Finding February Freelance Work

What’s on the iPod: Everything by Michael Bublé

Today’s the day! Visit the All Indie Writers Freelance Theater (episode 7) page today to hear Jenn’s interview with yours truly. Topic: easy marketing strategies. You won’t want to miss it!

The morning is starting out well. I sit here enjoying a little Bublé (yes, I actually listen to a song every morning), a song that reminds me of my daughter’s wedding. They danced to that song, and it brings back lovely memories. 

Today, marketing. I’m going into today’s marketing push with an amended plan. LOIs are netting some interest, but not enough. Time to mix things up.

When January starts out as well as mine has, one can easily get lulled into a false sense of success. It’s false because it’s temporary. The work is there, but once it’s completed? Right. Square One yet again.

If your year starts slowly, as mine did last year, it’s easy to get discouraged or desperate. So let’s plan ways to find work for February.

Let’s look at a few ways of staying solvent now, in the near future, and long term:

Magazine article queries.
Payoff – now and potentially long term.
If you’re looking to boost your income total for the month, get some queries out. Magazines are working with shiny, new freelance budgets right now. And as the month is coming to a close, the resolution makers (writers who send out a ton of queries the first week of the year, then forget to keep up the momentum) are waning and you can get your idea in there. Plus, if you manage to impress editors with your ideas or you locate an editor in need of a good writer (trades are just waiting for good writers), you could establish a great ongoing relationship.

Resume or blog work.
Payoff – now and potentially long term.
Either sign up with a resume-writing company that pays you well (none of this $25-45 per resume junk with tons of free revisions) or hang out your shingle and advertise on social media. If you write resumes on your own, you can charge anywhere upwards of $200 per resume. If you’re writing for a company, most will want to pay around $65 per. Why you might want to consider that — they find the clients for you. Just make sure it’s an amount you can live with and that they don’t expect you to call clients and revise for months on end with no additional compensation.

With blogs, you can answer ads for gigs paying $100 or more per post (anything less is too little), or you can convince new or existing clients to let you handle their blog posts for a negotiated fee. The more specialized your writing, the more you can charge.

Reminding current clients you exist.
Payoff — now, near future, and long term.
Your best source of work comes from people who already know and trust you. Remind your clients you’re still there, and don’t forget to update them on what other skills you have that may benefit them. A quick note or phone call can net you some immediate work, or get you on their calendar for a follow-up conversation later on.

Payoff – now, near future, and long term.
Meeting face-to-face is one of the best ways to gain new clients. People want to work with people they know. So go to those networking events, the trade shows, the Chamber of Commerce events. If you can’t get to any face-to-face meetings, set up Twitter events, LinkedIn Groups, Google+ hangout meetings, or simply become a regular, active member of forums where potential clients are. 

Letters of introduction.
Payoff – long term.
Even though my success rate with these is waning, they’re still my best method of finding regular clients. To make these as successful for you, personalize them to each client. Study their company, then send more than just a template introduction — send something that speaks to their needs and their focus.

Send direct mail with a call-to-action message.
Payoff – near future and long term.
Everyone loves to save money. Put together a mailer (snail mail is great for this) and include a discount rate if they book their project by the stated date. This can work in two ways — it can help you locate and secure new client work, and it can help you plan out your workload months in advance.

Writers, how do you find work for the short term and long term?
What’s been your best method of securing new client business? Existing client projects?

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  • KeriLynn Engel January 22, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Useful list!

    I sent out a ton of LOIs over the past year — I did get a decent response rate, but was disappointed at how few of them landed in actual work. But just now I'm starting to hear back from some I sent over the summer! I'll have to start thinking of that as a more long-term strategy 🙂

    I'm thinking of putting together a direct mail package in the next month or so. What do you include with yours? I was thinking of putting together a small brochure that includes a rate sheet, plus my business card. Anything else you suggest?

  • Lori Widmer January 22, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Keri, do you follow up? That could help increase the response rate. Give it a shot — either by phone or email.

    My direct mail is a personal letter that's tailored to the company's business. And I have been known to send a little trinket in there to increase the open rate. 🙂

  • Paula January 23, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Lumpy mail. Everyone loves it. Other than some postal workers, maybe.

  • Sarah Charmley January 26, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Thank you, Lori for a great list that anyone can try. Sometimes I need a reminder of just how many ways there are out there to contact potential clients.

  • Lori Widmer January 26, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Sure thing, Sarah! Hope you find something on the list that's successful for you.