What’s on the iPod: Sugar by Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
It’s been a nice, slow week. I’ve been wanting to get to some personal projects, so I took full advantage of the free time.
Right now I’m revamping one of my websites. When I got to the contact page, I went blank (don’t we all?). I wanted it to be more than just the usual “Here’s where to connect with me” but how?
Welcome to today’s post topic — where you and I are missing freelance writing opportunities that are right in front of us. Instead, we sit with the tools (and connections) without recognizing them for what they are — potential money-making tools.
Here are a few ways you’re missing out on existing client or potential client work:
Your website. Specifically, your Contact page. My contact page used to look just like this — links to my Twitter and LinkedIn pages, maybe an email contact form, and if I was feeling brave, a phone number. How expected. Now, I have a section that invites potential clients to tell me their dreams: what project would you like to finish? How can I help?
Also, don’t forget to look your website over with a critical eye. If you can’t see beyond what you think has been a great design for the last five years, ask for feedback from your support community. What type of client are you trying to attract? Does your image reflect what they’d like to see/expect to see?
Contacts who aren’t clients. The first time you convert a contact into a client, you don’t have to be told again to look where your relationships already exist. You have interview sources, Twitter followers, company contacts, LinkedIn forum connections, etc. If you’ve had meaningful interactions with them, go on. Ask how you might help them or someone they know. It’s a great way to remind them of your skills beyond those they know already. (I’m reminded of a conversation with a long-time colleague where he said “I had no idea you did marketing copy!” Imagine the referral juice/project work I’d lost as a result.)
Products/services people are asking for. So you’ve entertained the “Gee, I wish this existed” conversations with contacts and clients. If it’s within your skill set, create it. If it isn’t, what would it take for you to learn it and create what’s needed? Every person’s wish list is your opportunity to meet a need. Listen for the cues.
Article follow-ups/spin-offs. Wouldn’t it be great to go back to that editor who loved your article on the National Flood Insurance Program and see if he wants a follow-up look at the topic? Well, I did and he did. The result — two sales from one idea. I’ve done it a number of times, and it’s not cheating if your editor wants to revisit the same topic. Plus, you have contacts already and the review is contained in your original piece.
The same goes for spin-off topics. You can spin off your own idea into a related one for a different publication, or you could locate that unanswered question in someone else’s article and pitch a story that answers that question.
Writers, in what unexpected places do you find freelance opportunities?