Reality Blog: Avoid This Easy Freelance Mistake

It’s been a busy month here at Steve Maurer Freelance Writing. I’ve had quite a few prospects knocking on my digital door.

In fact, I’ve got a call scheduled later this afternoon.

It’s a far cry from my early freelance writing days, believe me!

Let me qualify that statement first. I’m not talking about my two years of writing in the content mills (low-paying job boards). In fact, during that time, I was extremely busy, writing over 400 articles a year!

But… not making much money at it, to be sure.

No, I’m talking about when I broke free from the mills and ventured out on my own, searching diligently for “real” B2B clients. Clients who valued my writing skills… and had deeper pockets and larger budgets.

A large part of the early days was equipping myself for the “client safari.” When you get serious about building a copywriting business, you can’t just wing it.

Well, at least you shouldn’t.

No, you need to get the copywriting skills necessary to produce quality, effective copy for your newfound clients. And of course, you’ll need to learn how to gather the marketing tools needed to get those clients.

Obviously, that means building a good freelance copywriter website and LinkedIn profile. And putting together samples of your work to show prospects.

Now remember… you can earn while you learn. Many freelancers forget that and make the mistake of wanting to wait until they feel like they’re fully trained.

Tip: You’re never “fully trained.”

But waiting until you’re fully trained before seeking out B2B clients is not the mistake I want to address. It’s one that’s just as easy to make… but far more dangerous.

Reality Blog: How to Avoid This Easy Freelance Business Mistake

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2 Responses to “Reality Blog: Avoid This Easy Freelance Mistake”

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  1. So true Steve, it’s all about constant action. Even with clients, even when you’re busy, you’ve always got to be reaching out to clients and prospects.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m pestering them when I email them regularly, but I know I’m not. I remember what it was like when I worked full time. I’d *mean* to reply to an email but never got around to it. So a reminder email from the person was often just the trick to get me to reply. I was never upset at all the emails, I appreciated their diligence in not giving up till they got the answer/information they needed.

    I know my clients feel the same way too because they often tell me so. “Thanks for the reminder, Julia!”

  2. HI Steve,

    So true. There is a risk in serving one client.

    But I like the risk.

    Perhaps I manage it differently – through a SOW that lays out the deliverables over a timeline with an early exit clause for my client. I include enough in fees that when the contract ends I have 3 months to find the next one. Only two prospects ever complained about my fees – and I was glad they did. It told me to walk away. Something else always comes along.

    My average SOW is 6 months and for the past 6 years, each one has been extended. (yes, that means my client list is smaller – but I’m ok with that. Serial work suits me. ) The SOW before this one turned into a 2-year gig. This one has run one year so far and they’ve asked if I will extend. With each contract, I get to learn a lot, make contacts that I stay in touch with, and worry less about finding clients. ( I make sure I find reasons to get to know both vendors and staff – that helps!)

    I’ve met some consultants that are always on the phone with their next gig – I haven’t seen them able to relax and polish their delivery that well – so I’m not sure it is really the best way. I’ve even had to fix some of their work – which is a bonus for me.

    I still get butterflies, and I’m always on guard about shifts in corporate objectives, especially in this “at-will” state. But the benefit has been producing better work and getting compensated at a level I feel is fair.

    I guess what I’m saying is that the risk of “all eggs in one basket” isn’t horrible as long as it is approached with open eyes and smart statements of work with clear exit clauses.

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