What’s your favorite way to land clients?
Next question… Did that first question make you feel anxious?
I know for a lot of writers, landing clients is the toughest part of their freelance writing business. And I get that. One hundred percent. I still get nervous and spin my wheels and overthink when it comes to finding and landing new clients.
But there’s one piece of the “getting clients” puzzle that is low-pressure, easy (or at least it can be), and even fun.
And that’s having more conversations.
Real conversations. Ones where sometimes what you do doesn’t even come up. Ones where you’re just getting to know a person a little bit, so you have a reason to come back to the conversation again. And again.
And some of these conversations will turn into clients over time. Not all. But enough. (Often more than enough!)
So how do you have more conversations?
Well, I have a few thoughts from my own recent experiences.
Let Go of the Outcome
The first step is to let go of a particular outcome from any conversation. Not every person you meet is going to be a likely client.
Knowing that, you can enter every conversation with curiosity, friendliness, and zero pressure.
Instead of being eager to get to what you do for a living and find out if they have work for you, take a deep breath and just talk about things… the weather… the city you’re in… the event you’re at… the book you’re reading… the trip you’re planning.
And if the conversation does turn to work-related things, ask how they decided to do what they do… how much they enjoy it… and what their favorite parts are.
You don’t have to avoid talking about what you do and how you might help them. Just don’t make that the point of having the conversation.
When you’re able to do this, it’s easier to connect with the person you’re talking to. That makes a better impression and makes you more memorable. It’s also more fun. And when things are more fun, we tend to do more of them.
To have more conversations, you have to go places where conversations are happening.
Online that can be LinkedIn, Facebook groups, Discord channels, or any number of places where people gather to shoot the breeze.
In person, you can go to networking events, trade shows, festivals, and fundraisers.
Wherever you go, make it a point to be curious, generous, and genuine.
On social media, comment on what other people are saying in a way that moves the conversation forward. If you like what someone’s shared, that’s great. But tell them why. Offer up your own experience or thoughts. Or ask a question.
In person, make eye contact and smile. Don’t be afraid to approach people. And if you feel awkward, go ahead and break the ice with that. Saying, “I always feel so awkward introducing myself at these things,” can put you both at ease.
Whichever way you want to go about it, think about the places you can meet people and have conversations, and start showing up.
Be a Captive Audience
Once you’re in a conversation, really listen. Ask questions that dig deeper into what the person is saying. Show empathy and understanding.
And before you leave the conversation, find out if there’s anyone they’re trying to meet or anything they need recommendations about. Maybe they need a web designer and you have a web designer friend. Maybe they need to know which coffee shop is the best one to do a little free-range work in and you know just the place.
Try to leave the conversation on a helpful note.
I’ve been doing these three things (mostly) consistently since the beginning of the year. I’ve landed one new client and have three active leads that each have a good chance of converting into projects in the next few weeks.
But even without those business benefits, I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people and learning from them. So, give it a try. Think about where you can have conversations… and start having more of them for their own sake.
In Case You Missed It…
When it comes to writing for the user experience, what you say matters. But so does how you format what you say. In my most recent UX/CX column, I look at five ways you can format your writing to make it easier to read and more inviting. These are simple steps that deliver big results. Give it a read right here.
If you haven’t looked into paid advertising as an opportunity, you might be missing out. Find out how paid search advertising works and why it’s such an excellent — and fun — way to earn money as a digital copywriter. Zoe Blarowski takes a deep dive into how paid ads work in her newest PPC & Advertising column.
And if you couldn’t join us live for Wednesday’s Monthly Member Update webinar, the playback is now available. During this event, I talked about your personal brand, why it’s important, and how to start defining it more deliberately. You can give that watch right here.
May 19: Next week, I’ll be hosting a Facebook Q&A. We’ll be talking about all things focus, motivation, and productivity related. So if you need a little help in any of those areas, you’ll want to join me. During the hour-long event, you can post your questions in the comments and get answers from me in real-time. These events always move fast and offer a ton of value, so I hope to see you there.
Also keep your eye out for our upcoming Quarter 2 Challenge, and for our soon-to-be scheduled Ask the Expert interview with Barefoot Writer’s Executive Editor, Mindy McHorse.
3 Things You Might Enjoy…
When you create content for your business, you want it to be seen far and wide, preferably by your target audience. And when you create content for your clients, you want to help them get as much reach as possible. This excellent post from Hootsuite will give you all sorts of content distribution ideas so you can achieve those goals.
Want to grow your client base on LinkedIn? You’ll find a ton of value in this playbook from Demand Curve.
And finally, learn more about how to write a great introduction to your next article, blog post, or newsletter. Good tips (and formulas) from Content Marketing Institute.
That’s all for now. Enjoy your weekend! And for all you moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day!