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How to find clients.

You don't need a degree.

You don't need professional experience.

And you don't need to use social media.

 

GET THE FULL PLAN FOR FREE RIGHT NOW.

So… how do I find clients?

Where should I go to look for clients?

My biggest challenge is finding clients.

At the moment, questions and comments like this are, like, 87% of my inbox. The other 13% is the stuff I email myself so that I won’t forget about it. And then I hear that I have new email, and I go to check… and find the email I sent myself.

#sosmart

Anyway, I get it. You want to be a freelance writer, and to make money, you need clients.

So, there’s actually a secret website, and it’s called The Clients are Here.

KIDDING!

I couldn’t resist, because I think a lot of people really believe that there IS a site where all the clients are hanging out. That there’s a magic place where I go to find work, and if I would only be kind enough to TELL YOU where that place is, then YOU could ALSO get work.

THERE IS NO MAGIC PLACE.

There is no great secret that you don’t know, no password-protected website that holds the key to nirvana.

What to Do if You Want to Find Clients

Finding clients comes down to some fairly unsexy stuff:

  1. Think about some people you would like to write for.
  2. Build relationships with those people.
  3. Pitch them.

You can buy ALL THE COURSES on the internet, but if you skip these basic steps, you will STILL not have any clients.

I have so many students who don’t believe this until we get on a coaching call. They spend MONTHS spinning their wheels. They tell me they’re going to get started really soon — they just need to figure out the niche piece, and it’s taking a while.

It doesn’t have to take a while.

It comes down to the thing that pops into your head when I say, “What do you want to write?”

And right now, you’re thinking, But Abbi, I can’t make money from the thing I want to write about.

And here’s what I have to say to you:

(And actually, I am an expert.)

Here’s a typical coaching call conversation:

Abbi: So, what do you want to write about?

Student: Well, I want to make money.

Abbi: Right, I get that, but WHAT do you want to write about? Like, if I said, OK, great, do you want to write about ICOs and Bitcoin, would that excite you?

Student: Um… I don’t know? I don’t really know what that is.

Abbi: Right. So, what DO you want to write about?

After another few rounds of this, we eventually get to something like this:

Student: I mean, well, I struggled with infertility for 6 years, but I don’t think I can really make any money from that.

Abbi: Here are 16 ways you can make money by writing about infertility.

Student: [HEAD EXPLODES.]

I Want to Find Clients, But…

Here are a few of the many (MANY) questions I get when I tell students they need to choose a niche.

I don't know anyone who I could pitch.

Sorry, but I don't believe you. You definitely know at least one person on this planet who either has a business or has a job. Start there. It's DEFINITELY easier to work the connections you know than the ones you don't.

Could you just tell me what I can write to make the most money? That's what I want to do.

Nope. Doesn't work that way. You can make a LOT of money writing about toilet paper, and you can go broke looking for the elusive “most profitable” thing. FOCUS ON PEOPLE.

I talked to all the people I know, and none of them are interested in paying me to write.

I don't really believe that you talked to everyone you know, but let's pretend you did. Can you identify 5 humans on earth who you could potentially reach out to, even if they are NOT people you already know? Pitch them.

Do you think I should reach out to X, even though I really want to reach out to Y?

Listen. I'm a writer. I NEVER solve for X or Y, and I don't honestly care WHAT values you substitute for either one in this equation.  You need to talk to people. It's easier to talk to people you know. 

I don't want to have to go out and find clients. I just want people to to give me stuff to write.

Cool. That's called a job. ✌🏻

Okay, but this is really hard! I don't have any experience!

Hi. When I started out, I didn’t have any experience, and I had never, ever pitched my services to a company as a freelance writer.

I had just had my first baby, and I was pregnant with my second, so pregnancy and parenting were my primary interests. My main motivation for freelancing was an overwhelming desire to be at home with my baby — and an equally overwhelming desire to only wear sweatpants.

I was interested in technology, although I certainly had no formal background or training in anything tech-related.

I read a book — one book — about working for businesses as a freelance writer.

I had never heard of “choosing a niche” — so I didn’t bother to pick one.

I wrote press releases about semiconductors, articles about breastfeeding, and courses about the laws concerning insider trading.

Doing all of those different things meant that I was constantly learning new things. I was always a beginner.

It took me years to realize that by always having a learning curve, I was significantly limiting my income. When I started turning down work that didn’t interest me, I took a big step in the right direction, but it was a long time before I finally wised up and niched down.

