Breaking Into the Freelance World

Becoming a freelancer is a big step in your career path. With so many outlets and resources on the internet, it can feel daunting at first. It doesn’t need to be difficult, though it will take a little time and patience to get started.

The first step you want to take is to build up your resume and portfolio. You can do this by building a website through a multitude of free hosts. Wix and Weebly are easy to use templates that offer free hosting.

Next, take a look at the different freelancing websites online. There are many opportunities with the connections that the internet gives us. It is advisable to connect with more than one. Three popular sites for helping you market your abilities are Upwork, Freelanced and Freelancer.

These websites cover a broad range. They include real estate, IT, data, coding, graphic design, and copywriting. That is only the tip of the iceberg! Having so many options can feel overwhelming. Stick to the websites that you feel most comfortable with and write which ones you prefer to use so that you don’t lose track. You will find out quickly through using these different outlets which of them you prefer. This will happen naturally so do not worry too much about it while you’re getting started. It will take a while to build up in the beginning. With persistence and dedication, you will find that the work flow will begin to flourish.

It is important to stay on top of the game. Never stop learning and continue to hone your skills. There are many resources that offer free or discounted courses. Udemy and Coursera are two that are often mentioned. Many programs offer a certificate of completion. You can often add these to your LinkedIn profile and your resume. Having these shows your prospective employers your dedication to ensuring the best quality service. This can only help in the appeal and development of your freelance portfolio.

Staying trained in current programs also helps boost confidence. This is something that you’re going to need to hold on to while becoming a freelancer. It can be discouraging at first. Battling and bidding for jobs, something that many school programs do not warn us about. Remember that you’re a professional and take some time to look at your previous experience and capabilities. Continue your work on personal development. Add projects to your portfolio between assignments so that you have more material to impress with.

Don’t forget to use LinkedIn and other social networks. Word of mouth is important and it is key to be an active member in your social circles. Making good impressions is vital. You never know who is paying attention and considering hiring you. If you keep a professional conduct with an employer they are far more likely to refer you and keep up a long-term relationship with you. This is something to remind yourself of in online conduct. What you type and put out on the internet past your professional work is attached to your name. It will reflect on you. Articles, comments, reviews – all these will come back to your name. So be mindful, even if it takes place on Facebook and you think that it is private. Social Media is a double-edged sword and it is important not to burn any bridges or make a bad impression.

Last but not least, hang in there! It can be a long road at first but it will pay off and you’ll soon find that work will begin to find you. One day you will have to decline work because you already have a full docket. When that day comes, take a moment to remember how it was when you were starting. Appreciate the hard work that you have put in. It all pays off in the end.

The Proven Pitching Process for New Freelance Writers

Are you pulling your hair out because you just don’t get it?

You’re a new freelance writer so you know you have to hustle to land that first client.

You know you need samples, so you got to it early on.

You even know where to find freelance writing jobs and avoided places like Upwork.

So, why aren’t you seeing success? Why are you struggling to land any paid writing gigs?

My First Pitch

When I first started freelance writing over a year ago, I had no clue how to pitch my services.

Two obvious mistakes I made are that I don’t appear confident in my pitch and I mentioned that I’m new (psst… don’t EVER mention in a pitch that you’re a new freelance writer!).

But, you know what? I kept on pitching. I found some good job boards and sent pitch after pitch. I think I sent around 20-50 pitches before I landed my first writing gig for an automotive enthusiast site.

I was ecstatic that I actually landed this gig, because I just knew I failed the interview. The prospect emailed me back and requested we talk.

This was my first ever phone interview and when it was over I was convinced I bombed it. I didn’t sound confident at all and I didn’t ask the right questions either.

But, I ended up getting the gig! That gave me a boost in confidence and I guess it showed because I landed my next client soon after (and upped my rate too).

Perfecting My Pitching Game

I had my fair share of “bad” pitches for the longest time. But, that didn’t stop me from landing clients. Prospects started contacting me and for a while I wasn’t pitching… until some clients slowed down their content schedule.

Suddenly, I went from writing four blog posts a month for one client, down to writing only one post a month for them. This cut my income so I had to go back to pitching.

I’m glad that happened because I really focused on optimizing my pitch and making it better than what I had. And I finally found a pitching process that works.

If you’re a new freelance writer and you’re having problems landing a client, maybe it’s time to look at your pitching process. Here are 4 elements to a winning pitching process:

1. Review Your Current Pitch

My current pitch looks nothing like my first pitch. It’s come a long way. As a new freelance writer, you may be tempted to use the same template for all your pitches.

While this isn’t a bad or wrong thing to do (it’s actually a great way to streamline your process and it allows you to pitch to more job ads), you might not realize that changing a few things in your pitch can dramatically change your conversion rate.

Things like:

Work to appear more confident in your pitch. Swapping phrases like “might be good at this” to “I know I’ll be good at this” dramatically changes the view of the person reading your pitch.

