Does this sound familiar?
You have big ambitions for your freelance business. But, to make them come true, you need clients. Or, maybe you have clients, but you need better clients.
The problem is you don’t know where to start.
Should you finish your freelance-writing website? Complete your first (or next) writing sample? Choose a niche? Should you take another course? Attend a conference? Send out a mailing to prospects?
I get it. I’ve been there myself.
When I started my freelance web-writing business back in 2011, I had no clue what went into running a business. I’d started a Money-Making Website a few years earlier and I’d done some writing in my day job as a museum educator, so I had writing experience. But, business experience… that was new to me.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot.
And, perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that, if your goal is to generate income, then you must focus on finding the types of prospects who use the type of writing you want to produce.
Focus is one of those things that’s easy to say, but hard to do.
So, how do you put on the blinders and keep your eyes on that single goal?
First, you get clear about what you do and whom you do it for. Clear and specific.
Then, you create an action plan for finding and approaching the right kind of clients.
Finally, your plan in place, you implement it.
This Not-So-Simple Mental Shift Helps You Land Clients
It’s easy to make up random goals for yourself and then feel overwhelmed, because you don’t know how to achieve them. (Ask me how I know.)
What’s not easy for many people is to decide on a goal and stick to that decision.
Making a decision forces you to get specific about how to move forward.
Imagine if you decided to give up caffeine. Then you’d have to change your habits. You wouldn’t stand at the Starbucks counter wondering what type of caffeinated beverage to have. You’d choose from the options without it.
It’s no different when it comes to building your writing business.
Deciding to focus on one type of writing project (blogging or emails, for example) for one type of business will help you land more clients faster than anything else you can do.
Why? Landing clients is all about showing up at the right time for your prospect. That’s much easier to do when you know what type of client you want to work with and what you want to do for them.
You’ll save time researching clients, because you’ll know right where to look for them.
You’ll save time creating your marketing materials, because you’ll have a single, focused message.
You’ll get better and better at landing clients, because you’ll be deeply confident in the service you offer and the results you can deliver.
Instead of unfocused marketing that takes a scattered approach trying to be all things to all people, you’ll be clear and calm. You’ll know what needs to be done, and you’ll do it.
Here’s an example I once heard from writer, speaker, and social media pioneer, Chris Brogan. I’m paraphrasing, but the gist was… if you need to make sales, you need to get more people doing the step right before the sale. He used an example of a realtor saying, “If you want to sell more houses, you need to increase the number of potential home buyers at your Open Houses.”
In freelance-writing terms, you want to have more conversations with the types of people who hire freelance writers and who want the service you offer.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? Find the people who use the type of thing you offer and offer it. They can say, “yes,” “no,” or “not right now.”
Here’s an example. If you decide you want to offer blogging services to accountants and financial services firms, then you have two next obvious tasks:
- Make a list of potential clients – all accountants and financial service firms that have an existing blog
- Craft an email script about your blogging service
Then, you start emailing. That’s it.
This is the freelance writer’s equivalent to a realtor getting more potential buyers to their Open House. If you get a 1% response rate from your mailings, then your job is to focus on emailing 100 prospects to land your next client.
You might get lucky and land a great client right away. You might not. The point is, if you keep taking this action daily or weekly, you put the odds in your favor.
You don’t have to tweet, and you don’t need to start a podcast.
Isn’t that refreshing?
Just start from where you are and with what you know.
One way you can start building your prospect list is to Google Niche + Firms + City or State. So, if you live in the Philadelphia area, you might type in accounting firms + Philadelphia. Then, start looking at their websites to see if they have an active blog. If so, then add them to your list.
Then you can start sending those emails.
Even if you have only 15 minutes a day to work on your business, you can do this.
If your goal is to land clients, then the easiest way to achieve it is to focus on the step before the “sale.” Decide one thing to offer one type of client, create your plan, and take action. Before you know it, you’ll be seeing the results you want.