By turning down the work that didn’t interest me, I opened up time in my schedule — and my life — to find the work that I did like. The work that made me feel excited. The work that earned me real money.

Back in 1873 when I was getting started (it may not actually have been in 1873, it all blurs together after a while), there were no blogs on the Interwebs. Heck, there was no WiFi. We had to use our Internet while tethered to the wall, like animals.

I Can't Find Clients Until…

On a daily basis, people send me emails like this one:

I want to find clients. So I’m going to build my website and create 946 samples on all the things I know how to write about. Do you think that’s a good plan?

Nope. No, I don’t. Here’s why. It’s a really bad idea to start spending money on a website when you don’t actually have income.

Freelance writing is about EARNING money, right? If you spend a couple hundred bucks to build a website, HOW exactly will that help you MAKE money?

Here is a better plan.

  1. Go to LinkedIn and fill out your profile.
  2. Connect with people who need help with writing the thing you want to write about.
  3. Pitch those people.

But you said I don't have to use social media!

Correct. You don't have to post ANYTHING if you don't want to. You can spend your time reading OTHER people's content and COMMENTING. And none of this, “Wow, great post!” nonsense. 

You want to take the time to ACTUALLY read the person's post and make a REAL comment about something that speaks to you — OR something you disagree with. You will start to build relationships in the comments, and then you can PITCH PEOPLE.

The reason you don’t like this plan is because it, like all the other plans that end in you making money, requires you to actually go out and pitch people for work.

Do you know who makes money in freelance writing? People who go out and pitch for work.

The people who spend all their time building websites — and, yes, buying courses — and never go out and pitch… do NOT make money.

If you want to find clients, you have to figure out what you want to write, determine who needs that writing, and go ask that person for writing work.

I Can't Find Clients Who Will Pay Well

If you can't find clients who will pay you want you want to earn, you need to consider several things.

1. Is your ask reasonable?

If you want to write essays about your personal parenting experience for mom blogs and other online sites, you can expect to earn $25 – $250 for your work. So if you're hoping to get $800, no, your ask is not reasonable, and you will continually be disappointed.

You can write about parenting, and even use your personal parenting experience, but if you think carefully about WHO you want to write it for, you can find the higher-paying options. For example, you can pitch a parenting essay to a print magazine that pays $400-$1000 for such work. Or you can target pediatric practices or diaper or formula manufacturers who need that kind of content and have actual budgets to pay for it.

You can take your passion for writing about parenting and pitch articles on specific topics to magazines. Heck, you could go to major companies and ask them if they’re interested in providing practical advice to the parents who work for them.

And yes, that's really a thing.

2. Are you pitching people with a clear offer?

Yep, we're back to that again. If your version of looking for clients amounts to waiting for someone to offer you a high-paying writing job, have a nice time.

You MUST put in the time to figure out what you want to write and who you want to write it for so that you can then TARGET that person and GET SOME WORK.

3. Are you consistent in your efforts?

The only way to have consistent work is to make a consistent effort to GET that work. When you have solid business habits in place, you start each day by looking for work. This lets you build a consistent flow of clients who will pay you what you are worth, and allow you to turn down work that does not meet your standards.

If you wait until you don't have work to start looking for clients, you will find yourself saying yes to things you don't want to do, projects that don't pay well, clients that don't respect you, because you will need them more than they need you. If you put in the time DAILY to look for work, you'll be able to choose the projects you want, the clients you want, and the PRICES you want.

 

Three Things to STOP Doing Now (If You Want to Make Money as a Freelance Writer)

Three Things to STOP Doing Now (If You Want to Make Money as a Freelance Writer)

I’m probably dating myself with this reference, but I have a Mr. Rogers song in my head. “It’s such a GOOD FEELING to know you’re alive!”

It’s kind of a big deal to me to feel this way, because for a long time, I was very UNhappy, and for the record? Happy is MUCH better.

One of the things that makes me super happy is doing work for awesome clients who value my contribution and pay me accordingly. (By “accordingly” I mean A LOT OF MONEY.)

And I want YOU to have that GOOD FEELING, too. I want you to hear Mr. Rogers in your head and get paid “accordingly,” so here are three things you MUST stop doing RIGHT NOW if you want to make money as a freelance writer.

If you’re totally okay with never earning money — or earning very little! — you can stop reading right now.

On the other hand, if you want to start earning real money from freelance writing, the kind that makes your HUSBAND say, “Babe! You're AWESOME!” — well, then, this post is for YOU.