Be explicit. Mention exactly what you will do for them. If the ad calls for someone to write blog posts, explain to them what you will provide (an eye-catching headline, a call-to-action, promotion on social media).

Show proof you are a writer. Providing links to your published content is 100x better than providing attachments of your work.

2. Keep Track of Your Pitches

Whenever I do a round of pitching, I make sure to keep an Excel sheet or Google sheet tracking all of the pitches I sent out. This helps me with keeping all the information in one place.

Each job ad will have information you need to have easily accessible for when the prospect responds to you. Such things as their proposed rate (or if you proposed a rate), the topic and how often they need content.

So, when it comes time to pitch, I keep track of:

Where I saw the job ad (specific job board and link to the ad).
The email I sent the pitch to.
When I sent the pitch. This is important to remember as I tend to circle back a few days later when I don’t hear anything from my pitch.
Important information.

I keep this sheet and just update it whenever I need to pitch. So, sometimes I can look back on all the pitches I sent and if there’s a spot open in my schedule, I’ll contact some of these companies and see how things are going with their content needs.

3. Pitch Daily

It’s a good idea to build a metric around your pitches. Set a goal of how many pitches you want to send out and for how long. For example, for two weeks I will pitch one time every day.

This gives you a firm goal to stick to and helps you feel accomplished when you complete it. I don’t know about you, but I like competing against myself. It just gives me a bit of motivation to outdo myself (and it usually works).

You might think this isn’t important. You say to yourself, I’ll just pitch whenever I have time. Well, I want you to think of this:

You hit whatever you aim at.

So, this means you’ll hit your target when you have a plan in place. You just have to start!

4. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

You go to a job board and all you see is a bunch of, “I can’t do that!” type of job ads.

Instead of thinking what you can’t do, start thinking how you can match the criteria in a job ad. Cast a wide net when you pitch.

Look at all the job ads at each board and see if you are remotely qualified for or interested in the ad. My first gig wasn’t my first choice, but I was pitching to anything and everything at that time (and I’m glad I did. I still write for my first client and I still enjoy it!).

Keep at It

Hustling is the name of the game when you’re new to freelance writing. No one knows who you are or if you can even write.

But, trust me when I tell you, the more you pitch, the higher chance you’ll have at landing that first client. You may not land a gig if you’re only pitching 5 times a week. But, if you pitch 10 times a week you might see a better turnout. Imagine if you pitch 30 times a week?

How To Find Your First Paying Clients As A New Freelance Writer

You are a brand new freelance writer.

You’ve started your business professionally with business cards, registered your name, maybe even bought a domain name that you will use to build your website.

The problem is, you’re probably wondering where those first clients are going to come from.

Not only the first clients, the first paying clients.

So how do you as a beginning freelance writer, actually find clients who are willing to pay you for your services?

Well in this article, you will learn two strategies that you can use to find your first paid clients in the shortest amount of time possible.

Strategy #1: Send Out A Letter Of Introduction

In this strategy, you are going to type out a simple one page letter, introducing your new company and the services that you offer.

It is a good idea to start locally with this letter because many of your prospects could possibly be found right in your own backyard.

At this point, you should know who you plan to target because one of the first steps in starting any business venture is deciding who you will serve.

Now you will make a list of those people. Think about where they work, who they serve, and how your service will be of benefit to them.

This letter of introduction should include your contact information, a business card attached and make some offer to get the prospect to contact you, like maybe offer them a discount off of their first job with you or something of that nature.

You are going to want to keep track of who you send the letter to so that you can follow-up in a few days.

You should follow-up with a phone call to ensure that the letter was received and if you can set up a time to come in and talk to the person whom the letter was addressed to.

If you have an email address, you can also follow-up with the person via email to set up an appointment.

Strategy #2: Connect With Prospects Via Social Media

You would be surprised at how many of your friends in your social media channels many know of someone who could use your services as a freelance writer.

Depending on the types of services you plan to offer, simply striking up a conversation could actually result in a paid writing opportunity.

A sweet spot to find clients online is Facebook.

Many small business owners need someone to blog for them, or, perform what some may call content management.

A blog, if used properly, can help your clients promote their services without sounding like a sales pitch by educating their audience about what it is that they offer.

Because maintaining a blog requires frequency to be effective, you could be the person to offer this service. So, you can use Facebook as a tool to locate potential clients.

Once you have found prospective clients, the next step would be for you to reach out to them via messenger.

You would introduce yourself and your services to them, and invite them to connect with you if they would like to know more about what you do. This way, you don’t come across as a spammer and you can learn what your prospects needs may be.

There you have it.

Two strategies that you can use immediately to start to generate leads and clients for your new freelance writing business.

Sandra N. Peoples is an award-winning, bestselling Author, Coach, and Infopreneur who is known for her easy to follow publishing tutorials on Kindle Book Formatting and designing simple book covers in GIMP.