Maybe you’re someone who’s thinking about dipping their toes into freelance writing, or maybe you’re a seasoned pro who knows the ins and outs of the industry.
Whether you’re a beginner or have been writing for years, there will always be times when you worry about having enough work.
Freelancers go through lean times. It’s the nature of the business.
Maybe you’ve hustled hard with client work one month but haven’t deployed your marketing strategies for the next month. Or maybe a well-paying project is coming to an end. Or maybe you’d just like a few extra hundred dollars a month to give your lifestyle a boost.
We all go through lean times. It’s the nature of the business.
But there are a few tactics and methods you can use to make sure these lean times don’t happen often. In fact, with a few strict scheduling arrangements and a water-tight marketing strategy, you can make sure these lean times are a thing of the past.
How can you do that?
Spoiler: It will require a bit of sweat on your part, but once you have your systems in place, you’ll be on your merry way to landing more than enough work each month.
Tap Into Your Community
Even if you’re just starting out, I’m willing to bet you have a community out there. Our communities are the people who support us, understand the value of our work, and will go out of their way to help us out.
Who is in your community?
Friends and Family
Does your brother own his own business? Does your friend from school work for a marketing company? More often than not, the people who are closest to us are our biggest advocates. But, even better, they have a network, too.
If you’re just starting out and have a pretty limited network of your own, look to friends and family to help you out.
How to land work through friends and family:
- Put a call out on Facebook (your personal page, that is). Don’t make it spammy, just remind your friends about your services and what it is you actually You never know who might read it. Don’t blast out your website every day, but a thoughtfully crafted post each month is enough to hit the right people.
- Simply ask! We often forget that asking is the easiest way to get. At any point in your career, feel free to send an email to friends and family just reminding them what you do and to link you up with anyone who might be interested in your services.
As well as your friends and family, your colleagues (a.k.a. your fellow freelance writers), are also fantastic referrers of work.
When their workloads are overwhelming, they may need someone to pass projects onto. When they are contacted by a client who’s not a good fit for them, they might want to refer someone who is (and it could be you). When they have a large project to undertake, they might want to collaborate with someone.
Having a band of like-minded colleagues around you isn’t just great for morale and confidence, it can also get you consistent work.
How to land work through colleagues:
- Network online and in real life. Check out Facebook groups geared towards freelance writers, or head to meetups in your local area that were designed for self-employed people.
- Join a mastermind. A mastermind is a small group of people who act as accountability buddies and help each other boost their businesses. These select few people will know your work inside out, so will be able to readily refer writing work to you when it crops up. Tip: Your mastermind doesn’t just have to be made up of freelance writers. Designers and marketers also need writers for their projects, so buddying up with non-writers can be a great way to land consistent work.
But it’s not enough to just know the right people. There’s got to be an element of proactivity if you want to build up your client roster so it’s healthy every single month.
A Consistent Marketing Strategy
One of the best ways to do that is to create a consistent marketing strategy that you stick to day in, day out.
My aim is to do one marketing activity every day that will help move my business forwards, and that has worked incredibly well for me so far.
Even when I’m fully booked with clients, I still carry out my marketing tasks every day because I never know when a client’s going to run out of budget or when the work’s going to get a little leaner.
But what are these marketing activities I speak of?
It’s nothing elaborate, I promise! In fact, I like to stick to simple things that are measurable (a.k.a. things I KNOW work). There’s no point spending oodles of time on something that’s not bringing in results.
So, using the “one-thing-a-day” strategy, your weekly marketing schedule might look something like this:
- Monday: connect with 3 brands on Twitter
- Tuesday: write and promote a blog post that targets my ideal client
- Wednesday: research and pitch 5 new brands that might be a good fit to work with
- Thursday: apply to 5 new jobs on a jobs board
- Friday: write a guest post for a large, relevant site
You can always swap out things that don’t work for things that bring in bigger results (for example, you might find connecting with brands on Facebook to be much more time-efficient than Twitter). But, whatever you do, make sure you stick to your marketing schedule every single week. Even when you’re busy.
Leverage Your Current Clients
So many freelancers I speak to are “dine and dash” kind of people. They complete a project, hand it over to the client, get paid, and disappear from existence.
This is one of the biggest missed opportunities out there.
Clients you’ve already worked with KNOW that you’re awesome at what you do and they’ve already hired you – so they can pretty much full-on vouch for you.
Instead of just parting ways with a “thanks and goodbye”, try reconnecting with them in these ways:
- Offering another service of yours. This could be an upsell of a service you’ve carried out already (an extra two pages of copy, for example), a proposal for ongoing work (like blogging), or offering another service entirely (maybe you offer promotional services as well as writing services).
- Ask for referrals. I’m not saying you should bluntly ask clients for referrals. Instead, when a project’s gone well and it’s all tied up, you can simply drop them a line to ask if they were happy with your services and, if they were, you’d love for them to pass on your info to anyone they think might want or need them.
Using a combination of these techniques and making sure you’re constantly putting your name out there (even when your calendar looks fit to burst) will put you on the right path to landing enough work every single month.
Do you have anything to add? What techniques do you use to make sure you land enough freelance work each month?