Each of these things has the power to limit your earning potential, and if you’re doing ALL of them? Well, then you’re going to have a very hard time making good money from writing.

Ready to get started and STOP wasting your time with these?


1. Stop working on your website.

You think you have to have a perfect, amazing, gorgeous web site all set up so that clients can find you, or so that you can showcase your lovely samples and look like a real professional.

You REALLY don’t need a website, and if building your site has become your excuse for not getting work? You’re losing money. EVERY DAY.

If you're in any Facebook groups for creative entrepreneurs, then you've seen wayyyyy too many posts about WordPress v. Squarespace v. Wix, about branding palettes and logo design and “What should my tagline be?”

The problem is that if you focus on building your website and spend weeks and months agonizing over platforms and graphics, you aren’t building your business.

Because you’re not doing anything that will actually earn you money.

So, what SHOULD you do, instead of working on your website?

Update your LinkedIn profile and let people know you’re looking for freelance writing work. Yes, really. Take 45 seconds to log into your LinkedIn profile and change your title from whatever it is right now to Freelance Writer. The end.


2. Stop agonizing over your niche.

I have students who email me on a weekly basis, like clockwork, to tell me, “I’m still really struggling with my niche.”

I’m starting to hate the word niche.

Yes, it is important to have a niche, for many, many reasons that you've heard many, many times before. But do you know what is also important?

MAKING MONEY.

So, instead of taking weeks — or worse, MONTHS! — to struggle with the existential question, “What IS my TRUE niche?” just start looking for people who will pay you to write.

When I started out, I used to say, “I’ll write you a nursery rhyme if you pay me.”

This is NOT a great long-term strategy, but if you have spent more than two days thinking about your niche, this IS a strategy you should consider.

Seriously, JUST START ASKING PEOPLE TO HIRE YOU AS A WRITER.

Would you like the EXACT script that I used 20 years ago when I cold-called businesses in the yellow pages? Here it is:

“Do you ever outsource any of your writing?”

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!

3. Stop worrying that you can’t do the work.

What if I send out 5 pitches and everyone says yes, and I don’t have enough time to do everything?

What if I send out a pitch and the client says yes and the work is too hard?

I see these questions quite often in my email. (If you’re thinking, Gee, Abbi, it sounds like you get a LOT of email, you are not wrong.)

Let’s answer these questions one at a time.

First of all, if you send out five pitches and everyone says yes, you are AMAZING, and I would LOVE to see your pitch. Second of all, even if everyone DOES say yes, that doesn’t mean that you have to race through all the work by tomorrow. You can SPREAD THE WORK OUT.

You say to client one, “Great! let’s do this. I’ll have you a draft on Thursday.”

You say to client two, “Awesome! I’ll get you the draft next Tuesday.”

You DO NOT have to say, I can’t start this until Friday,” or “I only have two hours of childcare this week” or anything else. You simply tell the client WHEN you can deliver. And you give yourself enough time to HIT that deadline.

And that concern you have about not being able to do the work? What exactly do you think you won’t be able to do?

You want to be a writer, right? So, are you afraid you won’t be able to… write?

Let's stop and think this through and really play it out. A client hires you to write an article. You write the article and send it to the client. The client comes back and says, “This is awful and I can't use it.

What would you do? You seem like you're a pretty awesome person, so you would probably say something like, “Well, how can I make this right for you? Would you like me to redo the article? Do you want me to refund your money?” You would likely work with the client to create a solution that makes everyone happy, wouldn't you?

Now, there will always be… let's call them jerks out there in the world. Early in my career, I did a big project for a guy who loved all the work throughout the project — right up until I sent the bill, which he then did not want to pay. Lesson learned: I started charging up front.

More recently, I was hired to write blog posts for $600 each. The client would have their engineering team write drafts, and I would turn them from “engineerish” to English.

Great — that's one of my core skills.

But then, as a trial, they asked me to write a 750-word post on a technical topic from scratch. They gave me the title, and that was it. Instead of saying to them, “Actually, that makes no sense, because that's not what you hired me to do,” I said, “Sure!” And I wrote the post on this technical topic I knew nothing about.

And they HATED it.

And guess what? They weren't interested in having me make it right. I mean, they paid for the work I had done (because I got paid up front), but they weren't interested in moving forward with me AT ALL. They didn't want me to refund them, they didn't want me to rewrite it, they just wanted to walk away forever. That's their right.

It happens — and it doesn't feel good. It happened — and it got me down. But then, I got back up, took my $600, and got some ice cream. And moved on.

