The Kick-Ass Freelance Writing Business List

What I’m listening to: California by The Airborne Toxic Event

Tired of reading one more post about launching a freelance writing business? You should be. There are scores of them, and it’s as though every one of them is the result of one more person copying off another person’s paper.

There’s nothing new being said.

So this post isn’t about repeating the oft-repeated and overly promoted schlock that usually greets you when you click on a link.

This post is about what to do once you’ve actually begun.

When I started out, I didn’t plan. I didn’t worry about office equipment, supplies, or choose a craft. I started with a few cobbled-together assignments — magazine work — after I’d lost my job. Planning came after the rent was paid and I got my feet under me again.

No matter how you’ve come to this freelance writing business, you’ve struggled and cobbled and done things a certain way at one point or another (maybe still). It’s worked, but damn. You want more, don’t you?

Today is your day to get a plan in place. Not that plan that’s been circulated ad nauseum, either. A real one that includes things that can actually make an impact.

Start here:

Attract clients in new ways. Sure, you can stick with what’s working, but why not toss in a new method of communicating with clients while you’re at it? Snail mail, Twitter chats, forum discussions, trade show meetings, or in-person networking are great ways to enhance what you’re already doing.

Increase your marketing activity. If you’re sending out ten LOIs a month, try fifteen. Or even twenty. How about scheduling one more tweet before you log off for the day? Or maybe you can make another call. Or sign up for one more networking event.

Ask for referrals. It’s as easy as saying to your happy client “Do you know anyone else who might need writing or editing support?” Don’t expect them to remember to pass your name along — in all things marketing-related, opt for the active approach.

Up your online presence. Know those writer directories and those websites where they want you to have a professional profile listed? Don’t overlook all of them. I once had a client reach out a year after I’d signed up at one referral site (and just before I’d nearly deleted my account). Write bylined guest posts and articles. Comment regularly on blogs. All of these show up on a Google search (go on, check — I’ll wait). Be somewhat selective in where you’ll put your name, but don’t shy away from building your brand through a number of sources.

Read. Repeat. Read business books, blogs and articles in your specialty area, forums where people in your chosen industry hang out. Repeat — and by that I mean repeat what you’ve heard (with attribution, of course). Share tidbits and links to the original sources. Quote a passage in the book you’re reading. Show your behind-the-scenes self-education, and show that you’re actively engaged and paying attention when it comes to your specialty. Clients will notice.

Suggest new things. To your clients, and even to your followers on social media, suggest some new ways for them to attract more customers or followers. Share what you’ve seen that’s helped you, or share your own personal knowledge. The writer who helps a client look good to customers is now a trusted source. Click To Tweet

Hold yourself accountable to others. I’ve mentioned this several times because it’s one of the best tools for success. The minute you have to answer to someone for your monthly activities, you will pay much more attention and push that much harder to reach your goals.

Writers, what goes on your writing success list?

What one (or two) thing did you do that made a huge difference in how successful you are?

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  • Paula Hendrickson January 24, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Interesting timing, Lori. Yesterday I thought I should approach a company I do business with. They have a decent customer-facing website that deals with subjects I tend to cover a lot anyway, and it’s constantly adding new content. It were as if a light bulb went off after all this time, “I should be writing some content for their site!” Now I just need to figure out the best person to contact there. That’s on my to-do list for the week.

    • lwidmer January 25, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      ‘Tis the season, Paula. 🙂 It seems as though January is when the companies I work with stand back and examine their next moves a while before committing. It’s not usually until late February when things open back up for me.