Your Do-it-Now, Kick-in-the-Ass Freelance Plan

maze-1236395-1280x800Right about now, I’m in the western Highlands enjoying a wee hike or two. I may have delayed responses (where we’re staying tonight has no WiFi), but that doesn’t mean the conversation has to end. Talk among yourselves. Start with this:

Five years ago, I wrote this post about helping other writers who were clearly not about to help themselves anytime soon. It was a first for me. I love helping writers and sharing (for free) what I know.

But there are some freelance writers who simply won’t lift a finger to help themselves. I can remember at the time I wrote that post being quite frustrated with a few writers who kept asking the same questions. Years later, they were still asking and still not doing.

I bet a few of them are still waiting.

So here’s what we’re going to do – we’re going to give you a step-by-step-by-step plan for meeting one goal. One. That’s not a lot, and if you can’t do that, don’t bother reading any further. Instead, start circulating the resume, for freelancing is not for you.

Harsh, yes. But honest. This freelance writing career takes effort — a lot of effort. You have to be willing to put time into building something worth having or it won’t work.

For those of you still reading, here’s a quick road map that can help get you in the habit of working for your business, and help get your freelance writing career under way.

Reach out to one potential client on social media. Connect. Say hello. Share something relevant to their business or something related to the industry in which they work. Example: you’re talking with a company that manufactures socks. Share a study that shows customer wish-lists in their favorite socks, or news about sock drives for charity or trends in sock design. Open Excel, and start a spreadsheet tracking your communication with this client.

In a few days, reach out again. This time, start a conversation. Ask a relevant question — “How are customers getting word about your new products?” or better yet, “What’s your biggest challenge in marketing to customers?” Make note of the interaction on your Excel sheet.

Reach out to another potential client. Keep the communication going with client #1, but start up another conversation with client #2. Same method as before. Add them to your Excel sheet.

Send something salesy. Time to take it off social media. This time, send an email or snail mail. Thank them again for connecting on social media. Include a brief mention of the conversation. Give them a two-sentence bio, suggest talking further about possibly working together. Ask for the conversation, in fact — would you have time this week to talk about the possibility of my helping you with some of your projects? Open Excel. Note your communications.

Repeat with client #2. Then start thinking about who client #3 will be. And then client #4.

There’s your easy marketing plan.

Will it work? That depends on several factors — the client you’re targeting, your messaging, their needs… no one can say for sure what will work and what won’t. Whatever the outcome, don’t give up. Even those clients who say no could be clients in the future. Ask them if it’s okay to check in on occasion, then in two months or so, check in.

Keep talking with them on social media. Make it about the relationship, not the sale. If you build a good foundation through networking and marketing, your business will be rewarded for it in the long run.


Writers, what’s your simple freelance plan look like?

What easy ways to you use to connect to potential clients?

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  • Nichole August 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    This is really great advice but I’m not sure it would work for one of my target markets. I started something similar today (before reading this) and it turned into a giant fail.

    • lwidmer August 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      I’d love to hear about that target market, Nikki. And you’re right — it won’t work for every market. Can you expand generally on what the situation was you were dealing with?