If you take on a project and it scares you? What could you do? Do you maybe know ANYONE who could, I don’t know, HELP you?

Or go to someone trusted in your network and ask for help.

Put on your big girl pants and ROCK THE WORK, because you are awesome.

Here’s the deal. If you’re ready to STOP doing all three of these things so that you can actually GET PAID TO WRITE, then make sure you go through your workbook and follow the step by step instructions there.

You can do this, and you can make real money, once you stop spending your time on the things that don't make a difference.

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!

4 Freelancing Mistakes that Cost You Clients

4 Freelancing Mistakes that Cost You Clients

Imagine for a moment that you’ve decided to redo your kitchen.

You’ve set aside the funds for this project. You’re excited about it, even though the prospect of spending all that money is also more than a little terrifying. Thoughts of your lovely island and all that amazing storage space carry you through.

You meet with the contractor who tells you that he’s got this. It’s all under control. No worries. Everything will be perfect — and he’ll be there with his crew on Monday to get started. The whole thing will be done in three weeks. Yes, for sure.

Monday comes… but the contractor doesn’t.

You call his cell, and it goes to voicemail. You’re pretty sure he said Monday. I mean, it’s there on the calendar in BIG LETTERS.

Tuesday, the contractor shows up and demolishes half your kitchen. He doesn’t really give any explanation for not showing up on Monday — actually, he kind of makes you feel like you got it wrong.

It’s a least a week before you see him again.

Should I keep going with this story? You get it. You hate the contractor. He makes you hate your life. It’s not fun.

Would you be surprised to hear that this is exactly how many clients feel about working with freelance writers?

In this post, you’ll learn four ridiculously common mistakes freelancers make, and what you can do differently.

 

Freelancing Mistakes: Failing to Set Expectations

So often, freelancers sabotage projects before they even start by not setting appropriate expectations.

Let’s say that you close a deal with a client on Friday. You might know in your brain that you’re going to be working on the project on Thursday and you’ll be able to knock out the whole thing in an afternoon. But from the client’s standpoint, she heard nothing from you on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and all of Thursday morning.

Basically, you took her money on Friday and disappeared.

By the time you reach out on Thursday afternoon, your client is frustrated — at best.

Maybe you’ve just added a new content marketing client. You know that you need to have a set amount of work done by the end of the month, and you manage your time on your own.

But if you don’t bother to tell you client, “Hey, here’s the process,” the client has no clue what’s happening.

When you don’t set expectations appropriately, your client will believe the worst of you.

Put yourself in your client’s shoes. For the purposes of this exercise, those shoes can be spike heels or bunny slippers — whatever works for you.

Your client really doesn’t care that your kid has an ear infection, your husband is away for work, and your bathroom flooded. Sure, she might express sympathy, but she’s running a business. That doesn’t make her heartless or cold. That makes her a businesswoman.

You are also running a business, so you need to have backups in place for the inevitable — and they are inevitable — ear infections and flooded bathrooms.

You’ll be able to set expectations with clients if you’re clear on your process.

 

Freelancing Mistakes: Lack of Communication

Communication is closely linked with setting expectations.

No, you don’t have to answer email immediately or take phone calls around the clock. But you do need to let your clients know how to communicate with you and when they can expect to hear back.

Ever sent an email to someone with a quick question only to be ignored for three days? Ever spent a whole morning irritated because you’re waiting for a response that doesn’t come?

If you make a point of telling your client, “Hey, the BEST way to reach me is via email, and I always respond by 5pm on business days,” then your client will not send you a Facebook message on a Saturday.

She’ll email you on Monday, and she’ll know that you’ll get back to her by 5. She’ll be able to move forward, and she won’t be stuck in limbo.

On the other hand, if you don’t give your client guidelines, she’ll do what’s convenient for her and send that Facebook message. When you don’t answer, she’ll escalate to texting. She’ll call. She’ll email. And with every unanswered message, she’ll be even more unhappy.

 

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!

 

Freelancing Mistakes: Not Thinking Ahead

Let’s say that a client has hired you to write monthly blog posts along with content upgrades so that she can grow her list.

You do your thing. You write the post. You draft the content upgrade. You mention on a call that the content upgrade still needs to be designed and prepped — that’s outside of your scope of work, and you’re not a designer.

The client gives you some feedback on the blog post, and you make the necessary changes and notice that the content upgrade document hasn’t been opened.

You have a few choices here.

You could decide that the content upgrade isn’t your problem. You wrote it and delivered it on time. If your client didn’t act, that’s her issue.

