Getting clients is hard work. Just about every other freelance task can be performed from home in your underwear. I mean, I’m wearing pants right now. But not because I have to.
You can do this. It took work to build up a portfolio. Now, it’s time to kick into gear and find some clients.
First thing’s first. No freelancer made a living by quitting a job without a lifeline. My first freelance client was a pain in my ass. I had to work nights and weekends to build a strong relationship. Alas, my first years as a young professional were split between work and drink. There wasn’t time for much else.
Of course, once you quit your job, you’ll have to supplement your current assignments with more. Sometimes, you can tap that current client for more work. But expanding your portfolio for long-term success means you must diversify.
Here are 6 ways to get more freelance clients:
1. Attend meetups and networking events. Old-fashioned face-to-face meetups still deliver for business development. Meetup.com is a great resource to find small businesses and marketers in your area. Become a regular attendee and chat people up. Hint: Approach prospects casually. You’ll get yourself a bad rep for acting too salesy.
2. Build your digital brand. Get yourself found online. Most marketers are focused on brand success in the digital space. If you’re active online, you can prove that you’re steeped in the medium, bolstering your status as a copywriter. Use social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, About.me, Tumblr and your website to get the point across and improve visibility for your services.
3. Ask clients for referrals. I’ve found great success asking happy clients for referrals. If you perform solid work for a client, you have the ability to turn them into an advocate for your writing. Don’t be afraid to ask a client in good standing to spread the word.
4. Check Craigslist and job boards. This one gets a little tricky. Sign up for services like FreelanceWriting.com to have jobs delivered to you. The catch here is that you’re sure to come up against hefty competition. Check the writing section of Craigslist under gigs. But be careful — you’re sure to come across as many crap jobs as legitimate ones.
5. Tap your network. Everyone knows a communications professional. The problem is that they don’t always approach their networks in the right way. Advertising your services via Facebook or LinkedIn status crushes the personal element of networking. Try researching your friends first and contacting relevant people individually.
6. Reach out. Cold emails are a tough way to break through to a business. If you craft a compelling pitch, you may get some traction. Compile a strong list of organizations you’d like to work for. Do your research and create a strong pitch. At least one of those two hundred pitches has the potential to hit the mark.