. This quarter, your assignment is to write a blog post. And you have the option of submitting it to me for a chance to have your work reviewed during a live webinar. You can learn more about this opportunity here.
Did You Miss This?
Interested in writing Facebook Ads for your clients (or for your business)? Not sure where to get started? Zoe Blarowski has got you covered in her PPC & Advertising column, How to Write Attention-Grabbing Facebook Ads that Speak to Your Reader. In this column, Zoe explores the ins and outs of writing the different components of a Facebook Ad, emphasizing how to connect with and appeal to your reader in each one. Check it out right here.
Do you ever worry about being replaced by artificial intelligence? Far from replacing writers, AI tools can actually help you generate ideas and outlines faster, so you can spend more time writing and being creative. It’s all about making smart use of what’s available, which is exactly what Jen Phillips April discusses in her recent Trends & Technology column. Give it a look and see how AI fits into your workflow.
Earlier this month, I did a webinar about warm emails and how you can use them to land more clients and higher-quality clients. If you weren’t able to join me live, the recording is available and you can view it right here.
Mark Your Calendar
On June 16, I’ll be active and available in our Facebook group to answer questions about your biggest current stumbling block and how to overcome it. I’ll be on for an hour to give you the help you need to take your next step forward. You can find all the details for this event here.
June 24: Our training session this month is focused on emails. We’ll be looking at how to write an email that gets opened, that gets read, and that gets action. Join me to explore how to write an effective subject line, engaging and informative body copy, and an irresistible call-to-action. Whether you’re writing a single email to a prospect or an email message that will go out to tens of thousands of people, what you learn here will help you do it better. Details for this event will be posted soon.
July 1: Speaking of Practice Assignments (see the Special Announcements above), our live review of selected submissions is happening Friday, July 1. During this webinar, we’ll look at some of the key things that go into a successful blog post, and then we’ll review a variety of submissions, discussing what they’re doing that works and changes that could make them stronger. I hope you’ll join us!
3 Things You Might Want to Know
Do you have a big goal you’d love to achieve? Is your progress slower than you’d like it to be? Brian Tracy has some thoughts on how to turn things around. If you’re a planner by nature (I can relate!), then what he has to say will resonate with you.
You might be hearing the term accessibility more often… you might even have clients asking you about what they should do to make their sites more accessible. These tips from Google are a good place to start.
Need to get more words down on the page, faster? We all have those times where we need to write at top speed to hit a deadline… or just to stay in front of our ideas. In this post, you’ll find 10 ways to help you write faster.
That’s all for now. Tell us what’s new for you in the comments.