Or… you could anticipate the client’s needs. Like you, she’s busy running a business, and this is a new process for her, and it clearly hasn’t been perfected yet.

You could go above and beyond and tell the client, “Hey, I noticed that you haven’t reviewed the content upgrade. You need to take a look at that, and you’ll have to get it over to someone who can make it beautiful. I can introduce you to someone I’ve used before if you’re interested.”

Which way do you think improves your relationship with the client? Which way lets you perhaps refer work to a friend (who will definitely look for ways to return the favor!)? Which way is a more premium client experience?

Yes. Go above and beyond — especially when it takes so little effort on your part.


Freelancing Mistakes: Missing Deadlines

Think back to the last time someone promised to deliver something to you and then didn’t do it as promised.

The online order that arrived a day late. The friend who kept you waiting 30 minutes for coffee. The contractor who took apart your kitchen and left you eating takeout for six weeks longer than planned.

You could have the best excuses in the world for missing a deadline, and they’d still be just excuses.

If you don’t treat your freelance writing business as a real business, you can hardly expect clients to treat you with respect.

On the other hand, you can give your clients an amazing customer experience — and truly delight them — with very little effort on your part.

In fact, it basically boils down to this: Do what you say you’re going to do.

If you say you’re going to give daily updates, give daily updates. If you say you’ll deliver by Thursday at 3, deliver by Thursday at 3.

You can keep your clients absolutely thrilled if you simply stick to your word — because so many people don’t bother.

Seriously, most people are absolutely amazing at coming up with excuses, and far less amazing at simply doing what they’ve promised.

Oh, my computer crashed and I lost the file.

Oh, my kid got sick.

Oh, I had a family emergency.

Really?

It’s 2018. Use Dropbox or Google Drive.

Did you have kids when you agreed to deliver by today? Figure out childcare.

Are you a professional — or not?

Look, I get it. Emergencies do happen. But you shouldn’t be leaving your work for the last minute, so those emergencies shouldn’t prevent you from delivering.

If you’re a professional and you want to have a successful business, you figure out a way to get your work done and delivered on time.

Most clients won’t give you a second chance. If you lose their trust, you may never be able to get it back.


Stop Making these Freelancing Mistakes

If you want to earn more money as a freelance writer, you need to stop making these freelancing mistakes and start creating a premium client experience.

Think about it.

Let’s consider two freelancers.

Hapless Harriet

Hapless Harriet was hired to write an article for a client. The client gives Harriet an email address to get in touch with Bob, who will give her all the technical information she needs to write the article.

Harriet doesn’t know how long the project will take and doesn’t give the client any guidelines on what to expect.

When she emails Bob, she gets his out-of-office responder, but she doesn’t read it closely and figures he’ll get back to her soon.

A week later, she reads his out-of-office responder and realizes that he’s on medical leave for the next two months. She figures that her client knows this, so she doesn’t bother to take any action.

Three weeks later, the client emails asking for the article and is not happy to hear that Harriet isn’t done yet.

Harriet skipped setting expectations — she didn’t tell the client anything about her process or what to expect from her.

She was careless in her communication — she took her time emailing Bob and then didn’t read his out of office reply.

She avoided an opportunity to excel. She could have emailed Bob sooner, or at least told her client that Bob was unavailable and asked for an alternate contact.

And Harriet missed her deadline completely.

Delightful Debbie

In an alternate universe, Delightful Debbie is hired by the same client to write the same article. She also gets Bob’s email address.

Debbie tells the client she’ll reach out to Bob, and as long as she has answers from him by the end of the week, she’ll deliver the completed article by next Thursday at noon.

Debbie emails Bob and gets his out-of-office responder. She immediately emails her client, explains that Bob is unavailable, and asks for an alternate contact.

The client responds and apologizes, and says it’ll take her another day or two to find someone else.

Debbie follows up with the client two days later. The client thanks her profusely for the reminder, and an hour later, she emails Debbie with an alternate contact, Elaine. Debbie reaches out, schedules a call, and then updates the client with a revised timeline — she’s speaking to Elaine on Monday, so she’ll be able to deliver by next Friday.

Debbie has her call with Elaine, gets the information she needs, and writes the article. On Friday, after reviewing the piece one final time, she sends it over to the client.

Debbie set appropriate expectations with her client. She told them what she would do and when she would do it.

With timely communication, she was able to alert the client to an issue and anticipate the client’s needs. Being organized and on top of the project, she was able to rock out the deliverables.

Which freelancer do you think clients prefer?

(That’s a rhetorical question.)

What ONE THING can you do to be more like Debbie?

(That’s a real question that only you can answer.)

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!

How to Charge More Money for Your Freelance Writing Work

How to Charge More Money for Your Freelance Writing Work

If you want to charge more money for your freelance writing work, you need to offer an incredible customer experience.

In a nutshell, a great customer experience means that you, as the freelancer, are making life easier for your clients, anticipating problems and heading them off before they disrupt the project, sticking to deadlines, and delivering an amazing finished product.

In this post you’ll learn:

  1. Why an awesome customer experience is important to your ongoing business success.
  2. What you need to do to ensure an amazing experience for your customers.
  3. How an amazing customer experience translates to more money in your pocket.

Why Customer Experience Matters

Have you ever ordered something online that wasn’t from Amazon? From, say, a site you’d never heard of that had a great price or a hard-to-find item?

You place your order, fill in your credit card details, and go. And then… you wait.

You check your credit card, and it’s been charged. But you don’t have any kind of shipping notification or update from the website. You send an email, and no one answers. You seethe silently.

Three weeks later, your package shows up in the mail, and you’re kind of happy, but you’re also left feeling like, “What was that?”

Now, picture this scenario. A client contacts you and says, “I need a white paper.”

You say, “Awesome! I can do that. That’s $500.”

The client pays you.

And now the client waits.

The client gets nervous.

Maybe the client emails with random questions, because she doesn’t have a clue what’s happening.

Maybe the client sits and stews quietly and calls her best friend to tell her she’s just not sure about this writer she hired.

Maybe the client makes up stories in her head. Did you take the $500 and go to Vegas? The client has no clue, because you aren’t communicating.

Or — maybe you told the client right away, “Great! This will take me two weeks.” And then you don’t bother providing an update during that time, because hey, you said, “This will take two weeks,” and you know you’re working on it, so all is good.

But guess what? The client doesn’t know what’s going on, so it’s not good.

Your client is still emailing you weird questions, calling her best friend to hash it out, and making up stories about where you are.

A colleague reaches out and says she’s looking for a writer, does your client maybe know someone.

“Well,” says your client, “I thought the woman I hired was the real deal. She was so great in our initial call. But now… I just…. No, I can’t really recommend her.”

Your client is feeling super unsure about this whole thing.

You don’t want your clients to feel like that. You don’t want to lose potential sales before you’ve had a chance to make them.

You want your clients to feel THIS happy, all the time.

When your clients feel happy, they will want to work with you again and again. They will tell other people about how happy they are with your work. It will be easy for them to recommend you to other people, so you will have even more clients.

A great customer experience creates happy clients. So let’s figure out how to create a great customer experience and keep your clients happy.

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!

 

Keep Your Clients Happy

Be honest: how many times have you said to a client, “Yep, no problem, I’ll have this to you on Thursday.” And then, when Thursday came, you weren’t ready.

It wasn’t your fault. THREE of your kids were sick, PLUS the car had that flat on Tuesday, AND your great aunt was in the hospital, AND your husband broke his ankle, PLUS the power went out for two days.

Guess what? Your client doesn’t care. Not because he’s heartless — in fact, he may be absolutely lovely. But this is business. You promised to deliver, and you didn’t, and that’s the ONLY thing your client will remember.

Your job is to make life easier for your clients.

That means that when you commit to a due date, you deliver on that date, but it also means that you keep the client informed along the way. If the project is going to take a few weeks, you don’t just go work in your yurt on your deserted island. You tell your client what to expect.

In order to deliver on time, you need to know how long your work will take you, and then schedule it out on your calendar.

Let your client know at the start of every project what’s going to happen and when. Be super, insanely, ridiculously clear on this. For example, you could tell your client:

On Tuesday, I’m going to share an outline with you via Google docs, and I’ll send you a separate email message to explain exactly what you need to do.

On Friday, I’ll send you a rough draft of part one, and I’ll send you a separate email to explain what you’re looking at and what I need from you.

Next Wednesday, you’ll get the full draft — I’ll email you all the details when I share the document — and we’re scheduled to speak on Thursday at noon to review everything.

When you give your client guidelines like this, she knows that you’ve got everything under control. She can relax. She doesn’t have to sit up at night worrying about what’s happening. Instead, she can sit in a lounge chair with a drink in her hand, because you are on it. 

 

You Can Charge More Money for a Premium Experience

Think for a moment about the expectations you have when you go to a fast-food restaurant. You know that you’re going to pay a set amount of money to get a certain type of food. You don’t expect a waiter to com and take your order. You don’t expect anything on the menu to cost more than, say, $5. You don’t expect to wait more than 5 minutes for your food.

Now, think about what you expect when you walk into a five-star restaurant. You’re greeted at the entrance and shown to a table. Someone pulls out your chair for you, pours your water, and hands you a menu with a flourish.

You have expectations about the service — and the pricing. You know you’re not going to find a $5 meal here, and that’s okay. You understand that a burger here will be made from high quality meat, cooked precisely to your specifications, and the presentation will be Instagram-worthy.

You expect to pay more for a burger here than you would at McDonalds.

You know that if you take a bite and the burger isn’t everything you expected, you can send it back. You can tell the chef to try again — but chances are, you won’t need to. The chef knows his stuff. He’s not messing around. He’s not making burgers on an assembly line.

When you take the time to perfect your process and get really good at what you do, you are creating that five-star restaurant experience.

 

Your clients will have expectations — and they’ll be willing to pay for the service they get. You’ll have the time to give each client the attention she deserves, and the quality of your work will reflect your experience and careful deliberation.

Keep your focus on creating a truly amazing experience for your clients, from start to finish, and you will be able to charge more for your work.

Ready to Charge More Money for Your Freelance Writing Work?

Once you understand the system, you absolutely can charge more money for your freelance writing work. It really does boil down to creating a premium experience that helps your clients understand the value of your entire business process.

You’ll have to be clear on what you offer clients, how long each part of your process takes, and how you’ll communicate and manage client expectations along the way.

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!

Ditch the Feast or Famine Mindset

Ditch the Feast or Famine Mindset

You’ll hear a lot of times that freelancing is “feast or famine,” and that’s simply not true. Yep, plenty of people buy into that myth, but that still doesn’t mean it’s truth — and it definitely doesn’t mean that you have to buy into it.

Sure, it’s all around you. There are freelancers who say yes to every project that comes along, because who knows where the next one is coming from?

You’ve probably met freelancers who fill up the calendar to bursting and work like mad, ignoring their homes and families, and struggling to stay healthy and sane.

A few weeks later, they’re desperate for work, scrambling to find something, anything they can say yes to, no matter what it means, no matter what it pays.

“That’s freelancing. Feast or famine,” these people say. They shrug their shoulders. “Nothing to be done for it.”

 

 

Well, what if you could do something differently?

Picture this reality instead:

You book out your calendar with steady work. You get paid up front for projects, schedule them in advance — according to your schedule.

You have a set number of hours per work available for client work, and when those are full, you book work for the next week, or the one after that.

If you enjoy the stress of the feast or famine mentality — hey, more power to you. You can quit reading now, because clearly none of this applies to you. But if you want to do things differently, there IS a different way.

Yep, really.

How to Forget About Feast or Famine for Good

If you’re ready to forget about feast or famine and concentrate on booking clients so that you have steady work — and steady earnings, that’s great. You’re going to work through four straightforward steps, and everything is detailed right here in this post. You’ll need to grab the workbook that goes along with this post — so go ahead and download that now if you haven’t already.

You’ll need to:

  1. Get clear on your offer — you can’t be all things to all people.
  2. Break down your process so that you can determine how much work it really is — and how long it will take.
  3. Schedule the work on a real-world calendar.
  4. Book out your calendar the right way so that you’re never waiting for work.

And no worries — we’re going to go through each step of the process right now.

Get Clear on Your Offer

If your attitude to freelancing is, “I’ll write anything, including nursery rhymes, as long as you pay me,” then you’re going to struggle to book out your calendar. In order to build a real business and earn consistently, you have to offer clients a specific service.

Think of it this way: You can be Target, and offer everything under one roof. You give your customers lots of discounts and constantly slash your prices, because everyone LOVES sales.

On the other hand, you can be Tesla, and offer a high-end product for the kind of clients who are willing to spend money on quality.

Target is awesome when you’re looking for a trendy outfit you can wear this season and throw away.

You are a Tesla or a Tiffany or whatever luxury brand works for you. That’s who you are. You offer something unique and wonderful to your clients — and you charge accordingly.

Put another way, you are guac, baby girl.

If you’ve been freelancing for more than a few months, you should have a good idea of the kind of work you most enjoy doing for clients, so focus on that for your offer.

If you already offer one primary writing service to your clients, great! You're ready to move on to the next section.

 

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!

 

 

Break Down Your Process

Once you know what you offer, you need to determine know how long each piece of your process — the writing work you’re doing for clients — takes you.

Let’s say your service is writing show notes for podcasters. Think about what goes into every job you do.

For example, when you meet with a new client, you need to know if you’ll be getting edited episodes in audio format? Raw audio files? Transcripts?

You probably have a set of questions you generally ask, but have you taken the time to collate those questions into a single document so that it’s easy for you to get what you need from the client?

What information do you need to know about your client’s audience? What guidelines do you need the client to give you before you can start working?

If you’re ghost writing magazine articles for corporate clients so that they can be published, how long does your initial conversation with the client normally take? What kind of lead time do you need to have in order to deliver a polished piece?

I write email sequences and sales pages for online course creators and entrepreneurs.

Every project starts with a 2-hour phone call where I get all the information I need to write an 8-email sequence and a detailed sales page.

Over time, I’ve determined that each email takes me about an hour to draft and 30 minutes to finalize.

The sales page takes me about 2 hours to draft and an hour to finalize.

My trusty calculator informs me that a typical project, therefore, is about 15 hours total.

 

Keep Your Calendar in the Real World

Here’s the part where most people screw up.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, 15 hours. If I met with the client on Monday, that means I could deliver on Thursday.”

NO.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

We live in the real world. In this world, we have children who get sick, tires that go flat, and husbands who suddenly have to travel for work.

In this world, when you look at your calendar on Monday and see three empty days, you have to remember that the school could inform you of an unexpected lice outbreak, or your son could outgrow the sneakers that fit him perfectly well on Thursday, but now they are decidedly too small, and you must drop everything and get him new sneakers right now and that takes a minimum of 2 hours and 47 minutes if you hit all the green lights and get the parking space on the north side of the mall so that you can get into Payless without having to detour through the area of the toy stores….

Yes. So. In the real world, you must look at your calendar and be realistic and reasonable.

On your best days, you probably have no more than six dedicated hours for work (and if your children are small and at home with you, you probably have less time that that) — and this isn’t the only project you need to work on during that time.

You can reasonably fit in two hours today and tomorrow, plus three hours on Thursday, and then two hours each day next week. so you tell the client that you will deliver next Thursday or even the Monday after that.

Generally speaking, for 15 hours of work, you will want to allow about 10 business days, or two calendar weeks.

Follow the instructions in the workbook to block out your time in your calendar.

Remember, you are guac. You are not Target, jumping to slash prices and worried about Walmart. You deliver high quality work, and clients understand that it takes time to do that work.

 

Book Out Your Calendar

Let’s say you’ve booked a job with a client and filled in the appropriate slots on your calendar. A second client reaches out, and after careful consideration, you see that you can comfortably add that assignment to your calendar.

The phone rings again. This is the “feast” thing. The OLD YOU would have said, “YES, OF COURSE!” to client number three. Sleep is overrated, sleep is for the weak, sleep is a thing you can do when you’re dead.

Your 4-year-old doesn’t really need clean laundry this week. Your teenager can make his own dinner.

The work is here, and maybe it will NOT be here in a few weeks, so you MUST accept all the assignments and work yourself to the bone.

Right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Instead, what you say to client number three is, “Fantastic! To book you on my calendar I require a deposit of $X. Let’s get your call scheduled for a week from Thursday — your deposit needs to be paid by then — and at the end of that call, I’ll give you the schedule for deliverables.”

You can change the wording a little, but you get the gist.

You take a deposit to hold the time in your calendar. You look busy (you are busy) and in control. You are treating your business like a business. You are treating yourself with respect. Everyone else will follow suit.

 

Be Booked Out and Forget About Feast or Famine

You can get steady freelance writing work and book out your calendar.

You might need to say NO to crappy, low-paying work that you hate. Yes, that’s scary to do at first.

The thing is, when you say NO to that crappy, low paying work, you’re making time in your schedule to say YES to the clients who will respect you.

You’ll have to do the work and put in the time to deliver quality work that’s worthy of higher prices.

The thing is, you’ll have that time, because you’re using a calendar that’s firmly grounded in reality, instead of pretending that you can do everything simultaneously without breaking a sweat.

If you can get on board with all of that, you can STOP with the feast or famine thing.

It’s completely up to you.

Do you want to focus on creating a great writing service for your clients and book out your schedule?

Or do you want to keep doing what you’re doing wait for some magical change?

What’s your plan? Drop a line in the comments to let me know!

 

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!